If the last few years of living through a pandemic have taught us anything, it’s that we are better together even when we are apart. Creative collaboration has become more challenging as the world has gone remote. While the pandemic highlighted the need to bridge the virtual gap, striking a careful balance between team life and independent work is essential.
How do we bring creative teams and marketing professionals together to drive results? The answer is a combination of the right process and the best technology.
Today we’ll explore the key elements of creating a high-performing, collaborative environment—virtually or in person:
- What is creative collaboration
- How creative collaboration is important to teams
- The benefits of creative collaboration
- How to increase creative collaboration
- How DAM improves creative collaboration
What is creative collaboration?
Creative collaboration is the process of bringing together a team (or teams) to conceptualize, develop, and deliver a product or project. Team collaboration toward a common goal pushes projects further, results in better outcomes, and fosters good team communication.
Creative collaboration can take many forms:
- Kickoff meetings where team members share their vision and ideas for the project. Group kickoffs create spaces to play with ideas, identify opportunities and challenges, consider variations in messaging or look-and-feel, and contribute to the overall production of the project.
- Collaborative production where multiple stakeholders contribute work to an overall campaign. In a multi-channel campaign, creatives such as photographers, graphic designers, videographers, visual editors, writers, and social media managers all contribute to the total customer experience.
- Peer review where creatives come together in a constructive way to strengthen the overall presentation of the work. This type of community-based review may identify previously unseen areas for improvement or questions about implementation. When structured well, these large-group efforts can be effective means of enhancing large campaigns.
- Team retrospectives where team members reflect on completed work, discuss learnings and observations about the project, and implement those findings when approaching future projects.
The importance of creative collaboration at work
Collaboration between branding and creative stakeholders during the creative process is the foundation of exemplary customer experience. It makes the best use of creativity and problem-solving skills within teams. It strengthens these teams and allows each department to serve its highest purpose while relying on the support of the larger organization.
Top advantages of creative collaboration
Working exclusively within creative silos isn’t the best way to grow a team and get results. Creative and brand stakeholders thrive on constructive feedback, idea-sharing, and internal networking.
A culture of collaboration ensures members encounter a unique perspective that improves the process and the outcome. Collaboration nurtures growth and skill sets in your teams and creates access to experience and institutional knowledge.
Creating proactive collaboration for your creative professionals and digital marketers offers many individual and collective benefits:
1. Encourages cooperative problem-solving
Give all your stakeholders an equal opportunity to invest in the process by bringing the team together to brainstorm and peer-review campaigns and assets. This provides a structure for critique and helps teams work through blocking issues and creative differences along the way.
When establishing a collaborative culture, it’s important to reinforce it with structure. There should be adequate time and methods of communicating ideas, easy ways to track suggestions, clear workflows for incorporating accepted suggestions, and documentation for informing future projects.
2. Improves marketing results
A team that brings its full capabilities and insights to a project delivers better results than those who work using siloed delivery methods. The group’s contributions shape the finished campaign, relying on insight from individual stakeholders who see creative work through various lenses.
3. Increases brand continuity
Collaborating effectively also means communicating the structure and parameters of the assets in development. Through close collaboration, teams can raise the bar on brand continuity by getting different eyes on the project and suggesting ways to convey on-brand imagery, messaging, and values.
4. Boosts team culture
Teams that stick together, thrive together. Building the creative collaboration framework also brings stakeholders across your creative and marketing organizations closer together. It fosters a sense of mutual respect and common purpose. It also provides opportunities to strengthen the interpersonal relationships of valuable team members.
These connections are important for keeping employees happy long-term, as well. Companies that focus on effective communication realize 450% increased retention. (Not a typo!)
How to increase collaboration with creative and brand teams
Collaboration doesn’t happen automatically. It requires careful planning and attention to group dynamics.
Following some best practices ensures each teammate has access to the tools and information needed to successfully do their part. Good communication structures enable stakeholders to feel heard and understood, even if the team is virtual or asynchronous.
Define the structure of collaboration
Effective collaboration requires the right balance of structure and freedom. Define the roles each stakeholder will play in the creative process. Outline decision-makers and project owners to provide clarity in the process. But leave some room for receiving and integrating new ideas or approaches that serve the best outcome.
Centralize data and assets
Collaboration becomes much easier when everyone has access to the information and assets they need. For marketing projects, creating centralized access to assets in a DAM allows every stakeholder to contribute to the project, access the best assets, iterate successfully, and deliver the final product. A DAM with robust versioning and DRM features allows multiple stakeholders to work on the same project without duplicating efforts or introducing unwanted changes.
Use collaboration-friendly tools
Communication is the heart of collaboration. Tools that enable project communication make it easier for teams to drive results from different countries or time zones. Because people communicate differently, remember to offer more than one way to collaborate. This meets the need for stakeholders to deliver feedback in the best way for them individually while also providing opportunities for group discussion. Offering a variety of collaboration tools gives video-based, text-based, and audio-based learners ways to take in information and share what they know.
Any or all of these communication methods can enhance collaboration for your teams:
- Group meetings (face-to-face or virtual)
- Scrum or sprint-based coordination
- Kanban boards or other card-based systems
- Corporate communication tools such as Slack or Teams
- Feedback tools such as surveys
- Document collaboration like Google Docs or OneNote
- Visual workspace tools like Mural or Miro
One caveat here: Plan your meeting time carefully. While nearly 90% of employees say that virtual meetings help them feel connected to colleagues, the increase in meeting attendance and the prevalence of Zoom fatigue makes brevity the soul of productivity.
Establish strong workflows
Project management and approval workflows are important components of the development process. These allow teamwork and collaboration while keeping deliverables on schedule. Identifying and automating project management and approval workflows allows everyone to contribute at the right time, keep the momentum going, and ensure a high-quality end product.
How creative collaboration tools help
For content marketers, creatives, and brand managers, there is no better tool for driving creative collaboration than a robust, modern DAM. A flexible cloud-based solution brings together your creative assets, provides common ground for creative and brand stakeholders, and offers seamless communication in one dynamic platform.
Using digital asset management software like Aprimo, you can easily build the framework for successful communication and project collaboration. Here are some of the features Aprimo has to offer:
- Dynamic and role-based access to all creative assets within your organization
- Built-in communication tools for active collaboration on in-flight asset production
- Centralized branding parameters and style guides that keep everyone on the same page so they can deliver on-brand content and creative
- Workflow and approval tools to ensure the collaborative work remains streamlined and enables on-time delivery
A fully-featured DAM helps creative teams and marketing professionals come together to deliver best-in-class results. Ready to get everyone on the same virtual page? Start with a free trial of the Aprimo DAM.