Creative transformation: how to save money while strengthening your creative production workflows

Today, digital advertising requires the distribution of personalized content across multiple platforms and formats, and that is before the significant task of measuring and optimizing performance. This can make your creative production workflows complicated, overwhelming, and most unfortunately: boring and inefficient. Through technological innovation, brands can bring about creative transformation which is meaningful and sustainable.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Arthur C. Clarke

The thumbs of advertising audiences today are in permanent scroll-mode, making advertising online a competitive field. As channels and platforms in global markets grow, the creative production mechanisms that feed these channels, platforms, and markets must also grow.  

Creative transformation entails an overhaul of the creative operations in your creative production workflows in a way that most efficiently reaps the best creative results. Think: people, processes, and technology. Many of the current approaches to creative transformation in product advertising demand higher budgets and increasing headcount. But there is a lesser known way to revamp creative production workflows, drive efficiency, and save money significantly while doing so: Creative Automation.  
Creative Automation leverages technology to scale creative asset production through the use of swappable elements in dynamic templates like Calls to Action, products, or video scenes. Creative Automation has transformation capabilities because it is a digital solution developed primarily for the purpose of scaling content feasibly for these busy online spaces. 

Improving your creative production workflow should be on the top of your list if you want to see results from your creative projects. According to this study by Finances Online, the top three reasons for implementing automation into the marketing efforts of companies are the following: streamlining marketing and sales workflows (35%), improving customer engagement and experience (34%), and minimizing manual (repetitive) tasks (30%). Cost and time savings as well as a faster time-to-market are obvious benefits, but how do you get there? The answer lies in taking a closer look at your creative production workflows and identifying the areas that need improvement.  

At a glance: what are the problems with creative production workflows today?

> Processes are not fully defined and documented

> Overly complicated workflows

> Fragmented technologies

> Repetitive steps are not automated (but they could be!)

The problems with creative production workflows

Processes are not fully defined and documented:

Oftentimes, the issue with complicated workflows begins at the briefing stage. Large enterprise companies, regardless of whether they follow a centralized or decentralized approach to briefing, can lose control of brand consistency when their teams are spread out across the globe.

Overly complicated workflows:

Once workflows and processes have been defined, it is important to not overcomplicate things. Perform an audit of your processes and identify the parts that can be improved upon.

Workflow management platforms with functions like previewing and reviewing media, multi-user access, and tagging can speed up workflows while removing the requirement to constantly manage individual groups.

Fragmented technologies:

Through your audit, it is likely you found that different teams, local, regional, or global, might be using different software to store, manage, and deliver their creative assets.

For example, your creative and marketing teams might use different platforms to keep track of projects, and project managers might use different platforms to communicate and brief team members. This can lead to a mismanaged review process which can lead to missed final approvals and a complete breakdown of your creative workflow management.

Repetitive steps are not automated:

Lastly, once your teams are on the same page of what platforms to use and for what, eliminating the repetitive tasks from your creative team’s workflows is another way to ensure consistency, as well as keeping your teams happy.

How does Creative Automation save you money?

Traditionally, if an agency had a €10,000 budget to shoot a video, they would probably do the shoot the video and consequentially produce around five to ten creative assets are not guaranteed to perform well. In the event of poor performance, the client would have to repeat the entire process and  pay another €10,000 to try again. Creative Automation saves money for companies in three ways:  

  1. Because creative leads no longer need to request more resources and people power. 
  1. Because marketers can make iterations of more creative assets and conduct extensive testing to find the best performing one, and focus on further production of this.  
  1. Because creative agencies do not need to outsource any more work to deliver on their deadlines.  

This can leave companies with surplus money (and time) to funnel into higher value campaign activity: conceptualizing new ideas, analyzing and leveraging campaign data, or upskilling through learning new programs or tools. This is certain to initiate creative transformation, if only efficiency at the least.  
Imagine this hypothetical situation:  

Multiplying some potential variables for one brand’s campaign amounts here to a substantial 13,200 ad variations.  
This is a lot to task your creative teams with.  

Imagine you pay 50 euro per hour for a designer to make these variations, and each variation takes approximately an hour, your designer will need to bill you €660,000 for these variations alone. But the biggest deal breaker is really the time this takes. Considering each pixel-perfect variation would take at least an hour, in a 40 hour week a designer will only see the completion of 40 of these. To reach the actual target of 13,200 variations within a month’s deadline, around 80 designers would be needed on staff to succeed. This is not taking into account feedback loops, sicknesses, or other unexpected delays.  

But is it only about saving costs?

Creative Automation isn’t just a solution that can help you save money. Rather, it is an opportunity for companies to become and stay future-proof.  

Creative Automation can help creative and marketing teams implement an effective creative production workflow that spans across all funnels and reaches all platforms and channels. While simultaneously saving time and money, relief is offered from the frustration that often comes with manual, repetitive work.  

When we think of automation, we might view it as a threat to the human parts of creative operations. However, automating some processes in your creative production workflows makes things more human and not the other way around.  

Any successful campaign is thoroughly researched, crafted, workshopped, approved, and executed by humans. These are the people that have the power to utilize Creative Automation as a tool to help their teams and companies become future-proof. 

What humans do which technology cannot

Across the world, there are multiple marketing teams in different locations and in different markets. They each have their own local interpretation of how they want to execute their marketing materials and campaigns, to ensure global relevance. This way, the same money, energy, and time is invested to create the campaign again from scratch. This also takes a lot of back and forth between the different entities within one brand to get a clear picture on what needs to be produced, even before trying to get sign-off. Creative control is lacking on all sides, resulting in a slower time-to-market.   

However, working in standardized templates makes it easier for brands worldwide to adapt their content for reformatting, localization, and personalization. Template-thinking, if adopted in the design stage, means creative and marketing teams consider their production efforts less about singular pieces of media, but rather they view their whole piece as modular components which can be switched around. 

Additionally, with Creative Automation, most production routines like reviewing and distributing can be centralized in a single place, boosting collaboration between teams.  

This is working smart, and working smart is what creative transformation is about.  

Key takeaways

  • Technological innovation, like in the form of Creative Automation platforms, can bring about creative transformation by improving creative production workflows.
  • Not only can Creative Automation strengthen creative production workflows, but it can save a brand substantial costs.
  • Automation and technology cannot replace the unique abilities and skills of humans. Human insight cannot be replicated yet by technology, only enhanced.

Wrapping up

Feedback from our clients shows that there is a 54% reduction of time and a 62% reduction of cost after integrating our Creative Automation solution into their creative process. 

Added to this, creative production workflows are strengthened not only because of the increase in speed granted in the automated versioning process, but also because a Creative Automation platform allows many creative production processes take place there. This includes building the templates, reviewing and approving the variations, and connecting to product feeds which will send out these pixel-perfect creative assets into the world.  

Need more convincing? Reach out for a chat.  

Aug 31, 2022
Robert Winkel
Robert Winkel
Jenni D'Alton
Content Marketing Writer
Jenni hails from Ireland and describes herself as an avid explorer, a sentimentalist, and a connoisseur of trash TV. When she is not consuming every latest film or collection of short stories in her midst, she is out discovering new places to dine or dance in.

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