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Scale Your Creative Content, Bridge the Content Gap

Brands today find it difficult to produce creative content on time and at scale. According to Forrester Consulting, 70% of marketers say they devote more time to content creation instead of doing what they prefer. But because of the ever-growing need of consumers, who are searching for more variety and relevance in the content they see online, marketers have no choice but to keep going.

A recent marketing survey conducted by Bynder shows:

  • 45% of marketers say that the standard creative process of producing individual assets one at a time is unsustainable, and that it poses a significant problem for their marketing team.
  • 55% believe that a series of related assets that only vary in minor, consistent ways from the original assets is often needed.
  • Most survey respondents agree that creative automation technologies can aid teams in localising content, streamlining the creative process, and making rapid adjustments to assets.

Unarguably, it is a well-known truth that the demand for creative content has gone up tremendously. Creative designers cannot keep up with the pace. And marketers seem incapable of meeting tight deadlines owing to the barriers that hold back producing content on a large scale while maintaining a consistent level of quality.

To curb the gap in creative content, brands need to adopt the technology that automates the production, management, and distribution of creatives at scale. And the answer to this growing creative content gap isn’t just producing content on time and at scale, but also managing content to reuse and repurpose to cater to the demand.

This blog probes the primary hindrances that creative teams encounter when meeting content demands, how to address these to liberate creatives, and help them in bridging the content gap.

Content Gap

As our markets continue to expand, our demands also grow exponentially. On top of that, not only are brands expected to meet those said demands, but to also stand out among all the other millions of businesses in their respective industries, with fresh and relevant content that adapts to the ever-changing trends of our world. With high expectations and limited resources, eventually content gaps are bound to arise. A content gap happens whenever there is a disconnect between the content the consumer wants and what the brand provides. This “space” must be filled by the brand to ensure consumer satisfaction, which in turn improves overall brand performance. A content gap may be classified into three categories:
  1. Speed: Outdated output because it does not match the rate needed for content distribution.
  2. Relevance: The content created is not aligned with the wants or needs of the consumers.
  3. Distribution: The channels used for content distribution are not where the clients are searching.
The rise of eCommerce and digital marketing during the pandemic has left consumers with limitless access and exposure to new markets and brands from all over the globe. This has made it even harder for creative teams to predict their behavior and preferences to produce something that will quench their insatiable thirst for more content. Now, the question for all of us creatives: Will we ever close that content gap, or will it inevitably just grow larger and larger?

Roadblocks Holding Back Design and Content Production

The reality of advertising today involves heightened consumer expectations, and a greater volume of quality content, which are too numerous for a single team to handle alone. This puts a great burden on traditional creative tools and processes, and tears open content gaps during production.

Which potential roadblocks should you be aware of?

Localised Content

As creatives no longer have to manually work on different versions of each asset for A/B testing, they have more time to measure the results, test and learn, and optimise campaign performance.

For the most part, having translated content for local markets is perceived as an easy win. However, it’s a common pitfall to be avoided.

Why?

Content designed for the home market of a specific industry may translate poorly for other markets. Often, it fails to take cultural context into account, and by falling short to addressing market-specific nuances, brands end up alienating regional audiences.

The point is not to steer clear of localised content, but to do it effectively and tailor it truly to their respective markets.

Efficiently tailored and localised content boosts awareness, and aids sales teams in the consideration and conversion of the customer. And how do you do it?

  • Localise strategically. This means localisation should be considered early in the content development stage. Content needed for campaigns or other purposes needs to be regionally nuanced, so localisation goes beyond translations – it takes cultural context into account.
  • Let local market themes shape messaging. Create content that focuses on hot topics and
    specific pain points in a specific region or country to appeal to the regional market.
  • Coordination between central and local marketing teams. A strategy that keeps everyone in the loop is important, but in the end, the success of the content lies in the quality of the execution. Closer cooperation between central and local marketing teams in every stage of content development is critical to effective localisation.

Embed localisation into the core of your content strategy.

Volume and Frequency in Creative Content Production

Whether its artwork, content, video production, or any other creative work, a specific number of assets are needed for marketing campaigns or for promotional work. Can your creative team meet the demand in short periods of time regularly and without compromising on content quality and the quality of work?

