If everyone’s talking about it, you can bet that Vox Media started the conversation. Hundreds of millions of people tune into the independent media company’s content across streaming platforms, podcasts, websites, and social platforms. With popular editorial brands such as New York Magazine and The Verge, Vox Media truly is an industry leader.
Its branded content studio, Vox Creative, partners with advertisers to tell their powerful stories—and clients include dozens of Fortune 500 brands and organizations.
Corri Skinner, Executive Director for Client Success, runs the studio’s creative operations team as they manage projects end to end, from strategy to production to distribution. She’s responsible for client experience, ensuring high levels of trust and quality, while keeping everything running on time. There can be up to 70 campaigns and 100+ content pieces in flight simultaneously, so Corri’s team manages the flow of information and processes, helping the studio’s 70 teammates do what they do best: creative work.
But before Vox Creative began using Asana, information wasn’t flowing so smoothly. Too many requests for proposals (RFPs) were happening at once, and pitch deadlines were tight. Corri’s team was up against:
Corri’s team needed a work management platform that could help them manage RFPs and execute seamlessly on campaigns.
“Our communication was the Wild West, with email, hallway conversation, Salesforce, and Slack. As our company and team grew, there was no way we could continue without a centralized system to track everything.”
- Corri Skinner, Executive Director, Client Success, Vox Media
The team needed a flexible tool to handle their entire workflow, from RFP to distribution and reporting. And it had to work across all Vox Media revenue teams so projects could be centralized. Existing work management tools were neither user-friendly nor comprehensive enough to encompass all steps in their process.
Corri and her team evaluated multiple tools and found Asana to be the easiest to use. They especially liked how Asana could show campaigns in different views, and the ability to add tasks to multiple projects.
Asana was slowly rolled out, starting with the creative strategy team and then followed by the rest of the production team. More teams gradually came on board until everyone had adopted Asana.
People are most comfortable using their native tools, so Corri based the rollout on that principle. For example, the sales team was happiest working in Salesforce, so Corri connected it to Asana through the Tray.io integration. Salesforce triggers tasks and updates within Asana for the Vox Creative team, but the sales team doesn’t need to go into Asana unless they need to follow up on an item.
Corri also led tailored training that contextualized a team’s work in Asana, such as its ability to add tasks to multiple projects. This way, people only see the information they need. For example, the legal team doesn’t have to sift through all the production tasks in a Ben & Jerry’s campaign to see their legal tasks—Corri created a board that consolidates them all in one place.
The rollout also included a “tips and tricks” document with best practices and shortcuts, while the creative operations team were able to ping people directly in tasks’ comments, clarifying who was responsible.
“I think one of the true signs of successful adoption is that teams constantly come to me and say, ‘Hey, I see that everybody's using Asana. How do I get on? How can I set it up to make it work with my team?’”
Today, over three years later, Vox Creative continues to manage its campaign RFP and execution in Asana. With a series of flexible features and integrations, they’ve developed frictionless workflows.
For example, when sales creates an Opportunity in Salesforce, a new project kicks off in Asana via the Tray.io integration. This is where teams manage the creative strategy, media plan, pitch deck, and research. When the Opportunity reaches 75% to close, Salesforce triggers an Asana notification for Corri’s team, to give them a head start on staffing the project. It also pings a Slack channel through the Asana for Slack integration to ensure all stakeholders are aware of the Opportunity.
Once they win the deal and the Opportunity hits 100% in Salesforce, a new set of tasks automatically populate the Asana project and the Vox Creative team can hit the ground running. They assign out tasks for each team in the campaign project, and all of the background information from the RFP is right in Asana. As clients give feedback on project work, they use the Asana for Gmail integration to add the client’s feedback as a comment on the right Asana task.
It’s much easier now for Vox Creative to reference pitches for partnerships that didn’t work out and update them for a new client. Or, they can expand on past successful projects for the same client, as they did with 3M’s campaign “Science, Explained”—the whole history of the project was easy to access, including tasks for each video asset. So when 3M asked them to develop another round using the same concept, it was simple to make new additions to the campaign.
The team uses templates to kick off every new campaign, making it faster to get started. They’ve iterated on their workflows over the years and constantly improve their templates to match, always highlighting the 10 most important things everyone needs to know about a campaign so people can jump on a project quickly.
“I can just go in and edit a template in five seconds, and it easily carries over to every project that’s cloned moving forward.”
Even though Vox Media is working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic—and are busier than ever—they never miss deadlines thanks to better communication and an easy handoff between the sales and creative teams. Tracking everything in Asana ensures all teams work from the same information. Critical project details are clear upfront, and sales and production cycles are more efficient.
Other teams have seen how successful Corri’s team has been with Asana and they’ve come to her for help in adopting Asana for themselves. According to the Anatomy of Work: Remote Teams Survey, when remote working protocols came into effect, nearly two-thirds (62%) of full-time knowledge workers increased their use of collaboration tools.
“We got to a point where we all talk in Asana language. We’re saying, ‘Did you check out the task?’ and ‘Did you ping this person in the comments?’”
Looking forward, the team is eager to tackle projects around Vox’s flourishing podcast business. They’ve recently created their first branded podcast with Ben & Jerry's, which unpacks the history of systemic racism in America. Projects like these blend passion with important work, and Asana helps keep them moving forward. Now that’s something worth talking about.
“Asana made a major impact on Vox Creative. I don't know how we would do it if it weren't all in a centralized place. We wouldn't have gotten to this place in our business without it, quite honestly.”
Using Asana wall-to-wall has been crucial in helping Hack Reactor scale. As Hack Reactor CEO Tony Phillips puts it, ”We’ve cut our operations costs in half because we’re able to execute more efficiently with the processes we’ve set up in Asana.“ And as costs go down, the quality class experience—and the post graduation experience— goes up. Graduates from Hack Reactor are hired at a 98% rate.