When it comes to producing great creative, your workflows will often involve the collaborative efforts of multiple stakeholders spread across multiple departments and, possibly, organizations.
There may be creatives, account teams, decision-makers, project managers, clients, and everyone in between.
Delivering a successful creative project requires that all the moving parts work in sync – with minimal friction.
A key challenge that is often ignored by many organizations is: How do you effectively gather feedback and approvals on creative content?
What Online Proofing Aims to Solve
If you aren’t using an online proofing solution, you are likely using a hodgepodge of different techniques to gather feedback and track approvals. These might include email threads, project management tools, spreadsheets, DAMs, and too many inefficient meetings.
The issue isn’t so much that these tools and methods aren’t good. We all use them. Email and Slack have their place in the communication stack. Project management tools are necessary for managing projects. And the occasional meeting has the potential to be productive (though increasingly, they seem to be getting banned).
The problem is that these tools were not purpose-built to address feedback and approval needs, especially within the creative workflow. This lack of features results in various time-wasting setbacks and challenges.
Here are the most common challenges faced in today’s creative workflow – and what online proofing aims to solve.
Coordination & Consolidation
With feedback coming in across a range of different tools, it can be challenging to properly consolidate it to ensure alignment. Think of what happens when you try to consolidate the feedback from a long email thread, a few tasks from a project management tool, and hand-written notes coming out of a meeting.
Bringing it all together, with a lack of consistent access, along with the improper migration of information, can easily lead to communication errors.
Timely & Accurate Feedback
Delays and ambiguous feedback inevitably happen when stakeholders don’t have the tools required to review and provide content-specific markups and comments. Using tools that are not designed for feedback can turn your project into a landmine.
Creative projects and campaigns will often involve many different content formats, such as images, videos, PDFs, and web content. Certainly, organization-wide, your proofing needs will span a wide range of content. Where these capabilities are lacking or not optimal, your approvers will be frustrated – as will the rest of the team.
Once feedback is collected, creators and editors must know precisely what revisions and actions are required. They should have a fast and easy way to follow up on any questions that arise during the revision process. That can be especially difficult with feedback that is siloed.
Creative content typically involves multiple iterations. Stakeholders should feel confident that they’re always accessing the most up-to-date version of any files they review.
They also need the capability to easily access prior versions. Tracked versioning allows them to readily see how revisions have been implemented without having to dig through countless conversations or folders.
Creative projects are prone to changes (and the dreaded feature creep). That’s just the nature of the beast. Out-of-scope revisions or modifications that produce delays or budget overruns lead to conflict and finger-pointing.
A consolidated history of all content-related activity and communications is a must. A clear history of tasks, assignments, and comments presents a clear and ongoing record of project activity to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.
On top of this, without good data and insight into how and where the bottlenecks in your projects occur, how can you take steps to improve efficiency over time?
Overcoming Creative Workflow Challenges With Online Proofing
With tools that weren’t purpose-built for proofing, it can be difficult for anyone to stay on top of “work to be done”, timelines, and responsibilities. If you are using disjunctive tools in a review and approval function, you will see delays, extra revisions, and weaker creative.
An online proofing software provides a specialized platform for managing the review and approval process during the development of any creative asset. The goal is to streamline the process by centralizing all the workflow content relating to feedback, tasks, revisions, and approvals throughout the project.
With online proofing, everyone involved in the project is on the same page eliminating any confusion around project deliverables and reducing friction among team members and clients.
To learn more about the value of an online proofing solution, check out our whitepaper on Online Proofing 101: A Better Approach to Creative Feedback.