A modern buzzword, creative automation has as many admirers as it has critics. The biggest challenge it faces is that most people either don’t know what it is or don’t fully understand what it can do. This is why we’ll be debunking a couple of the bigger misconceptions around it.
Can we say people that are creative are under a lot of pressure? I think yes! They must constantly come up with fresh ideas, put them in a structure and meet deadlines. That can be frustrating. As a result, marketers and content producers require more tools to assist them to improve their work, particularly the repetitive chores they always have to complete. In this case, creative automation helps a lot.
What is creative automation?
Creative automation, design automation, design rationalization, or any other term used. All comes down to the same principle: Using the technology to make content production more efficient and create marketing assets faster and in larger quantities.
But it’s not just one thing, but rather a combination of multiple aspects of a design process. The longer answer is, that you rationalize design and combine it with optimized data, and then the content is ready!
You creatively think about how you can optimize the design process and create multiple assets and materials at once, rather than one at a time thanks to the application of your predefined design principles. Reducing the administrative work involved in content development gives more time to the creative workers to concentrate on higher-valued creative work.
The big misconception
The creative industry is still hesitant about the whole concept because many believe it could replace the creative process, choke creativity, or steal jobs away from creatives and designers.
But creatives are under immense pressure now more than ever to come up with new cool concepts and design them while staying within the budget and timeline. In this case, creative automation technologies attempt to support creative people by taking care of the more repetitive, unskilled components of creative creation such as developing variations of digital ads for localization or other channels rather than replacing their labor.
It works like a catalyst: Creating a new type of job and a new skill set while enabling the design team to create more assets in less time. This way, designers can spend more time on creative problem-solving and conceptual work instead of creating simple recurrent brand material that is repetitive.
How to use creative automation
Anyone involved with marketing activities can use and benefit from creative automation. Whether it’s the in-house design studio, the marketing team, a freelance designer, or a creative agency. Only the way of using it will change for each user group.
In the past, each design and design update had to be done by a designer and go through a whole creative process from briefing and wireframes to endless review cycles before delivering a final version for marketing use.
This took tons of time, which the marketing and sales often didn’t have. The obvious solution was to hire more designers and creatives to work on the different marketing collateral simultaneously, but this makes your costs skyrocket, taking away business efficiency.
Creative automation is the perfect tool to solve this issue. With design automation, designers create smart templates that automatically follow the brand guidelines, by using data intelligence and putting constraints on the parts of the design that are fixed, while leaving things like copy open to be edited. In principle, creatives create the initial concept and a master document that other employees can use to create their own different versions of a certain document while staying on-brand thanks to the data intelligence and specific constraints.
Creative automation does require a shift in skillset and tools used for creatives, as they will need to be able to think more in if-then scenarios when designing the master document, to anticipate the changes the end-user will need or want to make to the document. The design part is also not (yet?) available in the classic design tools like Creative Cloud, so they also need to learn how to use these new tools.
Despite the initial learning curve, creatives with design automation skills will be future-proof to scale their design work, focus on the actual creative process of concept ideation, rather than the mundane repetitive tasks, and will have a more important and more strategic role within the marketing industry.
The type of designs that can be created are endless, but here’s an idea of what we’ve seen creative automation be used for so far:
- product packaging
- business cards
- sales catalog
- email campaigns
- birthday cards and other important days for employees or the company
- surveys and feedback
- product updates and launches
- social media posts...
1. Skip the briefing
Most of the briefing elements are already embedded in the smart template that has been set up by your creative team now. So, all you need to do is read the simple briefing document that covers the more practical stuff and start creating assets.
2. Time-saving while designing at scale
Your time is limited and the demand is high. Designing at scale is not easy but with creative automation, you can create hundreds or even thousands of documents with just one click. Clicks and minutes instead of long calls and days under pressure. Sounds good, right? So, why not create many digital assets in a short time that are on brand?
You’ll be ahead of your competitor by creating many on-brand digital assets and attracting your audience.
3. A focus on real creativity
Non-designers can use smart templates to create simple brand assets whether it’s for print, digital, or other ads without having to worry about the hard parts like technical limitations or guidelines. This means designers no longer need to spend time on making simple brand assets. Instead, they can focus on the time-consuming implementation of their design system and create the visual identity of the organization. Also, they can spend this time on more creative actual design work rather than operational nitty-gritty.
4. A safeguard for creative output
Smart templates embed and enforce brand guidelines. They don’t have to worry about people not following their brand guidelines so their designs can always shine without them having to double-check every single document that gets created. So, you can eliminate the errors due to time pressure and limited resources.
Based on your organization, you can cut down the unnecessary costs that you might have related to your assets. For example, from production costs to other extra tools.
An example from our partner CHILI Publisher
Google Display Ads Creation
“Let's say you want to promote a new water bottle in 3 product types (plastic, glass, and aluminum) in 14 sizes, 5 languages, 4 ad variations. That adds up to a whopping 840 unique ads. Consider the time your designer would spend on this. You get how this type of manual creative adaptation doesn’t efficiently scale.
And let’s not forget the big chunk of time that is spent working with various stakeholders, fielding their requests, and producing collateral and digital content to meet those specifications.”
So whether you’re a fan of the new buzzword in the brand management and MarTech industry, there’s no denying that ‘creative automation’ is something to keep an eye on if you want to truly get the most out of your brand. It can be to lighten the load on your creatives and let them focus on what matters or to increase the efficiency of Marcom activities.
In short, more time and resources are saved by just using a creative automation tool to follow up on the demands of your audience as well as eliminate possible mistakes.
Kadanza and CHILI Publisher
With the integration of the CHILI publisher creative automation tool into Kadanza, you can easily create many on-brand assets within a short period by:
- “Ensuring brand integrity and consistency across multichannel,
- Scaling your graphic production,
- Providing self-service access for everyone in the organization,
- Freeing up time for creative ideation,
- Speeding up your time to market in general,
- And basically scaling your entire operability.”