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Creative Ops

How Dropbox hurts your marketing strategy (and how to break free)

April 13, 2022 · 10 min read

Still using Dropbox to organize your branding and campaign assets? 

Well, we have news. Your marketing strategy is suffering in silence, for one simple reason:

Wasted time.

You see, legacy cloud storage platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive just aren’t designed to handle the asset needs of today’s creative teams — especially at scale. These tools lack simple yet crucial functionalities and leave marketing teams spiraling down rabbit hole after rabbit hole. 

And as you know, to properly plan and execute an effective marketing strategy, nothing is more important than time. 

Speaking of time, here’s a little TL;DR:

  • Dropbox, Drive, and other legacy cloud storage platforms are wasting serious time for marketers and creatives — like, entire weeks out of your working year.

  • This time is going unnoticed because most companies just “grandfather in” Dropbox while vetting the rest of their MarTech stack for inefficiencies.

There are 3 major reasons why Dropbox sucks up so much time:

  1. Searching through folders manually for creative assets, relying on the memory of coworkers, or convoluted labeling practices to locate them.

  2. A lack of UX guardrails for asset approval, instead making you rely on spreadsheets and error-prone manual labeling practices.

  3. ACCESS DENIED — Relying on a “pass-fail” user limits system that requires messaging, vetting, and communication downtime.

  • The Air platform remedies these issues and streamlines creative operations for marketing scale with core features:

    •  Automated asset tagging and search.

    •  “Drag and drop” approval workflows.

    •  Tiered user access accounts.

  • Air is completely free to try. We even have a Dropbox integration that’s so simple your grandparents could use it. Import all your content in just a couple of clicks. 

How Dropbox and legacy cloud storage waste your team’s time

Dropbox and Drive have been around forever, so we won’t blame you for seeing them as necessities (at least, not yet). 

But, unlike the CMS, CRM, project management, and countless other platforms you vet with a fine-tooth comb, legacy cloud storage tools often sneak by unnoticed. For whatever reason, they’ve been grandfathered in, and this has a huge impact on the efficiency of your creative operations — the sourcing, organizing, approving, and sharing processes that define everyday marketing work. 

But you already know that. It’s why you’re here. 

Dropbox eats away at your team’s time, whether you’re searching for an asset in the abyss of a folder system, or just twiddling your thumbs waiting for file access. Hours lost every week turn to entire days every month, then  entire weeks in a year. 

Unless you have a Delorean, you’re not getting that time back. 

Here’s exactly how Dropbox drags you down.

You’re wasting time searching for visuals hidden in folders

Dropbox folders belong in the Smithsonian, not the workflows of a 21st-century company. 

You won’t win the marketing space race rolling with the organizational equivalent of the Wright Brothers’ first flyer — here’s why. 

We’re willing to bet the vast majority of your creative material lives in folders. To be more accurate, they live in folders within folders within those folders. Client folders. Department folders. Even *audibly shudders* miscellaneous folders.  It’s folders all the way down, folks. 

The biggest problem with folders on legacy cloud storage platforms is:

  1.  They rely on either institutional knowledge or convoluted labeling practices for retrieval.

  2.  Neither of these systems truly prioritize findability over storage, certainly not in a way that maximizes your creative ops efficiency. 

Let’s look at an example. 

Say you’re a marketing director working at a 40-person company selling home and kitchen goods direct-to-consumer. Your marketing and creative departments are in constant collaboration, generating and iterating on content promoting multiple brands, so they’re constantly storing, sorting, and searching for images in Dropbox folders. 

For the director, this isn’t a big issue. You have the historical knowledge and are comfortable with the file labeling system. But for new hires, freelancers, and anyone else lacking that info? Hours slip away manually sorting through the forest of folders. Or worse — you, the head of marketing, are called in to find specific files. Everybody loses: you, your team, and the company’s bottom line.

As a result, you might spend  hours each week slogging through Dropbox for a “cream-colored coffee mug,” or “navy blue basket.” Not exactly a great use of a head marketer’s time, but that’s the reality when you rely on legacy cloud storage. 

In fact, this was the exact reality for our clients at Pattern Brands.

Pattern has since streamlined creative ops for its marketing and creative departments by ditching Dropbox. They now browse their ever-growing store of 8,000+ assets with ease thanks to Air’s key functionalities. 

Easy, breezy, asset search with automated tags

Here’s how it works: 

Instead of manually searching through endless folders for that same cream-colored coffee mug or navy blue basket, the marketing team simply enters that exact phrase into the search bar and every content asset with those specific tags will pop up. Naturally, this is all automated.

Every uploaded asset is scanned by our AI and content-based keywords are applied automatically. Manual tagging is always an option, but as long as the image is clear, the AI has you covered. Your marketing team can now filter through terabytes of assets with ease. 

Without these critical Air features, Pattern’s creative team (and very likely yours) would essentially have to search their library manually, based only on one or two people’s memory and some post-it notes. 

As your business grows and you look to scale your marketing efforts, Dropbox sits on your back like a 40-pound weight. Sure, it’s not so bad, but over time it starts to weigh you down. Just the same with Dropbox — especially once you recognize that all these issues compound as your asset library grows.

You’re wasting time searching for approved visual assets

Imagine hiring an employee whose only function is literally just handling asset approvals and their tracking spreadsheets. They don’t help create, manage, or update these spreadsheets. They won’t even get up and bring them to you. They just sit there quietly collecting a paycheck. 

That’s Dropbox for you. Not a team player.

In other words, legacy cloud storage is completely useless for asset approval workflows and downstream handling.

