Telling the creative story with data (plus metrics to get you started!)

Image with the text: How creative leaders can leverage key metrics to manage up, down and sideways.

When most people think about creativity and data, they think of these two concepts as being in opposition to each other. We’ve long been taught that just as a person is either right-handed or left-handed, they are either right-brained (creative) or left-brained (analytical). Even though that myth has been debunked, there is persistence in the idea that a person must be one or the other.

This probably explains why, according to the 2020 In-House Creative Management Report, 42 percent of creative teams do not have robust reporting on creative production. Reporting is important for creative teams to tell their story, showcase their value, build relationships with business leaders, and optimize the function of their creative teams. By embracing data and metrics, creatives can transform into analytical creatives and drive success as strategic partners to their organizations.

Fortunately, there are some awesome analytical creative teams leading by example and leveraging data and metrics to tell their story and build strategic partnerships with their organization. On October 20, at Adobe MAX 2020, Cherise Oleson, senior creative director at Franklin Energy, along with Brittany Pais, director of customer experience at inMotionNow, will share how Oleson led her team on a data revolution using metrics to manage up, down, and sideways.

Oleson generates reports on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to help manage her creative team, collaborate more effectively with stakeholders and clients, and show the value her team delivers for the organization to leadership. During the session, Oleson will also share six metrics that every creative team should report on.

A graphic showing a variety of metrics.

Three metrics to get you started

  1. Total Projects Currently in Process. Take this metric one step further by including statuses. This will give stakeholders more insight into the work that goes into a project before it is completed.
  2. Total Projects Completed YTD. Include project types to show how many are standard, planned projects as opposed to rush and fast-track projects. This provides additional context to leadership should you need to push back on the number of rush projects or deadlines.
  3. Top 10 Highest Rounds of Review YTD. This is one top 10 list you don’t want to be on! Transparency is key, and while it is great to show successes, it is also important to highlight where improvements can be made. Tracking projects that are taking multiple rounds of review allows the team to dig in and find ways to optimize their process to reduce the number of reviews needed to finalize work.

Tell the creative story

Being an analytical creative is not just about the numbers. It’s about telling a story. Data and metrics give creative teams the ability to tell the story in the language that their organizations will understand. Creative teams should approach data and metrics the same way they would approach any creative storytelling endeavor.

  1. Share the data. Collecting the data is only the first step in telling your story. As Oleson will share in the Adobe MAX session, she is thoughtful in her approach to preparing reports and visualizations that are customized to appeal to her different audiences. Whether she’s working with her direct reports, collaborating with other departments, or presenting to upper management, she takes the time to understand what they are interested in, and presents the data in a compelling way.

A graphic showing an example of "telling the story".

  1. Show your work. Creative work is tangible and visually compelling. Don’t think that just because you’re using data to tell your story that you can’t include visuals. Talking about how many projects your team did over the last quarter is even more impactful when you can showcase what some of those projects were. Showing examples of your work makes abstract, aggregate numbers more concrete.
  2. Tie the data back to organizational objectives. Analytical creatives understand how the work they are doing connects back to organizational objectives and are able to demonstrate their contribution with data. Show which stakeholders, departments, or initiatives the team has done work for. Emphasize that faster turnaround times on creative work mean quicker ROI for the campaigns they support. Use data to draw a straight line from your creative work to organizational outcomes.

Take the first step today

The path to becoming a data-driven creative team that can tell effective, compelling stories about the ways their team contributes to organizational goals happens one step at a time. Here are three steps to get you started right away:

  1. Find inspiration. Register for the virtual Adobe MAX 2020 and add to your schedule Oleson’s session, How Creative Leaders Can Leverage Key Metrics to Manage Up, Down, & Sideways on Tuesday, October 20 at 1:30 p.m. PT to be inspired by how Oleson’s team leverages data to build relationships with their organizational leadership.
  2. Identify the questions. Every creative team has their own unique story to tell. Start by asking your creative team, internal partners, stakeholders, and organizational leadership what questions they have about the creative team’s work. Once you know what questions to ask you can…
  3. Start collecting data. Review the systems your team currently uses to see if you are collecting all the data you need to answer the questions. If not, start brainstorming how you can collect that data moving forward. A single, end-to-end creative workflow management platform with an integrated reporting suite, like inMotion ignite, automatically collects comprehensive data about your creative workflow and makes it easy to build and share reports.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your creative comfort zone and embrace your analytical side! Take your first steps by registering to virtually attend Adobe MAX 2020!