By: Le'Mina McNair on June 22nd, 2022
Communicating with Creatives: Increasing Communication without Stifling Creativity
Collaboration with team members | creative operations | best practices
In ever-changing marketing and creative environments, the last thing you have time for is a delay or error due to avoidable miscommunication. According to Workforce, an Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. study found that 60% of companies don't have a long-term strategy for their internal communications, and Salesforce reported that 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.
Though both are critical to the success of a project, marketers and creatives often speak different languages, causing critical direction and objectives to get lost. Marketers focus on strategy and implementation, while creatives — designers, copywriters, content writers, video producers, and others — work to build content from the ground up.
There are countless benefits to getting your internal communication processes aligned. A streamlined internal communication plan can lead to significant improvements in productivity, increased collaboration, better knowledge sharing, and a surge in morale, just to name a few. In this blog, we’ll explore how to improve team communication in four simple steps, and talk about the technology solutions that you can use to get there.
4 Effective Team Communication Strategies & the Technology to Support Them
Creatives can make some incredible things happen, but they’re not mindreaders. The most effective way to set expectations is to lay them out clearly and directly before the project starts. Sit the whole team down in a pre-project meeting to talk through the vision and objectives for the project and to work through timelines. This is where connected and optimized workflows come into play. Use your pre-project planning meeting as an opportunity to establish streamlined automations to avoid backtracking or endless back and forth between departments.
Creative’s ultimate goal is to produce an effective deliverable, but this doesn’t mean they shouldn't be looped in on the reasoning behind their task. Communicating any vital information — demographic, psychographic, budgetary, etc. — before the project kicks off can give your creative team a better sense of ownership and understanding of the overall project.
Direction without micromanaging
Whether it’s designing a print piece or writing web copy, creatives are great at what they do. A critical and effective team communication strategy is realizing that micromanaging can quickly stifle creativity. Creativity is a valuable commodity — let creatives create without fear of being derailed.
Communication is key when it comes to direction. The power of project management is that over-communication is good when you have a powerful Digital Marketing Workflow solution. A project management solution with specific tasks for creating briefs and passing along information can be incredibly beneficial. Having specific tasks for information gathering and dissemination can help ensure that creative team members have everything they need all in one place within a main project task. The time needed for creating these briefs can also be built into the overall project timeline, giving your team the ability to give proper and thorough direction, without delaying the project with back and forth questions. Properly utilizing this solution ensures that the creative has all the information that they need, and has a centralized means of communication to learn more about the project at hand.
Instilling this sense of direction and knowledge will give needed room for creative freedom while still ensuring that projects are being completed to the agreed scope and specifications.
Utilize a project management system to clearly lay out tasks, assignees, and deadlines for your entire team.
Deadlines are a crucial piece of any project and should be placed and communicated in a strategic manner. Deadlines are often non-negotiable — they are aimed to give enough time for your team to produce quality work but not too much that it causes delays. That is why it’s an important part of the process to double-check that there are no issues with completion timelines right from the conception of the project. Are your key designers or writers assigned to any other large-scale projects? If so, how do you prioritize their workload? Not only will this step save a lot of time and potential headaches, but it also provides a safety net for any unpredicted hiccups that occur throughout the project.
Centralize your process
Ensure that everyone knows where to find resources and content for any given project by standardizing your filing system. Throughout the course of an entire project, a team can lean on several solutions to house and share work. Especially with the recent surge in remote work, teams are depending on centralized cloud solutions to share work from anywhere. Laying the foundation of where and how to reach critical information will make project completion more seamless.
There are innumerable great solutions for creative teams. Leveraging a digital asset management system to file and organize past and current assets can be particularly helpful for a creative team. This sort of robust solution can vastly improve team communication all on its own. Utilizing a system like Google Drive to make information accessible to all company employees is a simple solution too. With individual permissions and a private foldering system, creatives know where and how to find the project brief and can go into the project-specific folder for further background.
Start Improving Your Team Communication Strategies
Technology plays a distinct and imperative role in opening up and supporting these communication channels. IO Integration’s services can help you to not only identify which technologies would be beneficial for your creative teams, but also offer additional support and consulting in its implementation. To learn more about how to speak to a graphic designer, copywriter, or other creative, and the solutions that can make your internal communications run more effectively, get in touch with the experts at IO Integration.