Furthermore, how much content is the proper amount of content? How often is too often for content production?

Producing too much or too little are two sides of the same coin, with both creating a gap in content creation, driving you away from your target audience and any goal you may have.

Too much content overwhelms your audience. A common misconception is that increasing content distribution frequency increases online visibility. However, this delivers adverse results. You end up taking attention away from what you want your customers to focus on, diluting any strong message you may have initially posted.

You’re better off posting less frequently and publishing thoughtful content for a greater impact, than sacrificing quality in favour of quantity.

On the other hand, posting too little content does not give your intended audience a reason to return – no reason for Google or visitors to pay attention simply because you’re not actively sharing valuable content.

So how do you close the gap between volume and frequency of content?

  • Always do a competitor research and analyse the industry you’ll be creating content for.
  • Be realistic about the volume of content the team can produce without an automation tool.
  • Develop a content calendar during the project or in day-to-day work to establish clear deadlines.
  • Target audience analytics establish a proper balance of volume and quality. This is a balance that can be achieved by testing against the overall objectives and measuring feedback relevant to the purpose.

And when it comes to meeting client demands, everyone is better off using the right tools to aid in the volume and frequency of design and content work.

Slow Processes Limit True Creativity

Creativity is all about turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Slow processes during creative content production throw wedges into content creation and execution. Production turns into a grueling affair, and content creators occupy their time going back-and-forth for approvals or manual adaptation of key visuals, when they could be using that time to create and conceptualise.

The need for producing quality content is undeniable, yet we can’t deny that among marketers, agility and speed is an asset in content production, especially during campaigns.

There are several things a team can do to speed up the process while letting creativity flourish:

  • Align content for the users: Quick content creation means crafting artwork or messages that work well for the intended audience. This tailored and narrow-focused approach reduces excess and encourages simplicity in customer engagement.
  • Involve content creators early: If your content creators aren’t part of the initial planning and strategy sessions, then they really should be. The earlier they begin in ideation, the earlier they can dismiss ideas that don’t fit in with the bigger picture.
  • Crowdsource for content ideas: True, not everyone is an effective content creator, but everyone can contribute to the end-product. Seek input from every department. This way, creatives can harness the mass knowledge base to ideate, create, and refine artwork more rapidly.
  • Establish an agreed-upon definition of “done”: This functions as your checklist to curtail unnecessary time spent on previous tasks. Once an artwork or piece of content has checked off every item on the list, it is considered complete.
  • Automation for adaptation: Technology is your best friend. Part of being a content creator is knowing when to use an automation tool to speed up the work and deliver quality content. Smart Templates take care of size adaptations and more, so content creators can focus on a handful of artworks instead of burning daylight on a hundred manual adaptations.

Sequential Workflows Create Bottlenecks

Pause and think back to the last time you delivered a project on time without any delays whatsoever. Pretty hard, isn’t it? While delays in content production can be caused by many factors like resources, unforeseen circumstances, etc., most of the time, we just overlook the fact that it may just be a content workflow bottleneck.

A process bottleneck is a stage in your workflow that gets more requests than it can process at its maximum capacity, creating an interruption in the whole operation and a domino effect delay on the next stages. Identifying bottlenecks and finding workarounds is essential if you want to prevent further problems and stay on track with your projects.

For content creators, bottlenecks usually occur with sequential workflows, processes that are too complex, with too many moving parts that rely heavily on one to finish before they can proceed to the next. It’s time-consuming, and as we’ve established, we don’t have the luxury of time. Luckily, there are some easy and surefire ways to address sequential workflow bottlenecks:

  • Streamline your process. Simplification can help in speeding things up and providing better visibility to projects.
  • Maximise tools. Technology is a beautiful thing. There are thousands of tools that can help you keep track of everything and stay on schedule.
  • Allocate more resources. Sometimes, all you need is some extra hands or software that may cost a few dollars. Don’t be afraid to invest in them.

In most cases, bottlenecks can be quite easy to fix but leaving them untreated can cost you more in the future. Learn to see the early signs of sequential bottlenecks and address them as soon as possible for a better creative process.

