Why We’ve Shifted to a Creative Operations Focus at Team DSB

Over time, we’ve found that your digital strategy is only as effective as your ability to build infrastructure and process around content creation and storytelling. In previous iterations of Team DSB, we were closer to a traditional creative agency than how we see ourselves now: as a creative operations agency.

As creative architects.

Our clients – in most cases – aren’t best served by us living in the weeds of their content creation, asset creation, and creative development. Instead, when we bring our collective experience to the table in a consultative capacity, it’s easier to serve these needs. We aim to set the table so our clients can tell their stories with power and confidence.

More on that shortly.

First, let’s look at the core differences between a creative agency and a creative operations agency.

How Creative Agencies and Creative Operations Agencies Are Different

Creative agencies focus on assets and execution. Companies hire them to take some of the stress off – and the weight – from creating content, campaigns, and other assets which tell the company’s story and help them earn greater attention in the market.

Where Creative Agencies Focus 

There are five primary areas where most creative agencies do their work:

  1. Strategy – Agencies help clients plan and implement various strategic initiatives related to their messaging and marketing.
  2. Audience Research – To construct strategies, agencies conduct deep market research to understand consumer behavior, competition, and the unique quirks of their clients’ industries to build a process that takes the best advantage of the opportunities presented.
  3. Omnichannel Promotions – Content and campaign production management for different mediums, including print, radio, social media, TV, websites, etc.
  4. Return on Investment Measurement – Agencies are always measuring whether their efforts are leading to a direct return on investment for their clients, and if not, tweaking tactics and strategies to ensure they are.
  5. Client Acquisition – You could move this to No. 1 on the list. Everything creative agencies make points toward winning more interest from potential clients for their clients and helping them bring new business on board.

Creative agencies are good at what they should be good at — strategy and execution. However, sometimes they struggle if their clients perform some of the execution of content and campaigns, and the two parties are trying to work collaboratively toward a common goal.

Why are there struggles? Because infrastructure, systems, and processes that help facilitate collaborative work aren’t strong enough if they are in place or nonexistent.

Where Creative Operations Agencies Focus 

There are five primary areas where creative operations agencies do their work:

  1. Project Management – Overseeing the lifecycle of creative projects from concept and iteration to implementation.
  2. Cross-Functional Coordination – Acting as a bridge between different departments within a marketing or creative department to foster more communication and collaboration to decrease the “silo effect.”
  3. Efficiency and Productivity – This one applies best to what we do at Team DSB – focus on the efficiency and productivity of the creative process for clients, including workflow development, project management implementation, and streamlining processes that help with the creative flow.
  4. Quality Control – Maintaining the quality and consistency of our client’s creative output, ensuring everything they produce meets the agreed-upon brand standards, etc.
  5. Relationship Management – Working with our client’s partners and vendors to ensure solid relationships stay intact and with any partners/vendors we need to contract to put our clients on the right track.

How Creative Operations Agencies Like Team DSB Help Talented Creators Get “Unstuck”

As a communicator, it’s easy to feel like you’re working in a vacuum. You may be working with limited resources and trying to get content created and distributed in a limited amount of time and with a limited amount of money. 

Or you may have the resources and time to create, but the core of your strategy has been to throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks. Having no strategy is your strategy.

Hey, we get it. It’s not always easy to see how to build a strategic framework when you’re in the weeds of telling your story – especially when it’s something you’re passionate about. The best thing for these situations is an outside perspective to help you see what you may be missing in strategic execution and what opportunities are there for you.

I’m willing to bet in these scenarios that you feel like you don’t have much more to give. Frustration’s starting to set in, and you’re wondering what’s next and how in the world you get unstuck. 

We were you. And still are you. We understand what it’s like to have to constantly be trying to make a lot out of a little, and over time have perfected some systems and resources to make sure you’re optimizing every bit of intellectual and financial capital that you have available to do great work that makes an impact.

When you’re feeling stuck and unsure where to head next, it seems like an endless, unbreakable cycle. Our job is to help you break that cycle.

Here’s how we do it.

Our Goal is to Build Thought Partnerships With Our Clients

Many agency/client relationships are transactional. For example, a client comes to an agency with a need and gives the agency the autonomy and free reign to execute that need. There isn’t a lot of collaboration involved. Well, maybe at first, to get things rolling, but once they are, the relationship is more about transactions than collaborations. 

Directives sound something like this:

“Here’s a piece of content that needs to get done – get it done.”

“I don’t want to know the details. Just do it.”

This transactional relationship can sometimes be effective, but it’s not our style.

We think of our relationships with clients as thought partnerships. 

We are here as a creative operations partner for our clients, so we can work together to do a few specific things:

  • Build a content framework that mirrors your resources and needs to make consistent, high-quality content production easier.
  • Understand the current role of content creation and storytelling in your business and the role it could play with this new strategic framework.
  • Develop your current sources of revenue, or explore other revenue opportunities you may be missing.

When we’ve established the storytelling framework, it’ll be easier for you to create consistently. We’ll always be close by to help you manage projects or provide feedback on where there may be bottlenecks as you start to scale or where there are opportunities to double down and lean in further on your strengths to better amplify the stories you were meant to tell.

With our creative operations model – acting as creative architects – we can support as many individual storytellers and non-profits as possible. There’s so much creative talent in our world that should be focusing their energy on revolutionizing their industry to change the world, and a framework makes that easier.

Simply put: great creative storytelling doesn’t make it out into the world without the right creative support.

We’re here to bridge the gap.

To learn more about how we help multicultural storytellers tell stories that change the world, check this out.

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