Here’s what the post-approval part of the process looks like in Dropbox: 

You push assets through approval, after which they drop into the cold clutches of cloud storage. If you’re lucky, someone labels the asset file “approved” before it gets caught up in a whirlwind of comms channels and makes its way to your marketing team.

Unfortunately, you and your team have likely run into one or more of the common errors below: 

  • The team forgets to change the asset’s tag status as it moves through approvals.

  • Tagging methods, despite your best efforts, lack uniformity across your team.

  • The team simply forgets to add an “approved” tag. Period.

This happens because Dropbox lacks the UX guardrails to guarantee that assets move through each and every stage of the approval process properly. Are you constantly fielding questions from your team to clarify approval status? Or manually sorting through folders to verify or remove ads with unapproved assets? Your cloud storage system is to blame! 

Once again, these seemingly tiny issues compound over time, reaching a critical mass where your talented, highly capable marketing and creative teams are sucked into an administrative black hole. 

Air exists to remove these issues — not only to outsource tedious, manual tasks, but to kick their redundant butts to the curb. 

Our workflow and collaboration features centralize the entire process of visual asset approval, so your entire department (and any other stakeholders) are always aware of an asset’s status. No more switching tabs between tweedle Drive and tweedle Dropbox for your approval spreadsheets.

Ditch Drive for drag and drop asset approval workflows

Here’s what your new streamlined process will look like: 

  1. Your creative team works on assets stored within the platform. 

  2. Feedback is given directly on the asset,  pinned to specific areas within a single image or an exact frame in a video.

  3. Team members can now drag and drop the new asset into each step of the workflow as it progresses.

Voila: a single source of truth for each and every asset. More accurately, for your entire, ever-scaling asset library.

No more status update emails. No more waiting for coworkers to Slack you back. No more warrants out for unapproved ads. You’re reading it right. These hours, once lost in the depths of your Dropbox folders, are yours once again. Now you’re free to actually work on projects. What a concept!

You’re wasting time waiting for access to visual assets

Picture this: 

You’re working on a big ad campaign. Real big. But you’re having trouble moving past the ideation stage.

Then — AHA! — you’re hit with an amazing idea. You remember there’s this folder with the perfect creative asset inside. So you hunt through a labyrinth of Dropbox folders like Indiana Jones searching for the Lost Ark.

Against all odds, you find this folder. Your heart is racing because you know this is what you’ve been waiting for. You click on the folder. 

And you’re hit with this:

Life as you know it is over. 

The reality of cloud storage — whether it’s a legacy product like Dropbox or even Air, let’s be clear — is that user limits are a necessary evil. Complete open access is a recipe for disaster, leading to asset anarchy. You know this to be true. 

The problem is, Dropbox, Drive, and their ilk rely on an archaic, manual system, creating unnecessary bottlenecks. Every request for access or inquiry about an asset’s location adds downtime for correspondence and review. That’s valuable time down the drain. Death by a thousand access requests.

It’s difficult enough to navigate this clunky process internally — now throw freelancers into the mix. 

Tiered user access systems keep everyone happy

“Pass-fail” systems are for summer school. With Air’s self-service packages, you and your team contextualize user access with tiered systems. You know best how safe access works at your company, so why let Dropbox pressure you into this weird game of whack-a-user?

Yeah, we still have user limits. But we’re breaking down the most common barriers to efficient creative ops with the introduction of member and guest accounts:

Members: Those who are fully added to your workspace are classified in admin, editor, and commenter categories. Each of these subclassifications offers a different level of access in terms of workspace permissions, billing information, and the ability to edit creative assets. 

Guests: Enterprise and Pro plan users have the ability to grant access just to specific boards within workspaces. With this feature, you no longer need to worry about freelancers or non-marketers having carte-blanche to all your assets. 

For marketing teams working with a constantly changing constellation of freelancers, this ability to focus access is invaluable. 

But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s Andrew Peet, Creative Director at Candid, describing how Air’s access model creates smooth, secure spaces for partner collaboration: 

“One thing I really like about Air is the ability to create walled-off areas for our partners. We have boards on Air titled “Candid x whichever partner.” Each one enables our partners to easily come in and grab style guides, fonts, assets, stuff like that.”

User limits don’t have to limit the creative potential of your teams — we’ll leave that to Dropbox.

Break free from dilly-dallying Dropbox

At this point, you’re probably not feeling so “nice and cozy” about your cloud storage. Good. Because even though there are BILLIONS of apps in the world, companies don’t take enough chances on process improvement. 

We’re all creatures of habit, even — especially — at the organizational level. It’s easy to ignore little problems with Dropbox and other legacy cloud storage platforms. It’s easy to tell yourself “this isn’t that bad” as you sentence another asset file to Dropbox obscurity. 

And even when we do realize the issues, there’s that nagging worry — what if switching tools just creates more problems?

We get it. 

But you need to get this: Air is different.

We want you to feel the awe of bypassing that labyrinth of Dropbox folders with searchable asset tags. To feel the relief of knowing that all your ad creative is approved before you launch a campaign. To feel secure about collaborating with partners using contextual user access. 

We want you to feel what it’s like unlocking a new level of creative ops efficiency. 

You and your team can start a free Air account any time and see what your asset library really looks like with all those dusty folders opened up. 

Air even has a Dropbox integration to ensure a seamless transition away from legacy cloud storage. You don’t need a computer science degree or team of developers. Anyone can figure it out it. Go on, we dare you. 

You only have so many hours in the working day. Why let Dropbox eat away at your most precious resource? Free up those hours with Air so you can get back to building and marketing your brand. 

Want to skip the free account and get your team on Air ASAP? Talk to our sales team.

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