Unproductive Quest for Information

Information overload – we all know it, and we all have experienced it. In a world where information is literally in the palm of our hands with the advent of smartphones and the internet, it’s quite easy to be consumed by too many mundane and sometimes irrelevant pieces of data.

Being bombarded by information from the moment we wake up until we fall asleep makes our brain cluttered, making it harder for us to focus and get more important things done. Studies have shown that each person only has a limited amount of attention every day. Using this energy in time-consuming tasks like emails and distractions, or scrolling through Facebook, deplete our supply and eventually results in brain fatigue, leaving nothing left for creative thinking.

There is also a misconception that the more information you consume, the more creative you will be. While there may be instances where a brilliant idea pops up after you’ve watched a video or read an article, this isn’t always the case. Our brain can only process so much information in a day – filling it up with too much data that it can process can do more harm than good. Sometimes, all we need is to step back, relax, and let inspiration come to us.

The energy that we use for our creative process is the same energy that fuels our mundane tasks and information gathering. As creatives, we must know and discern what to do to effectively conserve our energy, so we can have more creative juices left to use to produce better outputs and more “eureka” moments.

The High Cost of Creative Content

The creative process is expensive from every angle. And to stand out amongst the rest of the competition doesn’t make it much easier. Not only is there the macro cost of failing to attract consumers, but there is also the cost of missed opportunities to invest in technology that could make the brand’s processes more differentiated or improve the consumer experience.

Allowing the creative asset management costs to spiral out of control restricts marketers’ ability given lesser available funds for other initiatives that might contribute to the brand’s success.

Stackla’s report on how much marketers spend on average for content per year reveals:

  • 22% of B2C marketers spend an average of over $1 million annually on content creation.
  • 42% spending over $500,000.
  • The report also found that more than half of respondents sourced visuals via marketing agencies (57%) or in-house photography (53%).

It turns out that having high costs means increased pressure to calculate ROI accurately, while also averting taking needless risks. A study from Kantar found marketers view the importance of their media mix as higher than that of creative quality, although a study on the drivers of profit found that creative quality is second only to brand size in terms of marketing effectiveness.

How to Address and Bridge the Content Gap?

Now is the time for brands to transform their creative process. And before all the changes, it is crucial to recognise which phases of content generation are genuinely creative — so marketers can appropriately manage assets and keep up with constantly changing technology. According to Bynder’s “State of Branding” report, over half of the respondents said they would be pleased to automate administrative tasks to address their company’s growing content demands. Transitioning to a creative automation strategy entails more than merely switching off obsolete systems and workflows. However, brands may swiftly and efficiently narrow and bridge the content gap by adopting the technology and processes behind creative automation. Here are the three key areas in which creative automation will successfully transform brands’ creative processes and ultimately close the content gap:
  • Reduce timelines. The capability to drastically reduce timelines is only achievable with the help of creative automation, from readily locating materials in a centralised asset database, to seamlessly moving them through the approvals process, utilising non-destructive workflow and allocated permissions.
  • Localisation at speed and scale. Asset reuse across platforms, formats, and even campaigns is vital for an agile, modern organisation. Marketers acknowledge that data, distribution, and even to a certain extent decision-making can be automated, but struggle with the thought of automating the Design aspect. Creatives can personalise, respond swiftly, yet having the space and time to craft compelling and original campaigns by using a more customisable, modular approach to producing content.
  • Efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The goal of successful creativity is to be a profit generator. However, brands find their creative processes wasteful and costly. Whether it is the time taken to locate assets, the duplications, or the usage of images whose rights have expired, brands that can centralise their assets through optimisation are significantly more likely to generate a higher ROI on creativity overall.

The Takeaways

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenge of overcoming creative gaps. By adopting creative automation to your creative assets, you can take back some of the lost time and freedom creatives lack, enabling them to put more focus, experience, and talent on what really matters.

Organisations must be ready and willing to delegate at least some creative power to a broader spectrum of employees. The responsibility must be shared. While creative automation is not completely responsible for producing quality creative executions, it does provide the organisation with proven cost savings and benefits.

As the volume of content that brands need to produce and deliver grows, the number of platforms continue to expand, resulting in consumer expectations to rise. It is essential that brands invest in their creative power to meet future demands. Taking the step now to strengthen creative output will later pay dividends down the road.

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