When Leanne Thompson, Studio & Creative Operations Manager at Endeavor Drinks, was tasked with merging as many as nine alcohol beverage companies’ individual creative teams together in one centralized Creative Studio, she knew she had her work cut out for her.
Each independent beverage company is part of Endeavour Drinks, which sits within the Woolworths Group based in Australia and the creative teams were working in siloes, lacking insights to assess the outcomes of their individual and collective efforts. This meant that the creative teams were less efficient when it came to distributing resources and flexing workflows, and lacked comprehensive reporting. This made it difficult for the group to achieve their mission statement: “Endeavour Group’s ambition is to connect everyone with a drinks experience they’ll love. It will realise this by sharing with our customers the stories of the people and places behind the labels. Bringing to life a world of discovery, passion and enjoyment.”
Leanne described her objective to help Endeavour Drinks fulfill its mission, “My role is to centralize the creative teams across all of the alcohol businesses into one centralized Creative Studio to service all of our companies creative and content requirements. We need one place where we can report and manage resources across the whole group, rather than at the individual team and company level. This will give us more flexibility and fewer gaps in our workflows.”
Today Leanne has successfully onboarded the teams for each of the businesses onto inMotion ignite, where they are able to manage all their projects, end-to-end, in one system, and report across the entire group. Leanne’s strategic approach was to assess the needs of each team and implement inMotion ignite to bring these disparate teams together as one.
The Challenge: Accommodating Multiple Asset Types & Workflows
Leanne began the process of consolidating the creative workflow for all the brands by assessing the current state and needs of each team individually. She discovered two main challenges:
First, the teams handle a wide range of work. Leanne needed to find a single creative work management platform that could accommodate any type of work they might produce. “Each of the businesses is very different, so they have different creative needs. We do a lot of digital, video, animation, HTML builds, and website work as well as print, like catalogues and point of sale assets for retail stores. There are also events to support, like wine tastings, PR events, supplier events, and photo shoots at vineyards with the winemakers. Finding a single solution that could handle all of that was at the top of my priority list.”
Second, Leanne discovered that each of the teams were using a different process for managing their work. Some had implemented generic task management solutions, others were relying on email, chat, and spreadsheets to collaborate and keep track of work. No one had a single system that was end-to-end, or that could accommodate request intake. As Leanne pointed out, “Request intake was a major gap for all the teams. There was no place for requesters to properly submit a brief – they would email, or chat the designers directly and it was often extremely difficult to decipher what was actually needed without a clear guided brief. We weren’t able to ask the right questions, like what is the strategy for this campaign, what are the goals for this content, or even just something as simple as basic specs because the creatives were not only working, but also needing to manage stakeholders to illicit all the core details to create a good reverse brief. I knew we needed to automate the briefing process. I didn’t have the ability to hire five new account managers, so I needed a platform that could bridge that gap with automation and allow the clients to be prompted with the questions that are relevant to their request.”
Why They Chose inMotion ignite
Once Leanne had the lay of the land for each of the teams, it was time to start identifying solutions. Leanne took a comprehensive view of the market, ultimately evaluating 17 platforms over four months. Leanne pointed out that even if that sounds like a lot, she quickly weeded out a lot of generic offerings. “During the testing phase it was easy to quickly drill down and eliminate solutions that didn’t meet our needs. A lot of the project management tools out there are obviously not targeted towards creative workflow. As a creative team, our needs and our work environment are very unique. I honestly don’t think you can effectively manage a heavy creative workflow through a standard project management tool. I have yet to see this combination work well in a live environment and hold the pace, without drowning the team in admin.”
After a thorough search, Leanne chose inMotion ignite as her creative workflow management solution of record. For Leanne, six factors made ignite an easy choice:
- Total Workflow Support. “It’s definitely the end-to-end management that I love the most. Everything from request intake all the way to final approvals is in one spot for creatives and clients.”
- Intuitive User Experience. “The interface in ignite is really simple and clear and easy to navigate – especially for the stakeholders & clients.”
- Easy Administration and Support for Many Users. “It’s plug and play. I am quite comfortable supporting hundreds of stakeholders in ignite. There is no heavy lifting on the backend, I can manage everything quickly and easily by myself, even my team are able to adjust settings easily.”
- Review + Approval. “It’s easy for our reviewers to login and give their feedback. It’s so intuitive that many of our stakeholders jumped in and figured it out on their own with no training at all.”
- Comprehensive Reporting. “I’ve never had reporting capabilities before, for each of the businesses, let alone switching companies at the touch of a button, so that is a dream.”
- Collaborative Customer Support. “We have a truly collaborative relationship with our Customer Success Manager. I can bring my questions and he works with me to find the best solution for us. He also challenges us to implement best practices and is responsive when we do have a feature request.”
Strategic onboarding process
Between all the brands at Endeavour Drinks, hundreds of people needed to be onboarded to ignite. In total there are about 30 core creatives serving over 250+ stakeholders, all of which have need to be onboarded.
