Working from home has upended everyone’s marketing processes; in fact, the entire marketing production chain is under new demands.
Communication plans are evolving as clients and customers want up-to-date information on COVID policies and procedures.
To keep up, clients may need new or updated assets created and approved for different channels faster than ever before from your creative team.
If you’re a brand or product leader, you’re likely figuring out how to:
- Change work processes with clients, suppliers, and brand partners as everyone adjusts to remote work and new campaign budgets.
- Update and launch changing creative and product assets on the fly and ensure all your internal production systems work together for digital collaboration.
- Ensure that new or changing work orders, review, and approvals aren’t lost in the fray.
- Maintain or increase client crisis response and output.
That’s a tall order for marketing and brand teams that are still adjusting to new day-to-day reality of working completely from home. (HR platform Springworks has some excellent tips for how creatives can manage the work-life balance when projects are done entirely at tome.)
For some insights on how to weather this transition on the project side, we’ve collected stories from leaders at three brands and agencies about how they manage digital collaboration and how online proofing has helped them adjust when workloads change for their creative teams.
How Copperwing Agency’s Creative Team Increased Client Delivery While Working Remotely
Copperwing, a multi-service creative consulting agency based in Montgomery, AL, knows just how beneficial it is to provide on-demand access to multiple campaign assets.
With client work ranging from product launches to fundraising campaigns and rebranding efforts, the agency needed a way for the copy, design, digital, and client services teams to view and provide input on multiformat campaign assets in production—especially while visiting clients or working from home across the region.
The agency implemented online proofing in order to have one content system for managing all of its client campaign assets. Now, the agency is able to:
- Review and approve a huge variety of assets, from digital ads to event advertisements and social media campaigns, in one place.
- Allow different teams to simultaneously markup and provide comments on assets in production, while using staged workflows to control the review process between teams.
- Use side-by-side comparison and versioning to ensure all teams are looking at the most current project file and changes.
- Use status updates on projects to indicate real-time progress of all client projects.
- Enable the creative and client services teams to access, review and approve assets even while outside of the agency’s headquarters.
Even with team members working remotely, there was an immediate increase in the internal collaboration among the agency’s different departments throughout campaign planning and launch when they started using online proofing said Angela Stiff, Partner, and Creative Director.
“Everyone is looking at the same proof version at the same time. We can do this remotely so when someone is out of the office, work continues to flow perfectly. It’s easy for everyone to see the stage the project is in and who’s court it’s in,” said Stiff.
Having simultaneous proofing tools on hand not only keeps multi-format campaigns flowing on a regular basis, but it also allows the entire firm to expedite output in times of rapid response instead of being buried under changing client requests.
“Without Ziflow right now, there is no way we could have produced as much work as quickly as we have (or as accurately),” said Stiff. “Our clients have desperately needed us – now more than ever to help them address messaging and communications surrounding COVID-19," said Angela Stiff, Partner and Creative Director.
Read full case study: Copperwing Agency Fosters Internal Collaboration for Multi-Format Design Campaigns
MRM Global Uses Google Translate on Proofs to Expand Premium Design Service in More Countries
MRM Global, a custom design agency that works with major beverage companies all over the world on event branding, spoke to us about how their 9-person design team juggle over 100 custom design orders and collaborates with clients (and clients’ partners) across many languages and time zones.
To support international client review—and expand their book of business in new regions—MRM needed to standardize its digital client review process. The solution? Using the Ziflow API to connect language extensions like Google Translate to all client design proofs.
With this integration, global clients can review and provide feedback in whatever language they prefer on design proofs, which:
- Translates all client comments on the Ziflow proof to English for the design team review and take action on.
- Eliminates the need and paperwork hassle of exporting/importing files to another system for markup and translation.
Furthermore, because the team’s design projects include a number of external collaborators associated with their clients, having one proofing environment allows the agency to also directly loop in clients’ partners into the brand review process without jumping over to email. With a cloud-based, mobile-friendly interface, MRM designers are able to:
- Provide guest reviewing so clients’ event partners can access design proofs for feedback and approval on branding use.
- Allow all stakeholders to work on one file and one record of changes regardless of where they are working or which language they use.
“It’s our belief that a successful proofing process can’t be achieved within companies and brands without an online tool. With remote working on the increase and teams spread among different locations, there is a real need to have a tool to convey clear and direct communication,” said Josh McDonald, Senior Designer.
Read the full case study: “How MRM Global Streamlined Custom Event Designs for Global Beverage Brands”
How a Skateboard Brand Uses Review Groups to Track International Licensing Approval for Multiple Brands
California-based NHS Fun Factory manufacturers some of the world’s best known skateboard brands, such as Santa Cruz Skateboards, Independent Trucks, Creature Skateboards, and more.
With so many brand families under its name, NHS had complex needs around remote, on-demand collaboration. Product design and brand use review involves not only the company's internal creative, brand management, marketing, and licensing teams, but also the many global partners that license each brand from the company.
Ensuring review happens among all these groups in a timely manner is imperative to helping partners launch co-branded products and campaigns on time and allow internal teams to update large product catalogs on an ongoing basis.
When product designs and assets come in from the company’s many different licensing partners for approval, the company uses automated workflows in Ziflow instead of email to manage its complex brand review process:
- Partners across countries and time zones can directly upload product mock-ups for approval at any time of the day.
- Notifications automatically inform NHS’ licensing department and apparel team about changes and feedback to proofs from partners.
- Submitted content is routed to the right creative directors, brand manager, and marketing director for the brand(s) being licensed for review.
- Visual markups enable all internal stakeholders from the right brand team to provide direct, clear feedback on brand and product use to the licensing partner.
By digitizing and centralizing the internal-external review process with its partners, NHS’ licensing team can not only better communicate approvals and changes to brand use, but internal teams can provide that feedback at any time, anywhere, even if they are not in the office.
“We have employees that work remotely, so they’re able to access this without actually having to be at headquarters,” said Trill Santin, NHS Licensing Coordinator. “Because we are managing a large volume of proofs every day, being able to send that reminder out to say, "Let’s get this moving along," has been super helpful."
Read the full case study: NHS Inc. Simplifies Global Licensing Review for Multiple Brand Families
Remote Work Doesn’t Need to Further Disrupt Creative Production
In many ways, brands and agencies are primed for remote collaboration: Almost any file format for campaigns can be created, shared, and reviewed digitally, and workflows can help direct the flow of content production inside and outside the organization even when face-to-face interaction is not possible.
Plus, the rise in remote working is here to stay. According to CareerMetis, almost 90% of employees have a desire to work from home.
Still, the marketing and advertising landscape is facing an uncertain trajectory in many industries. Brand teams and agencies that can adapt their creative production to fluctuating workloads, change course creatively in response to a turbulent market, and offer clients flexible, on-demand work processes will weather the storm best--and that means leaning on digital collaboration tools like online proofing.
Learn more about how online proofing can help accelerate marketing production while every is working home with a free 14-day trial of Ziflow.