By: Lou Monaghan on December 4th, 2019
Finding Balance When Automating Creative Operations
One of the central concepts of many eastern philosophies is that two contradictory forces are always in balance. The part of this concept that is most striking to me is that balance is not a single point, where each opposing force is offset by the other at a neutral fifty-fifty ratio. Instead, it is the concept that at any point, the two forces create a whole regardless of the strength of one force relative to the other. The Chinese yin-yang symbol is perhaps the most well-known and poignant visual example of this concept.
In creative business processes, there is an essential tension between manual and automated processes. Manual processes are flexible and dynamic, whereas automation has strengths in distribution, continuity, consistency, and efficiency. The trick is to find the balancing point between manual and automated processes that provides the most significant value to your organization.
When all you have is a hammer
As solution architects involved with helping clients integrate software solutions to their business workflow, we have to be ever mindful of the old saying, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Automation is a powerful tool. Still, when you attempt to apply automation to every process, you constrain the creative process, stifling innovation, and alienate the very people you are trying to help. Bearing that in mind, let us look at a couple of areas where automation liberates rather than restrains creative professionals.
All projects benefit from a consistent look and feel but, the larger the project, the more difficult and time-consuming guaranteeing consistency becomes. Rather than have a creative check on every asset to ensure it conforms to the project standard, an automated system processes and normalizes the assets to the project standard and delivers them to a pre-set location for use by the creative team.
Media today is a many-headed beast. Creative teams are responsible for delivering assets across multiple channels, often simultaneously. The ability to have creative teams create templates for each channel incorporating a campaign's assets is incredibly powerful.
Automation software is a crucial component in ensuring that all stakeholders are involved in the creative process. Templates, once created, can be passed to the relevant stakeholders for approval without creatives concerning themselves with who needs to be involved. Automation allows the project manager or the team lead to drive and guide the approvals. Additionally, approvals can be made by the relevant departments on the assets specific to their area of expertise. For example, a legal team can approve the text that is going to be inserted into a project across multiple channels without having to review each piece. Once the text is approved by legal, it can be locked and automatically inserted into the templates during distribution.
Once your team has normalized a campaign's assets, created templates for each channel, and had all content approved, automation eases the generation and distribution of a campaign's final assets. The automating of distribution also increases the efficiency of making changes. A change in an image, logo, text, or template for a campaign becomes incredibly easy to apply across all channels quickly.
The Freedom to Create
Your creative team's primary concern is to generate innovative new ways to present your company, services, and products to your clients. Automating repetitious tasks, removing responsibility ensuring that all content has been approved, and allowing automatic generation of the final assets across multiple channels can be incredibly freeing. Rather than your creative team focusing on the mundane, automation allows them to spend their energy and time on what they do best.
About Lou Monaghan
Louis Monaghan, Jr. has been a Senior Systems Engineer since 2011. He began his professional career in the commercial print industry as a prepress professional. During his time in prepress, he was able to combine his love of print with a passion for computing and began automating manual processes to increase productivity. His knowledge of technology evolved alongside a growing industry, and Lou quickly became an expert in automating creative workflows. At IO Integration, Lou helps educate clients, allowing them to unlock the full potential of their software solutions, creating speed and efficiency wherever he goes.
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