Embracing Creative Automation: How Design Teams Can Use Tech to Enhance Their Imagination

By Susan Linney

KEY TAKEAWAY

Though the term “creative automation” may seem like an oxymoron, it actually has nothing to do with using technology to generate creative ideas. Rather, it’s about leveraging tech tools to help creative professionals fully tap in to their talents and imagination.

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Creativity is a uniquely human quality and no matter how advanced artificial intelligence may become, technology will never be able to generate ideas informed by imagination. But what it can do is liberate humans from the tedious tasks that all too often stifle creativity, especially when it comes to the production of digital marketing creatives

That’s where creative automation comes into play, enabling designers to fully tap into their talents without being distracted by repetitive administrative and production work. Today’s most successful marketing teams are taking advantage of these tools to increase their creative capacity, scale their content production and ultimately boost campaign ROI.

Why Scaling Content Creation Is Crucial

Thanks to the emergence of automated ad tech like dynamic creative optimization (DCO), it’s become relatively simple to deliver highly targeted and engaging ad content to customers based on a wide variety of user-specific data, such as location, weather, device type and buying behavior. While this innovation has been a game changer for many marketing organizations, it means producing large volumes of creatives in multiple formats and styles. Businesses that cannot meet this demand are at an immediate competitive disadvantage, which really puts the pressure on their creative design teams to deliver.

The solution? Increasing the design team’s creative output capacity by automating the monotonous, manual tasks that drain their time and energy. These creative automation tools do not replace or supersede a designer’s creative work. Instead, they relieve creative professionals of the work that can be just as easily handled by a machine, such as image editing, design sharing, copy trafficking and asset management. With these lower-skill tasks taken care of, designers, copywriters and other creative professionals can fully focus their attention on developing the clever campaign ideas that only human beings can create. 

Creative Automation’s Big Benefits

While it’s arguably the most valuable advantage for design teams, creative automation does more than simply boost the output of creative content. It also helps optimize other aspects essential to a marketing organization’s success, including:

Minimizing Errors

Even the most talented and diligent employees make mistakes — it’s the nature of being human.
This is especially true when teams are tasked with producing a high volume of ad variations in a limited amount of time. Automating creative workflows and other manually performed creative tasks and processes significantly reduces this margin of error.

Improving Connectivity Among Teams

Automating workflows with project management tools like Trello, Smartsheet and Asana ensures that creative teams stay closely connected while minimizing time and energy wasted as a result of misinformation. Creative automation can also help streamline collaboration — even among people outside your team — by facilitating processes like feedback, revisions and approvals.

Keeping Content On-Brand

Maintaining brand consistency manually can be challenging when teams work remotely on large volumes of creative assets across multiple platforms and markets. In addition to improving team communication and connectivity, creative automation can help designers protect brand compliance by allowing them to monitor and control the usage of creative assets. For example, files can be locked and user-based permissions can be granted to ensure content is not improperly edited or altered.

Must-Have Creative Automation Tools

There’s no shortage of creative automation tools available and which ones work best will depend on the specific needs of each team. But it’s safe to say that in many areas, automation has become a must for marketing organizations hoping to boost their creative content production. 
 
When it comes to ensuring brand compliance, for example, tools like Templafy and Canva give creative teams the ability to manage and approve creative elements and upload templates for wider teams to utilize. 
For design sharing across teams, collaborative platforms like Invision and Piktochart make it easy for team members to review layouts and provide feedback on the latest versions of creative content. 
 
Software such as Filestage, GoVisually and Quickreviewer help organize and expedite the feedback and approval processes, while digital asset management systems like Wiredrive, Canto and Brandfolder give teams the ability to store, organize and distribute creative assets from one centralized location.

There are also easy-to-use tools to help teams maximize campaign performance by aggregating data on creatives across platforms, enabling creative production and optimization at scale. With Vidmob’s Creative Analytics, for example, teams receive deep, actionable insights in real time to help determine how specific creative elements such as how logos, text treatments, copy, and colors are impacting KPI.

In Summary

While creativity itself cannot be automated, creative automation can be used to streamline the digital design process and free creative professionals from grunt work. This allows them more brain bandwidth to produce the innovative and impactful design work that drives high-performing campaigns. Though the term “creative automation” may seem like an oxymoron, it actually has nothing to do with using technology to generate creative ideas. Rather, it’s about leveraging tech tools to help creative professionals fully tap in to their talents and imagination.

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