“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda
Businesses across all industries have come to rely on digital information to drive market penetration and profitable growth. As business challenges grow in complexity and require collaboration and cooperation from contributors across the enterprise, the need for effective creative operations becomes clear. Creative operations is the practice of making the creative workflow of a business more structured, efficient and effective for content creators. It is required to enable and support rapid decision-making, content creation and distribution for evolving corporate strategies. Think about the missed deadlines, bloated budgets, review and approval bottlenecks, miscommunications and demands for faster turnarounds and you'll understand: this is not an easy practice and it takes more than just trying.
The question is not just “do you know your content?” but rather, “how do you manage” that content in a competitive market. An effective content audit may well lead to clear understanding of data and content, and the ROI of managing it effectively, enabling risk reduction, creating efficiencies and increasing opportunities for content monetization. A structured, strategic approach to understanding content and digital transformation gives businesses the competitive edge. If data is your differentiator, then digital is your opportunity to succeed.
A Data-Driven Approach to Information Management
The proliferation of data, information and content is only going to continue exponentially. As information multiplies, organizations need refreshed, enterprise-level approaches to systematically create, distribute and manage information. Hand in hand with the expansion of information, comes increases in regulation on how organizations must manage and protect the privacy of their and their customers’ information.
We now have the opportunity to think beyond the here and now and consider content curation, rather than collection, as a strategy for success. Content is a human endeavor and as an organization, you need to assess your methods and business processes for managing content against best practices with clear, agnostic benchmarks. A data-driven competitive advantage will provide your business with the ability to:
- Manage data in an information-saturated world.
- Transform data into market-penetrating content for profitable growth.
- Leverage data to create consumer experiences that maximize content ROI.
Content should be viewed as a constant connection between people, process and technology. To succeed, base your foundation in data. Content drives brand and metadata is the constant connection between your content and your users.
Related Article: Metadata Makes the DAM
Introduce DAM at the Start of the Content Creation Process
Content creation is the place most people want to start when they think of creative operations. It is where creatives make their visions come to life. They have the ability to create the tools, assets and final touches needed to create effective creative content.
However, all content creation is informed by a good project management tool and connected through the DAM. All drafts, rounds, retouching and work in progress materials should be uploaded and stored in your DAM until they become final assets. By ingesting your assets from the start instead of waiting until finalization you allow for better version control, rights management, and archiving of assets over its life cycle. Connecting your project management tool with your DAM creates seamless workflows for viewing, retouching, and approving work in progress content.
Your content creation tools are accents to an effective creative operations technology stack. They are important in bringing your marketing ideas to life, but play a supporting role in the creative operations process as a whole. They are a means of creating the budding ideas of your marketing team but are not as important as the people and process behind the technology.
Related Article: Content Inventories Don't Have to Bog You Down: Use Random Sampling
Consider the complexity of managing content across a distributed workforce. The ability to identify, capture and ingest assets within a DAM system to facilitate access to multiple locations requires coordination and a formalized workflow process. Strategically defining workflow offers the opportunity to build better relationships among internal teams and partners across regions. Think about how and when digital assets are created and modified, how they move through the process of distribution and finally how they will be stored and retrieved later. Consider the following:
- Has the process been defined, let alone mapped to existing technology?
- Have gaps been discovered and solutions found?
- Have you put in place the people and processes to do what is needed?
- Has the ability to optimize the creative process been given?
- Have you chosen the right metrics, analytics and KPIs to measure and evaluate the program?
Creative operations is all about supply and demand: that is, the ever-growing supply of content being created, and the higher demand for that content. Furthermore, that content is required for existing and new distribution channels making the creative process stretched to meet the demand, and satisfy consumer expectations.
Related Article: DAM's Reach Spreads Across the Enterprise
Get Your Digital House in Order
Success takes work. With an effective creative operations strategy, businesses are able to achieve increased collaboration with content creators, data-driven decision making and better data for analytics and forecasting.
Start with a foundation based in data, embrace the transformation and discover the value in content. You need to get your digital house in order, know what your internal business units and external partners need, and understand how you will need to deliver assets today — and tomorrow — across multiple channels and devices. Business strategy for the 21st century calls for creative innovation in which the tried and tested triumvirate of people, process and technology operate in unison.