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Marketing

Scaling Creative Workflows with Consistency

  • 6 min read

Today, as marketers and creatives, you’re faced with a unique set of challenges when it comes to presenting a cohesive customer experience and brand presence.

First, there are more demands than ever before. Reaching today’s consumers has become highly-specific and ultra-competitive. You not only need to offer a completely personalized experience; you need to be extremely deliberate in the time that you deliver content. In order to stand out in a highly-competitive and noisy market, you need to deliver the right content at the right time.

As a result, you need to be active on more channels to meet these demands. Marketers are getting increasingly savvy with where they’re showcasing their brand, finding unique channels where their competitors may not be present. From online and SMS marketing, to direct mail and billboards, there are over 120 different types of channels to choose from. With consumers having a 30% longer lifetime value when interacting with a brand over multiple channels, you risk leaving a lot of business on the table by not utilizing various channels.

Managing multiple channels has resulted in more tools. Marketers, on average, use more than 12 different tools in their day-to-day jobs, and you’re likely no exception. And this doesn't even account for the additional tools you need to work cross-functionally with creatives. This is not only exhausting but also introduces interruptions to the creative flow, increasing miscommunication and potential errors.

What can you do to help your creative and marketing teams overcome these challenges and deliver amazing content at scale? One of the number one things you can do is enable consistency.

Keeping It Consistent

The first step in scaling your creative workflows is to make consistency a priority across your organization. In particular, you need to address two key areas: Brand and Process.

Brand

Brand consistency is arguably one of the most important factors that contribute to the success of a company. Effective branding goes beyond just a pleasant experience – it actually builds credibility and trust.

During every encounter, consciously or not, consumers are constantly making judgements based on what they visually see. If there are inconsistencies in branding or messaging, a customer’s trust in your organization or offering will weaken – especially in the digital age with viruses, scams and more.

Staying consistent is no easy task, and it will become more difficult as you grow. Here are four key areas that can help you establish a consistent brand in your organization today:

1. Establish brand documentation

Brand guidelines are your first line of defence against inconsistent and off-brand content. Strong documentation will cover everything from logo use, color palettes, fonts, images and more. But, taking it even a step further, it should also cover the tone and style of your messaging.

Once your guidelines are created, you need to roll it out to your teams in the same way you would a piece of technology. Everyone needs easy access and proper understanding of the document, otherwise, they’ll quickly return to their old ways of finding and creating assets. Like any piece of content, these guidelines should be reviewed regularly and updated when needed.

2. Encourage brand stewardship

Ensuring brand consistency requires effort from the whole team. If left to one or few people, it becomes much easier for off-brand content to slip through the cracks. Your team members should understand who to approach when something may be off-brand or inconsistent and feel comfortable with doing so.

3. A central location for all assets

Providing the organization with a single-source-of-truth for marketing content and brand assets mitigate the risk of your employees using or creating off-brand images (we all know at least one person who grabs them from Google).

If you’re working with very few brand assets, you can use light solutions, like Dropbox or OneDrive. But, if you’re looking for an enterprise-solution, a digital asset management system will provide more advanced capabilities for larger libraries. Whichever solution you choose, it’s important to ensure your assets are properly named and tagged to optimize discovery and re-use.

Process

The second piece of the puzzle is Process.  Historically for creatives, “process” has been perceived as a “bad word”. But in reality, this perception is often just the product of poorly structured processes in the past. Having a well-defined, familiar process should actually free up time to focus on creativity while keeping quality consistent. There are three main components to creating consistent processes:

1. Create a process map

Before you can nail down a solid process, you need to have a strong understanding of your current workflows and what does or doesn’t work. Process Mapping is a technique frequently used by Wrike, a collaborative work management solution, that helps you discover and organize the way your team gets things done.

A process map will help you visualize how information flows through your team and puts the spotlight on what’s working well and where there are bottlenecks. It identifies where you can provide more efficiency and consistency when building your workflows.

Here’s a step-by-step process to create a process map:

  1. Create an inventory of your current projects and deliverables
  2. Prioritize them according to the impact on the organization
  3. Identifying the triggers and deliverables of each project
  4. List the specific steps that connect the dots between each trigger and deliverable

2. Build workflows

After you understand your existing processes, you can begin to build a scope of key tasks and sub-tasks based on your team’s unique structure, clients and deliverables. Common tasks include intake, scoping, review and approval. Once you’ve identified your tasks, you can define statuses to help you effectively track each step, like “In Progress” and “Approved”.

Then, you can start building your workflow, which may look something like this:

Wrike workflow

Some of the best workflows can look complicated at a glance, but the more meaningful steps you can provide, the clearer the status of your project will be. Using your project management solution (or an Excel spreadsheet), you can follow projects through the different stages and make sure they’re tracking.

As you start building out your library of workflows, you can duplicate them for future projects, so you can make small adjustments rather than start from scratch.

3. Identify Roles & Responsibilities

One of the most common bottlenecks in creative workflows is approvals. When there’s confusion or a lack of consistency about who approves any given piece of content, there’s an increased risk of missed deadlines or off-brand material.

Here are two common frameworks that can help you define roles and responsibilities:

Use these frameworks to help build out an approval structure and establish a team that will be responsible for keeping projects on track and moving along.

Two More Secrets

Want a sneak peek at the other two secrets to help streamline and scale creative workflow? This series is based on a webinar we hosted with our partner Wrike, a leading project management solution. You can download the webinar recording here.

MediaValet is a leader in cloud-based digital asset management that helps organizations manage, organize and share their digital assets, improving productivity and increasing ROI. See MediaValet in action today.

Carlie Hill

Sr. Manager of Content Strategy at MediaValet

Carlie Hill