Leanne decided to bring the creative teams from each company over individually or in very small groups. First, she onboarded the core creative team members, focusing on building the forms, templates, routes, and processes they needed in ignite. “Once the designers were comfortable managing all their work in ignite I started bringing the stakeholders in a few at a time. As their jobs moved through ignite for the first time I was there to step them through, so I could spend time with each of them, teaching them how to do reviews was the first step, and once they got the reviews, they were taken through submitting the forms.”
As Leanne moved on to stakeholders, she knew immediately that she would have to create clarity for why each person was in the system. “We knew from the beginning that we would need to wrangle how many people we actually trained and onboarded to be submitting briefs and doing reviews. Onboarding over 250 people at once is just not an option. So, I split our stakeholders into two groups. The first are true Stakeholders – they are requesting work from the creative team and reviewing it for final approvals. The others are just reviewers – they don’t have access to submit briefs, they only review work. When it comes to permissions, ignite has made it extremely easy with being able to group clients and set permissions across groups, saving a lot of time not having to manage stakeholder accounts individually.
Finally, Leanne made the clever decision to start the onboarding process with the biggest, most complex team, so they could pressure test the onboarding process with both creatives and also clients. “I thought that if I could get these creatives and a small group of test clients to really try to break my process, then I could course correct the workflow so the process was foolproof before I onboarded all other teams. We learned from the most challenging cases so that all the subsequent onboardings were extremely smooth and most of all quick.”
Leanne offered three tips for other creative leaders onboarding large teams to a new platform:
- Avoid a time crunch. “In previous companies, I’ve been tasked with correcting the negative consequences of hard and fast transitions in software workflow. When you give people a formal transition date between platforms, unnecessary panic is created. Humans avoid change at all cost, even when the change is positive. So we onboarded to ignite well before the contract with our old software provider ended. This gentler approach reduced pressure and meant we had no issues, no pushback, no failures.”
- Work in small groups. “Since we are a very large team, I focused on building a personalized change control experience, so each group understood the value of the new system and was comfortable with the change. This helped us drive full adoption of inMotion ignite.”
- Make sure everyone feels heard. “I always communicated to the designers and stakeholders/clients that they had full access to me, and that their feedback would always be taken on board. This made them feel like they were part of the journey, they were supported when they needed it, and that their opinion mattered. Feedback good or bad was never judged and always pressure tested to see if it could be a system improvement or recorded for a possible future state.
Crunching the numbers
Now that nine teams at Endeavour Drinks are fully onboarded to inMotion ignite, Leanne is seeing major improvements in their workflows, both individually, and as a group. Here are some of the top ways inMotion ignite is making life easier for the Creative Studio at Endeavour Drinks:
- Award winning change management. “We received an Outstanding Performance Award from management this year, due to the ignite implementation.”
- Capacity management across teams. “We use ignite to track and manage studio capacity across the entire group for increased resource efficiencies, we have all creatives trained across all brands now and have been able to effectively flex workloads to support varying loads across the businesses when required, this has saved the business a substantial amount on freelancers.”
- Role-based interface. “Most project management platforms don’t have this sort of role-based view for clients and stakeholders. It’s so helpful to keep stakeholders in the loop, but not too embedded in the creative process.”
Leanne also shared some of the quantitative results they are already seeing with inMotion ignite:
- Dynamic request forms in ignite have saved requesters an average of 40% on time previously spent going back and forth with designers on project requests
- The quality of submitted briefs has increased drastically due to required field and preset specs for requesters to choose from. This has reduced missing information, or incorrect deliverable specifications
- By receiving project requests directly in ignite, traffic managers are spending 78% less time reviewing and accepting briefs than when they relied on manual entry for each project.
- 1,429 projects have been completed in the past 12 months, showcasing how much easier it is for the Endeavour Drinks teams to accommodate a range of asset types and workflows.
Looking to the Future
For Leanne, the Creative Studio and Endeavour Drinks, coming together in one centralized, end-to-end platform has been the key to increasing efficiencies and collaboration. By developing a thoughtful, strategic approach to onboarding with the help of her inMotion ignite Customer Success Manager, Leanne seamlessly onboarded all teams to inMotion ignite, and is confident that ignite will allow her studio team to keep pace with business needs. “We’re expecting a 140% increase in creative projects through ignite over the next 12 months and expect to grow our footprint in content creation substantially. I have no hesitations that ignite can support us in meeting this challenge!”
Elise Hauser is a product and content marketer with a passion for telling brand stories. She has produced inMotionNow’s annual Creative Management Report for 4 years, webinars, content sessions for major industry events reaching audiences of 11,000+, and of course, countless blog posts. When Elise isn’t writing about the marketing and creative industry at inMotionNow she is teaching economics and hanging out with her cat, Tucker, at her home in Raleigh, NC.