At the core of your creative agency is the word creative, so the process isn’t always something that would come naturally. Oftentimes it may feel like establishing processes in your creative agency could stifle the creativity that makes your agency successful. But with the right processes in place and tools to manage them, your creative team will actually have MORE time to be creative and work on the projects that they are most skilled at.
This isn’t something new to the creative industry. All successful advertising, marketing, and digital agencies have clear processes. Having a standardized set of processes doesn’t hamper creativity. In fact, it unlocks creativity by getting rid of inefficiencies and redundancies in the system.
4 ways to establish clear processes in your creative agency
We at Heycollab have identified these four proven ways in which you can establish clear processes in your agency and optimize productivity.
1. Clarify roles and responsibilities
Creative agencies, like most startups, start out small. There would be a few people in charge of everything in the office. From client servicing to market research to brand planning to creative functions, everything would be managed by these individuals. Multi-tasking would be the default mode of the agency.
But as the agency grows, it would need specialists with experience in their domains. You need creatives and planners and account executives and managers. Old habits die hard. There will be overlaps and gaps which curtail productivity and delay projects. The solution is a clear demarcation of responsibilities.
Client-facing executives shouldn’t have to worry about creative execution. Copywriters and art directors shouldn’t be pulled into email threads on market research and brand planning. Everyone should know each other’s roles and responsibilities. Everyone should also know who’s the decision-maker in a specific circumstance.
2. Chart your workflow
One of the most effective tools for a creative agency is a standardized and easily repeatable workflow that all stakeholders understand. This doesn’t mean that you have to completely change your existing systems or start from scratch. You also don’t have to change people’s behavior to fit into a radical new approach.
All you have to do is analyze your current workflow and identify bottlenecks. Go through some of the projects that your agency has handled in the recent past and look at their workflows. This will reveal the best practices and potential problems across departments.
Charting your workflow helps visualize your process. Now there will be a repeatable framework for all actions, from briefing to creative development to reviews to approvals and presentations.
3. Optimize client onboarding
Getting a new client is an exciting process. After what might have been a competitive pitch spread over weeks if not months, signing a client is a moment of triumph. But while creative agencies may have a system for acquiring clients, they may not have a framework for onboarding new clients.
Creative agencies require a clear process of onboarding clients because that will set the tone for how you service the client. It will also give the right first impression to your new partners. What’s needed is a standard operating procedure that includes the following:
- The individual who will be responsible for client onboarding.
- The client-facing team that will brief others about client requirements.
- Team members with experience in that specific domain.
- Identifying and communicating the timeline to the client.
- Sharing the creative, review, and approval process with the client.
- Introducing different unit heads to those at the client’s side.
4. Use the right creative operations management software
Once you have identified your workflow, it’s time to integrate it into a project management software designed for creative operations. The software you choose should simplify the process by giving you the necessary features.
Heycollab, for instance, has been designed to help creative agencies optimize their functions and enhance collaboration.
- Heycollab’s board templates allow teams to repeat process tasks for specific clients and projects.
- You can see everything in one place, with unlimited storage capacity.
- With custom tags, members can easily identify where projects and processes are at in their lifecycles.
- Custom labels enable individuals to find out which task belongs to which project or team
Remember that your project management software should be easy to use. It should streamline your workflow and add transparency to the process. The objective is to reduce friction, remove bottlenecks, and empower creativity, collaboration, and communication.
A clear process will improve communication and collaboration in a creative agency. It will reduce ambiguity, increase transparency, and streamline the workflow. Importantly, it doesn’t take much effort to implement a clear process. All it takes is consent from all stakeholders and a willingness to abide by a framework.