Creative Operations: Accountability Improves Quality Blog Feature
Matthew Bagshaw

By: Matthew Bagshaw on May 2nd, 2019

Creative Operations: Accountability Improves Quality

creative operations

Missed deadlines, lack of visibility, errors in output, and lost files are all signs that you’ve lost sight of who should be actioning each stage of your process. And without a clear chain of responsibility, quality suffers.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how a creative operations solution can improve your organization’s accountability and quality.

4 Common Pain Points for Creative Operations

Doing creative operations well is no easy task. Below, we’ll go over 4 of the most common issues that can be mitigated by a creative operations solution.

  • Public perception: On a very broad but critical level, your actions and image as a company should be consistent with your tagline or mission statement. If your perception as a brand is tarnished, your business can easily enter a slump from which it may never recover. For example, public relations disasters such as BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Volkswagen’s emissions scandal critically damaged these companies’ attempts to build an eco-friendly reputation. These are extreme examples, but quality will certainly be core to your brand reputation and slips in quality control can be disastrous for your business.
  • Copyright issues: Videos, images, graphics, and audio can all be subject to complicated copyright issues. A particular asset may only be usable in certain regions or for a certain length of time. If an asset features the likenesses of multiple people, the rights may be even more complex.
  • Manual effort: The more manual your processes are, the harder it is to have a consistent, efficient delivery process. Not only do manual steps increase the possibility of error, they also provide less accountability for the people involved. Taking the time to automate your processes will help speed things up and provide more structure.
  • Financial risk: If you fall victim to the three problems above, you expose yourself to a great deal of financial risk. Alienating your customer base, breaking copyright law, and wasting time with manual processes can all have costly consequences for your business.

Key Questions to Ask About Your Creative Operations

Do you recognize your own situation in the pain points listed above? It might be time to think about a dedicated creative operations solution. Before getting too far in the process, though, ask yourself these 6 crucial questions.

  • What type of digital content does your team produce? Photographs, images, graphics, audio, video, text, fonts, PDF files, and raw data are all different types of assets and should be handled differently.
  • What is your current process for reviewing digital assets? Methods such as email allow lots of room for errors to slip through.
  • How do you track content rights? Rights to using content change and expire over time, and it’s nearly impossible to keep track of all the restrictions manually.
  • How do you work out problems with digital assets? When was the last time you had to do this, and how long did it take? How often do these issues occur?
  • What are the consequences for error in your organization? How can you quantify this? Do you have a team or department dedicated to addressing these problems?
  • Do managers, executives, and key stakeholders care about these issues? Do they even acknowledge that there are issues in the first place?

5 Must-Have Features of a Creative Operations Solution

You’ve reflected on your current situation, and you’ve decided it’s time to go shopping for creative operations software. When deciding between the alternatives, make sure that you choose a solution with the features below.

  • Clear workflow: The software should make it easy to see which employees are assigned to which tasks, whether the tasks belong to a larger set, and by when the tasks need to be completed.
  • Viewing multiple assets: It’s rare that you’ll need only one asset in isolation. Your choice of creative operations software should allow you to view single and multiple assets at the same time.
  • User-friendliness: The software should contain a rich array of features and toolsets, depending on what your users’ specific needs are. With legal documents, for example, the desired features probably include proofreading parts and the ability to pick up text.
  • Easy reporting: Without reporting, you may not be able to tell things such as which employees are the bottlenecks in your content approval process, or the average length of your approval cycles. For example, if much of your content is being rejected, you should be able to drill down to see if it’s due to issues such as incorrect colors or a particularly picky employee.
  • Security: If you’re handling sensitive or confidential data, security is paramount. Some features you might want are digital signatures, an IP whitelist to clamp down on user access, dedicated logins to track user activities, and the ability to restrict document sharing.

Benefits of Including Accountability in your Creative Operations

When you pick the right creative operations solution, you’ll start seeing benefits such as:

  • Saving time: When documents are waiting in someone’s inbox waiting to be approved, you can lose hours, days, or weeks of productivity. By using creative operations software, you can track exactly which assets are at which stage of the process. Even small improvements in turnaround time can add up when applied hundreds or thousands of times.
  • Ensuring brand consistency: Brands must be recognizable and consistent; when they aren’t, customers may suspect that your brand has lost its value or trustworthiness. Brand consistency includes things such as messaging, logos, images, colors, and typography. The famous “Ferrari red”, for example, has been the national racing color of Italy since the 1920s.
  • Reducing the cost of mistakes: A dedicated software solution for creative operations helps you avoid potentially costly mistakes. For example, you can verify that an asset has been successfully revised to take comments and suggestions into account.
  • Digitizing your processes: Paper-based processes are slow and inefficient. Digitizing your processes gives you access to a variety of features, like searching through and filtering your databases to find the assets you need in seconds.


As you can no doubt see, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to picking the right creative operations solution. That’s why we encourage you to work with a third-party tech partner who truly understands your situation, needs, and business objectives.

Want to learn more about how to improve your organization’s creative operations? Check out our in-depth guide The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Your Creative Operations.

Understanding Your Creative Operations


About Matthew Bagshaw

Director of Services (UK) at IO Integration

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