Creative Department Planning


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Marketing organizations are constantly challenged to keep all the pieces of their brand glued together. From traditional advertising, online, direct, and the next generation of social media, brands have never been at greater risk of becoming fragmented and diluted.

This brief presenation is an high-level review of how to ensure your Creative Services Department is a good postion to support your brand.

Published in: Business

Creative Department Planning

  1. 1. Building a CreativeServices Organization toHelp Support Your Brand By Jon Anderson, Creative Director 2/23/12 2012  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  2. 2. Bringing it all together Marketing organizations are constantly challenged to keep all the pieces of their brand glued together. From traditional advertising, online, direct, and the next generation of social media, brands have never been at greater risk of becoming fragmented and diluted.2 2012  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  3. 3. Design your organization with clear intent Like a well designed room where all the pieces fit together, a great creative services organization compliments and supports the rest of the marketing department and ultimately the brand. In its ideal form, a creative services department should be built on the core marketing needs of the company and be able to effectively support all internal groups including: marketing, product teams, sales, etc... (In fact, the sales team should LOVE the creative group.) All departments should have access to well defined and streamlined processes to ensure business objectives are met and that projects are produced on time. Creative teams should be happy in their work while producing a quality creative product that builds upon the company brand. In addition, teams should also be measuring performance for continued improvement.3 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  4. 4. Supporting business objectives By the time someone starts designing the spare bedroom they may have forgotten about the architect’s big vision. The same goes for marrying business and marketing objectives with creative department goals. Creative departments need visibility into high-level goals in order to take a more productive and tactical approach. In addition to specific marketing goals, it is critical to lay the foundation upon at least 3 key principles: 1. Maintain the highest standard of work 2. Work with complete efficiency and accountability 3. Ensure fluid team communication4 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  5. 5. Matching deliverables and talent One of the most important first steps in having a successful creative department is determining exactly what kind of deliverables your creative team is responsible for and what kind of skill-sets are required. Right off the bat that seems like an easy question to answer, but it’s surprisingly tricky to get right. Many teams are strong in design, but not at conceptual thinking—or they are brilliant at producing collateral but don’t understand how to optimize an email for lead generation. Creative talent comes in a wide range of skill-sets. Knowing what the differences are and how to build your team around your needs makes a huge difference in the long range success of a department. After working through this process, you should get a pretty good sense of what kind of team you need to build, train or outsource.5 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  6. 6. Not all projects are created equal Since projects vary in size and scope, and in order to get realistic forecasts, it’s helpful to rank projects based on a sliding scale. For example, a corporate event may take months to produce using all of an Art Director’s time—whereas an email and landing page may simply require dropping in copy. Projects can be defined as follows: Type 1: Large scale project - Over 100 hours Staffing: Requires creative staff of 3 or more Timeline: From project kickoff to completion takes a month or longer Type 2: Medium project - 40 to 100 hours Staffing: Requires creative staff of less than 3 or 50% of 2 staffers time Timeline: From kickoff to completion takes less than 1 month Type 3: Small creative or production project - 1 to 40 hours Staffing: Requires a creative staff of 1–2 Timeline: Project could take anywhere from 2 hours to 1 week6 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  7. 7. How to set performance objectives A creative department’s culture should allow for defining success on multiple levels. One key benchmark is determining the number of projects that can be produced in a fiscal quarter. Start by establishing a baseline for the number and type of projects that were produced in the last 6 months. If this has not been measured in the past, take your best guess and start keeping track going forward. This measurement can be used to set department goals, reorganize teams and validate budgets. example7 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  8. 8. Department organization Departments come in all shapes and sizes. Good cataloguing of project types makes it much easier to determine how to retool a department or set up a fitness plan. It’s also key in figuring out which mix of personnel is needed: ie: traditional, direct, online, print production or fully integrated. Understanding how to build a team to serve the company’s brand maps directly back to understanding these data points.8 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  9. 9. Creatives are okay with accountability A typical marketing myth is that creative teams only want to produce fun work for their portfolios and don’t care about results. In fact, the opposite is true. Creative teams like to measure their success. When a creative person knows the work they produce yields tangible results and is meeting program objectives, it’s quite gratifying. When the creative goes wrong, it’s often because there is a lack of clearly defined goals and objectives. The more focused the objective, the better the creative result. The fuzzier the objective, the worse the creative product and the more painful the process.9 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  10. 10. Bad process inhibits good work Marketing is a complicated business. Even the most experienced marketing professionals struggle with basic processes and systems, wasting enormous amounts of time and energy. Of all the components at the start of a marketing project nothing is more critical than the Creative Brief to get teams moving in the same direction. At its best, the brief is a clear and focused piece that guides projects from start to finish. It’s the one salient document that all parties agree to, the information kiosk, the project constitution, and the undisputed representative of the brand positioning.10 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  11. 11. The right tools should seem easy to use Bringing all your marketing resources together means having a tool or tools that allow for visibility and access to the brand. This includes: identity materials, campaigns, messaging, and strategy. To date, few solutions have emerged that can meet everyones needs. Third party solutions often fall short on perceived capabilities leaving companies to build proprietary sites that require a significant amount of resources to manage. When evaluating project management solutions and brand management tools, be sure to separate your mission critical needs from the “nice-to-have” features. Most folks only use the basic functionality to access the most common resources.11 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  12. 12. Validating costs Somewhere between trying to create great work and running the department you need to validate costs. The creative services department can provide an extraordinary amount of value, both from a marketing and cost perspective. Being able to communicate that value when budgets are being scrutinized is important for maintaining harmony with the CFO. When a creative department is staffed correctly, it can be a huge money saver for the company in comparison to being heavily dependent on a decent advertising agency.12 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  13. 13. Summary Building a creative services department is no easy task, but with the right motivation and plan, even the most complex organizations can hum along like a well oiled machine. Having a coordinated effort across all departments is the only way for companies to be confident that their brand can stay on track.13 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson
  14. 14. Jon Anderson, BIO Jon is tirelessly dedicated to improving processes wherever he can. He has helped advertising agencies revamp their systems, unified corporate marketing departments, and built common sense process models that have helped companies save on their bottom line. Jon started his career in advertising in 1995 and has worked at leading agencies and corporations. He has helped build brands and revitalize product lines creating award winning campaigns along the way.14 2011  Copyright  ®  Jon  Anderson