An advertising agency is often romanticized as a “creative” business. A huge aspect of the advertising agency business is indeed about creativity. However, it’s important to maintain a proper, rather rigid workflow to ensure the advertising agency can build and maintain a solid reputation for delivering consistent results that can also help their clients.
An advertising agency workflow should include actions, tasks, and decisions that enable the specific advertising campaign to be successful. Oftentimes, this workflow is invisible to the clients but is very important for the advertising agency to ensure success.
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Why Is Workflow Important In Advertising Agency
The advertising agency might involve many people with different roles. Although the core of the advertising agency business is creativity, a true collaboration between the right people is required to ensure a successful creative process.
Additionally, there are other processes in the advertising agency outside the creative process like budgeting, staffing, etc. Not to mention, the review and approval process can be a complicated process on its own in an agency environment.
Each of these actions has an impact, and when there’s any problem with the said action, it can lead to delays. As we know, an advertising agency is a very deadline-driven business. When there’s a delay to a single action, it can significantly affect all the other processes, causing missed deadlines and disappointed clients.
Another significant benefit of implementing workflow in an advertising agency environment is successfully integrating paper-based processes with today’s standard digital structures. Even in 2021, many advertising agencies are still heavily relying on pen-and-paper to drive their business processes.
In short, by visualizing and implementing workflow, we can successfully identify potential bottlenecks, eliminate these issues before they even start, and then streamline or even automate the business processes to ensure successful projects without any missed deadlines.
Creative Workflow Management In Advertising Agencies
Creative Workflow Management, or CWM, has the objective of applying and maintaining a structure to the creative process to allow the creative process to reach its maximum potential. Creative workflow management essentially defines key responsibilities in a creative process, sets up roles, tracks progress, and helps all the team members manage their time, enabling them to meet deadlines.
When implemented correctly, creative workflow management provides space for the team’s creative members to be creative, developing, and executing their ideas. On the other hand, it will keep all these creative works streamlined with other departments and overall organization to ensure the project’s success.
Another critical advantage of creative workflow management is improved communication. Each business unit can collaborate and communicate seamlessly so they each can complete their tasks on time.
How To Implement Creative Workflow Management
Although creative workflow management might sound complicated at first, they consist of relatively simple steps. Below, we will discuss the five core steps of managing your advertising agency workflow from start to finish.
Remember that the main objective of implementing this creative workflow management is to meet the client’s demands while ensuring you are within budget and deadlines.
With that being said, the exact steps of creating your advertising agency’s workflow may vary depending on the project itself, the size of your agency, and the available resources. However, all processes in an advertising agency will involve these five core steps:
Step 1: Defining The Project
Before anything else, we should adequately define the project to translate it into a proper workflow.
In an advertising agency environment, this step typically begins with a discussion/meeting with the client to gather the project’s required information, especially regarding the client’s demands and expectations.
In this step, we properly define the project’s scope according to the client’s expectation and present it to the team, creating a creative brief. This step should involve an open discussion about the client’s demands and how your team will approach this project to produce the desired output.
So, the central aspect of this step is brainstorming, so the whole team and stakeholders can agree on moving forward with the project.
Step 2: Defining Roles
The next step is about defining roles and responsibilities for each team member. This is very important to avoid confusion between team members about what tasks they should execute and when.
Properly assigning roles to the right people can help all team members focus only on the tasks they need to finish to contribute to the project’s success. On the other hand, with a proper workflow, everyone is now aware of who is responsible for a specific task, improving transparency and accountability in the whole project.
This is especially important if your project involves sequential tasks (a task must be finished before another can start). The team members assigned to these sequential tasks can then collaborate together.
Step 3: Scheduling
The next step is to create a schedule for the project, detailing deadlines for each task.
With this schedule, all team members can understand how they should manage their work and time to meet the deadlines.
Having a proper schedule alone can significantly improve efficiency, especially in creative work, where an adequate structure can considerably improve the job’s chaotic nature. By helping your team members remember deadlines, they can focus on the job at hand without compromising work quality.
Step 4: Execution
This step is pretty self-explanatory: with the foundations of the project set in place, we can execute the creative production.
This process is the most important, but it can only be successful when the previous steps have also been executed properly. It provides a structure to follow so that information is readily available for everyone involved in the project. This allows team members, especially creative staff, more space to focus on their tasks.
Step 5: Evaluation and Completion
When the project deliverables have been finished and put together, the project is now ready for the final presentation. In this step, we should make all the required changes and fine-tuning. Once the project has been approved, we can also deal with other administrative aspects, like billing and final approval.
Implementing workflow management in a creative project can result in a more efficient project turnaround, reduced compliance risks, and ultimately, happier clients.
It’s important to understand that a proper workflow will enable creativity rather than limit it. Still, at the same time, we’d have to create a flexible workflow structure to avoid rigidity. We can use visual-based workflow management and automation software like Aproove to properly visualize our advertising agency’s workflow.
Proper workflow management can bring transparency and accountability to your creative project, so everyone involved in the project can understand their responsibilities, leading to a higher quality of deliverables.