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The 5 trends creative teams cared most about in 2022

5 min read
Aaron Marquis

Creative teams have weathered several adaptions in the last few years. From transitioning the creative process to operate from work-from-home setups to pivoting to new multimedia formats, creative teams have proven over the last few years that a flexible creative process remains a resilient one. 

So, what's moving the needle now when it comes to creative production? How are brands and agencies thriving as we move into 2023? What strategies are creative teams using to not only produce great work, but also meet changing demands on workload, brand and client growth, and content types? 

As the sun sets on 2022, we're taking a look at the leading topics that creative teams found most useful in their quest for creative production improvements.

From elevating brand briefs to injecting automation into the creative process, these are the major trends in creative production that we've seen this year based on Ziflow’s top five most-read articles.

Diversifying creative assets has become a sweet science – and a necessity

Long gone are the days when a marketing campaign was regulated to just a fifteen-second TV spot or a pre-roll ad on Youtube. To truly penetrate a target audience and have great impact, a marketing team has to seemingly be everywhere all at once. This means one creative campaign has to span multiple channels and content types, often with multiple content iterations.

Because of this, the lift for creative teams is immense. The strain required to launch a campaign (not to mention reduced resources due to potential economic concerns) means choosing the right marketing campaign to serve as a base strategy is critical.

Far and away, our most popular article in 2022 was our piece outlining examples of different types of marketing campaigns. It's clear: creative teams are searching for strategies to leverage their creative content--and their content creation process--across new and varying channels. 

Read the article: 14 types of marketing campaign examples to inspire your next creative projects 

Integrated brand briefs are the new norm

A house builder shouldn’t break ground without blueprints, and a creative team shouldn’t create projects without a brand brief. Creating a brand brief or design brief is absolutely essential to solidifying the foundation for creative asset creation, design, marketing, internal company culture, customer engagement and more. 

At the minimum, a brand brief ensures everyone is on the same page regarding the brand, but more than that, it safeguards against brand inconsistency, which can erode trust.

This year, we’re seeing creative teams harnessing brand briefs directly in their process to tighten up their deliverables and keep projects focused. Creative, brand, and design briefs are no longer static documents created before project launch: they are continual, critical elements referenced throughout the creative process. Creative teams gravitated towards this article on how to produce and use a successful brand brief for any type of creative project.

Read the article: 10 key components to writing a successful brand brief

Creative teams have evolved past simple proofing to use creative workflow automation

Few things suck resources from the creative workflow like repetitive, manual tasks. Adding stakeholders and reviewers to the start of a creative project, nudging people to leave feedback, and other house-keeping tasks prevent creators from doing what they do best: producing great creative. Unnecessary, repetitive tasks also increase the likelihood of mistakes occurring during the creative workflow.

This is why creative teams are elevating their creative workflow beyond simple proofing tools and incorporating automation into their process. Automation means more time for innovation and project workload, which means higher quality creative assets and increased asset output.

In this popular article, we outlined 10 steps to tighten up your creative workflow and put metrics in place to measure the efficiency of the creative process.

Read the article: 10 steps to building a high-performing creative workflow

Creatives demand more sophisticated integrations with design software

In 2022, creatives are refusing to settle with hopping around different programs to manage asset creation and sharing. Design software has advanced for every media format, and content distribution continues to support modern, integrated marketing campaigns. Yet, creatives are still stuck using email or disconnected file sharing and communication platforms to share and get feedback on creative work.

As such, we’re seeing creative teams searching for the best ways to bring review and approval directly into their design software. Specifically, teams using video and rich media formats are using these integrations to bolster their production environment and reduce toggling between programs.

The popularity of our list of the top Adobe Illustrator plugins for designers marks a wider trend of creators looking for ways to further streamline and integrate their creative tech stack and create a more sophisticated, automated creative workflow. 

Read the article: 17 best Adobe Illustrator plugins for designers and agencies

Automating compliance oversight is the next frontier for creative teams

Brand and marketing compliance is something that digs into the ribs of creative teams during the creative process. That’s why creatives and their stakeholders are seeking ways to lockdown the compliance process and automate it organization-wide. 

A formalized compliance process eliminates distractions for the creative team, enables teams to comply with regulatory requirements for advertising and record keeping rules (such FDA CPR Part 11), and safeguards the brand. Plus, if creative assets are ever audited, an automated process ensures that a diligent and traceable process was followed throughout the creation of deliverables. 

In 2022, we've seen interest in automating the steps for brand and marketing compliance oversight grow--especially as creative teams take on more and varied work, use many systems to create and share assets, and move to automate their creative production process. Creative teams are now integrating compliance oversight directly into their creative workflow and on creative assets themselves.

It's no surprise that our article on compliance management software options struck a chord with creative teams.

In fact, we predict this will become a major area of growth for creative optimization through 2023 and beyond. Creative teams simply can't rely on email or manual oversight anymore to manage the volume of creative work that needs to be checked for regulatory and brand standards on an ongoing basis. 

Read the article: 5 compliance management software options for busy creative teams in 2022 (by use case)

That's a wrap on 2022! This year, key areas of interest around new content formats, creative workflow optimization, and new strategies for compliance management lead the pack in our most popular content. Creative teams continue to find ways to optimize the "hidden" work of creative production and feedback management, and we expect to see even more interest in automation in 2023.

Aaron Marquis