The ultimate toolkit for productive creative teams

Launching a new creative campaign? Let’s face it. Producing content is not an easy feat for creatives. With hundreds of files produced daily, it’s no surprise why teams need technology to manage their ever-growing collection of content efficiently.Despite having a variety of software at their fingertips, collaboration may still be disconnected both within and outside your team. Why is this? Just like the adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” teams are resistant to adopting new processes and complex technology. Apply this to a creative process, and you end up with creative feedback scattered throughout existing tools, in long email chains or even being routed through printed reviews. This results in costly miscommunications, creating extra rounds of reviews and ultimately missed deadlines. The 2019 In-House Creative Industry Report shares that 78% of in-house creative teams partner with external agencies, but 53% claim miscommunications are a drawback. So, it’s clear why teams need the right set of tools for collecting feedback, managing next steps and sharing content efficiently and securely.If you’re ready to move faster on creative production, be sure to include these essential solutions in your creative toolkit:Content authoring applications

The strengths of authoring applications

Content editing and authoring tools, such as Sketch and Adobe’s Creative Applications, are a must-have for every creative team’s toolset. Whether designing logos, packaging or animated web experiences, creatives can quickly and easily capture, create and edit content with the right set of authoring tools.

Where do they fall short in the creative process?

Authoring tools only take us so far in the content production process. They come with a hefty price tag, often limiting their use to team members who produce content. This can create barriers for those who need to review content for feedback and approval, especially if they aren’t a creative. The result? Content producers resolve to exporting files from the authoring tool and save them in a format that’s more commonly available for reviewers. Next the files are typically shared through file sharing solutions or emailed for reviewers to download and preview. When it comes to leaving feedback, reviewers have to be as specific as possible, especially when reviewing visual assets. As misunderstandings start to arise, next steps for production are delayed.File sharing and storage systems

The strengths of file sharing & storage solutions

File sharing and storage solutions are widely used for sharing files that are too large to transfer over email. Like digital asset management (DAM) solutions, they can then store, manage and archive files long term. They also allow organizations to meet certain regulatory requirements with their security features and permissions. While they’re designed to be used organization wide, many marketing and creative teams find them valuable for sharing large multimedia files, especially with external teams for collaboration.

Where do they fall short in the creative process?

File sharing and storage solutions might do a great job at managing versions and permissions, but they don’t typically support asset annotations and can be too complex for collaborators to use in approval workflows.Project management systems

The strengths of project management systems

Project managers are haunted by growing workloads, paired with shorter delivery deadlines. That’s why many teams have turned to traditional project management systems to manage creative requests, assign resources and map out schedules. They also help managers understand the status of a project at any given time, often serving as a team’s system of record for project updates.

Where do they fall short in the creative process?

While project management systems may manage next steps and to-dos, many miss the mark when it comes to collaboration around visual assets. Stacey DeOrzio, senior vice president of creative agency HZ recalls, “Trying to use a traditional project management tool for creative change orders didn’t work — it was time consuming and inefficient. We’d have to manually bullet out all of the changes separate from the creative and that left room for interpretation, and therefore, mistakes.” Despite their extensive features and functionality, project management systems can be limited when it comes to collecting precise annotations on creative files and sharing out files for review. They can even require reviewers to login to leave feedback, and limit sharing to small files.Digital asset management (DAM) platforms

The strengths of a DAM solution

As the demand for creative content grows, teams turn to DAM platforms, like OpenText Media Management, to store and manage digital assets like videos, images and marketing collateral. They make content more organized, accessible and searchable, and eliminate the need to reproduce lost assets. Users also love how they save hours in locating and retrieving content.

Where do they fall short in the creative process?

52% of in-house creative teams report having access to a DAM, but less than 29% are using them for sharing content, according to The 2019 In-House Creative Industry Report. Teams are still challenged with content production. Collaborators may not need the range of functionality that DAM platforms tend to offer, which only complicates the creative review and file sharing process. Additionally, larger file sizes can take longer to send from a DAM platform, or may not be supported at all, and recipients are often required to login to view and upload content.Bridging the gap: Creative review & approval software

Looking at these key tools used by creative teams today, it’s no question why gaps still exist in the creative process. Teams are using a cumbersome mix of email, messaging applications and meetings to manage feedback collection. The resulting miscommunications between teams lead to extra review rounds and ultimately, project delays.

Not all hope is lost though. Many are turning to creative review & approval software, like Hightail, to fix their along with simplified feedback collection and approvals, no creative toolkit is complete without a creative review solution.


What to look for in a creative review application

Based on the gaps identified, when you’re looking for a creative review & approval solution, here are key requirements to keep in mind. The application should:

– Be accessible by anyone, because you’ll likely have reviewers and collaborators both within and outside your organization

– Allow you to exchange large, multimedia files in native formats

– Preview and stream content automatically

– Allow for precise file annotations by multiple reviewers at the same time

– Keep everyone informed on who’s accountable for next steps

– Track progress with version control and review history


So, how does your creative toolkit stack up? Does your team have the right set in place?

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