Table of contents
Creative Ops

How to keep track of asset approvals without a spreadsheet

February 17, 2022 · 3 min read

First, give up that raggedy spreadsheet

Does your visual asset editing and approvals workflow live in a file that looks like this?

Be honest with yourself: This does not spark joy.

Ask yourself: what’s the purpose of a spreadsheet like this? To keep you and your colleagues informed on what you can and cannot publish on which channels, of course. It’s an attempt at maintaining a single source of truth, but it’s not ideal.

The work marketers do around creative assets tends to be all over the place. I mean, this is a Google Sheet referencing photos that live in Dropbox. You’re probably checking in with your coworkers to confirm approval status in a separate Slack channel. Final, final drafts might live only on your designer’s hard drive and as email attachments. Too many tools. You have a headache.

Here’s an idea — center this work on the assets themselves

“Pro tip:” you can achieve all those functions — storage, tracking, and communication — in one tool, with less effort. Air centers workflows on the assets themselves — you can actually see the asset when you’re editing metadata, instead of flip-flopping between tabs. Stop worrying about who has Dropbox or Sheets permissions.

It boils down to this: you need to quickly understand every piece of operational information relevant to a given visual asset, so you know what your next steps are. You need a single source of truth. Air’s Creative Ops System is exactly that.

Custom fields, because your workflow is...special

Custom fields let you expose all relevant information within your asset library, without having to open up a spreadsheet and cross-reference. You’re able to set permissions around who can change custom fields, so only the folks involved in a workflow have the option. Everyone else in your workspace will still be able to see the fields, just not change them.

You can create and assign as many custom field as your heart (workflow) desires.

Spreadsheet cells are a drag, so just drag-and-drop your content

Any single-select custom field becomes a kanban board with a single click. The selectable options become kanban column headers. For example: an Approval status custom field becomes a kanban board with columns Unapproved, Approved (internal), Approved (external), and Denied.

Say you’re a Digital Marketing Manager at a CPG brand, processing the results of a photoshoot in collaboration with another CPG brand. You’re working with both your internal Brand team and your counterparts at the other company to approve the images for use on your various paid and owned channels.

Simply make sure all the relevant assets are in the correct board, switch it to kanban view, save the view, and send the link to your Brand team. All they need to do is drag assets into the Approved (internal) or Denied columns. You’ll get notifications as this happens.

Once your internal team is done, create a share link or invite your external partners as guests, have them process everything, and voila, you’re done.

Now That’s What I Call Music! I mean, Creative Ops

This workflow isn’t new to you, exactly. You’ve been doing it for years using a cobbled-together set of tools. It’s manual, miserable work — probably not your favorite part of your job. Turns out there’s a name for this type of work: Creative Ops. If you use the right tools and processes, the work becomes painless.

It’s not as big a leap as you might think. On Air, you can view a board as a gallery, table, or kanban. So if you really do love your spreadsheets, table view is only a click away. Except now everything is in one place, with your beautiful creative assets at the center.

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