Editorial

What is Creative Operations?

Written on 
February 16, 2021
 by 
Nick Gubbins

“Operationalizing the creative isn’t inhibiting creativity, it’s establishing structure, framework, boundaries and fighting for more headcount and resources to ensure the creatives can focus on doing what they do best.

‘Creative Operations’ has only started to become a widely recognized term in the last few years. Before then, and even (although less so) now, the discipline can have many different names ranging from production manager to project coordinator, from marketing operations to design services, or even no established title at all. It can very often be a hybrid role that falls under an already overworked marketing manager.

The absence of an established and recognized title has been detrimental to the success of the function now acknowledged to be a key driver in producing excellent creative work at scale, on time and at budget.

With the explosion of the in-house and hybrid-agency movements, and the demand for more content, faster and better is not showing any signs of slowing. Clients expect work at an unprecedented rate - and the essentiality of creative operations in making that happen means that creative operations is finally getting its heyday...and it’s here to stay.

What’s more, with the evolution and recognition of the term creative operations, a sense of community began to develop, and a realization that there are many others out there navigating the same uncertain waters across almost every industry.

Seemingly an inherent juxtaposition - creative operations is the meeting of two polar opposite forces - simultaneously coming together and fighting their relative corners. But operationalizing the creative isn’t inhibiting creativity, it’s establishing structure, framework, boundaries and fighting for more headcount and resources to ensure the creatives can focus on doing what they do best. 

It can often be a struggle for creative operations managers to make the case for investment and resources, despite the fact that brands that invest in and recognize their creative operations function often see happier, less overworked teams, efficient internal structures and a good relationship between the various departments involved in the asset ecosystem. More difficult still, can be making the case for and successfully onboarding a new tool.

Luckily, as the discipline has gained traction, purpose-built tools have begun to emerge in the vendor market at a wide variety of price points. Whereas previously teams may have been forced to use the likes of google sheets to manage projects that required more sophisticated tech to meet their needs, there now exist tools specific to serving the needs of your team. 

No more trying and failing to adopt tools that aren’t actually curated for your needs...there’s very much something out there now for any team size and any budget.

A common mistake we see teams making is hoping that a good tool can smooth over bad processes. It is a means to enhance your way of work, not fix it. It is simply erroneous to hope that a fancy tool is the solution to all of your problems. Onboarding, adoption and a commitment to change management are very much essential for the tool to fly.

It’s important to do your research and select the tool that fits your requirements; the biggest and best vendors on the market might not necessarily be the best for you. Are they keeping up and evolving to meet the demands of the latest industry developments? Teams today have very different requirements than they had five years ago.

As we start 2021 very much entering a new world, the key challenges for creative operations teams will be producing work remotely (and in some cases in absence of studios), and tightened budgets from both the client and the consumer. With this in mind, it has never been more important to invest in and refine your way of work to ensure you can meet this new future head on.

At Atellio, we know that creativity cannot be automated...but admin can. We’re passionate about making processes seamless so that creatives can spend more time doing what they do best.

We are going to continue to evolve, make a splash, and ensure we’re giving our customers everything they need to continue to be disruptors in their own right.

If you’d like to chat creative operations and how Atellio can help your creative team, please contact me at nick@atellio.com.


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