At Adobe MAX Christina Chang of Adobe, Gareth Breunlin of the Chicago White Sox, and Alex Withers of inMotionNow discussed how creative teams can develop strategic relationships with their clients.
During Adobe MAX 2018 Christina Chang of Adobe, Gareth Breunlin of the Chicago White Sox, and Alex Withers of inMotionNow led a session discussing the importance of the creative team as a strategic partner to the business, and how creative teams can take their place at the strategic table.
Alex and Christina opened the session by discussing the top challenges that creative teams face. Some of these challenges can be almost silly, such as when a client asks a designer to replicate something they did in Microsoft Paint. More seriously though, creative teams face important challenges in their day-to-day operations, with the top three challenges being:
- Volume & Velocity. Creative teams are being asked to produce more work, faster than ever before. However, it’s not enough for creative teams to simply increase their speed and turn out sub-par work. As Christina shared from the recent Adobe State of Creative and Marketing Survey, this is especially challenging because creative team stakeholders don’t want to sacrifice quality, even as they demand more work, faster.
- Project Kickoff. In the 2018 Creative Management Report, 66% of creatives reported that getting the information they need to begin working on a project was difficult or very difficult. The main reason that creative teams struggle to get all the information they need to begin projects is that they often don’t have a seat at the strategic table. They get treated as a service provider, just asked to churn out work on demand, with little insight into the goals of the project, or how the pieces fit together. Fortunately, this dynamic is changing. Christina shared that the Adobe State of Creative and Marketing Collaboration Survey found that 71% of creative stakeholder think that creative teams should have a seat at the strategic table.
- Administrative Tasks. Alex shared an alarming statistic from the 2018 Creative Management Report, that the average creative spends a full day each week performing administrative tasks. This includes dealing with an overstuffed inbox, chasing down reviewers for their feedback, or dealing with clunky project management software that eats up their time instead of letting them focus on doing the work they love. Christina pointed out that this is doubly alarming when you consider that the Adobe State of Creative and Marketing Collaboration Survey found that the average piece of creative work takes anywhere from 14 to 28 hours to produce. This all adds up to creatives losing valuable creative time to administrative tasks, even as they need more time to complete creative projects. As Christina pointed out, “Quality creative takes time”.
After Alex and Christina shared the top challenges they see industry-wide, Gareth Breunlin, Director of Advertising and Design at the Chicago White Sox joined Alex and Christina on stage to discuss how his team has faced down these challenges.
- A Smart Creative Process. Over the past 6 years, Gareth’s team has more than doubled the number of projects they are completing each year to over 2,500. While they have been fortunate to increase their headcount along the way, they still find that they have an increasing project-to-creative ratio. By being smart about their creative process, from comprehensive and collaborative request intake to getting work reviewed and out to market faster, they are able to keep up with demand.
- Digital Request Intake. Gareth’s team used to take in requests for new work via paper briefs that were often incomplete, leaving the team unable to begin work right away. With inMotion, Gareth’s team is able to manage their process digitally, and reject a request if it has incomplete information. The team is also able to show requesters their other work in progress, and how new, rush work will displace other items in the queue. “inMotion allows us to show how many jobs we have on our plate and help justify what needs to take priority.” This ability to prioritize work based on the business’s strategic objectives makes Gareth’s team a more valuable, strategic partner.
- Spending More Time on Design. When it comes to getting more time back for his creative team to focus on their work, Gareth found that consolidating all their non-creative tasks into one system, inMotion, saved his team time by putting everything in one place, getting rid of paper, and allowing them to get back to the work they love: “Improving that process has freed up my team to actually design the majority of the day instead of doing admin tasks”.
Creative teams are strategic partners to the business. Alex, Christina, and Gareth all agree, the question is not whether the creative team should have a seat at the strategic table, but how to make that happen. To answer that question, Alex highlighted the importance of creative workflow management to help creative teams become more efficient and show their stakeholders their value. Christina added that the reporting functionality that comes with a creative workflow solution provides creatives with the quantitative data they need to prove their value to the business. Creative workflow is the key to creative teams pulling up a chair to the strategic table.
To learn more about how inMotion ignite can help your creative team take their seat at the strategic table, register for the upcoming webinar.
Elise Hauser is a product and content marketer with a passion for telling brand stories. She has produced inMotionNow’s annual In-House Creative Management Report for 3 years, webinars, content sessions for major industry events reaching audiences of 1,000+, 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.