Once upon a time (almost exactly a year ago), we interviewed TPF Sports Business Analyst Mark Barlee to hear how the sports services agency cut production times and boosted morale in their first few months with Hightail. Since then, the agency has outlined a process to route creative for review and approval and has all of their clients onboard. Sounds like a creative dream team, right?
What I love about this story is how the agency has successfully proven to their clients that there is a better way to manage creative reviews. This is difficult for many businesses to do this because, naturally, they recognize that clients work with other agencies (and tools) too. It can be a challenge to explain why it’s necessary for the client to be onboard, prove the benefits and actually have 100% adoption.
Getting everyone onboard
“Our aim at the beginning was to create a regimented process around product approvals. It was basically an indemnity against mistakes, so we were clear about which file is the approved version and have that archived correctly so when the pre-production sample arrives, we can benchmark it off that approved artwork. The trial was conducted with three AFL clubs, three National Rugby League clubs and two motorsports teams including Red Bull,” Mark explained.
After the initial trial proved successful, Mark and the TPF Sports team began to roll out Hightail in stages to other clients, mandating that ALL artwork review, approval and storage is done within Hightail. They’ve found that having all versions and comments in one place makes for a much simpler review process.
“The onboarding process was straightforward. The product is intuitive, and we believed in it. This made it easy to encourage adoption.” – Mark Barlee, Business Analyst
So, how did TPF actually pull off full adoption of a new creative process? Simple. The team would share a Hightail Space with the client’s artwork, along with an email outlining the new process and what would be required from clients, including commenting, reviewing new versions and approving work within Hightail. Mark admitted that it can take time to get some clients used to working in this new process, but with Hightail’s intuitive interface, so far it’s been easy for clients to pick up. Another key success factor has been asking clients to nominate one person to take responsibility for approvals. For new clients, TPF plans to send out a Hightail introduction video to help with onboarding as well.
And the crowd goes wild
Before Hightail, Mark described their creative process as “horrible.” Reviews and approvals were very email driven, changes would be vague, or if there were multiple products featured in a PDF, it was difficult to determine which comments belonged to which products. This caused frustrations between teams and opened the door for miscommunication. Flash forward to today, the new creative process with Hightail has made happy fans both internally and externally.
The TPF Project Coordinators manage the creative process with clients and were responsible for communicating creative changes to internal teams. Mark noted, “Some newer coordinators don’t know what the life was like before Hightail but have found it easy to pick up; those who were here before we switched swear by it.”
Clients have responded well overall to the new process with TPF Sports. They enjoy having a centralized space, with every asset and decision in one place. Clients also appreciate seeing the transparency of communication between departments.
“Finding better ways to do business goes a long way to showing that we are challenging standard practice, which our clients appreciate.” – Mark Barlee
Additionally, every client now has a creative process in place that minimizes the risk of production mishaps, and TPF Sports has been able to save nearly 500 hours of creative work alone over the past year with their new process.
In one case, the client likes their new way of creative collaboration so much that they are evaluating Hightail for their own in-house design team. Can a fan get any bigger than that?
“Hightail is the only way to manage change and approval for creative assets.” – Mark Barlee, Business Analyst