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What is creative production? The 6-step process

Whitney Vige headshotWhitney Vige
January 29th, 2024
6 min read
Banner image for an article on creative production. Shows a woman and a man in an office setting working together to turn creative ideas into reality.
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Creative production is the process of transforming creative concepts into tangible outputs. Learn how to bring creative visions to life in six steps.

Cutting through the market noise with high-quality creative assets is essential to setting your brand apart. Whether it’s captivating video content, compelling graphics, or innovative digital campaigns, every creative asset is a chance to capture your audience’s attention—and keep it. 

That’s where the creative production process comes in. From initial brainstorming to final asset delivery, creative production is the framework that guides your team through the complexities of bringing creative visions to life. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the six steps of the creative production process—and show you how to master them.

What is creative production?

Creative production is the process of developing creative concepts into tangible outputs, like advertisements, digital content, or brand materials. Through creative production, companies can transform ideas into compelling visual and storytelling assets that engage and resonate with their audience. 

Why is creative production important?

Creative production plays a pivotal role in shaping a brand’s identity and market presence. By developing and launching consistent, engaging creative assets, companies can enhance brand visibility, stand out from competitors, and establish a deeper connection with their desired audience.

The ultimate guide to creative production with Asana

Download our free ebook to learn how to use Asana to streamline creative workflows, optimize teamwork, and produce high-impact creative assets.

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What is the creative production process?

The creative production process begins with an idea and concludes when that idea has been brought to life. Let’s dive deeper into each phase of the creative production process. 

1. Ideation and conceptualization

The first step in the creative production process is ideation—i.e., the initial stage of generating and shaping creative ideas. While the pitched ideas should align with the overarching goals of the project, ideation is a brainstorming process at its core. Encourage team members to collaborate, pitch free-form ideas, and illustrate their concepts in rough sketches and mood or vision boards. 

Conceptualization takes these ideas a step further by refining them into workable concepts. Following ideation, the team will assess the feasibility of each idea and its alignment with the project’s objectives. In the conceptualization phase, your team will shift their focus from open-ended creativity to structured planning. At the end of the ideation and conceptualization phase, you should have a firm, fleshed-out creative concept. 

2. Planning and resource allocation

Once your team has a firm understanding of their creative concept, it’s time to create the workflow that will bring that concept to life. This phase—planning and resource allocation—is where the project transitions from concept to actionable strategy. 

Typically, the planning phase involves detailed project mapping to determine the project’s scope, budget, timeline, milestones, and required resources. During this stage of the process, project managers and coordinators will work with the creative team—and leverage technology—to outline tasks, assign responsibilities, and set deadlines that take into account available resources and project objectives. At the end of the planning and allocation phase, the project’s action steps and deliverables should be clearly defined and scheduled. 

3. Production and development

Once you’ve nailed down your creative concept and defined your project schedule, the next step is to begin production and development. This stage is where the conceptualized ideas begin to materialize through practical execution. 

Typically, production and development involves a range of activities such as graphic design, content creation, video production, and technical development. Depending on the nature of your project, this phase may include collaborating with in-house creatives, such as writers, designers, and developers, as well as with outsourced industry professionals, such as directors, actors, filmmakers, and musicians. After the production and development phase, your ideas should have transformed into a product that meets your initial goals and appeals to your target audience.

The ultimate guide to creative production with Asana

Download our free ebook to learn how to use Asana to streamline creative workflows, optimize teamwork, and produce high-impact creative assets.

Step 4. Post-production testing and refinement 

After the production phase, the project moves into post-production, where the focus is on testing and refinement. This stage involves reviewing created assets to ensure they align with the initial concept and effectively convey your intended message. 

Depending on the creative assets produced, this stage may include activities like editing, color correction, visual effect creation, sound mixing, and other technical adjustments. If the project involves digital or multimedia content, this stage might also include A/B or user experience testing. Internal production teams should also review the product at this stage, to ensure that the final assets meet the project’s objectives and the brand’s quality standards. At the end of the post-production phase, your creative assets should be in their finalized form.

Step 5: Launch and distribution

The final phase of the creative production process is the launch and distribution of the finished asset. In this stage, you’ll put into action the launch plan originally outlined in the project planning phase. 

Depending on the nature of the project and the assets created, this could involve a coordinated release across platforms such as social media, digital advertising, email marketing, or even physical distribution channels. No matter what you’re launching, effective distribution requires a well-planned strategy to ensure that the asset reaches its target audience through the right channels. 

Step 6: Post-launch tracking and post-mortem 

Following the launch, it’s important to use reporting and feedback tools to determine and analyze outcomes. Using techniques like monitoring the reception of the launch through social media, tracking website traffic, and analyzing customer feedback surveys can help you understand the impact and reach of the project—and walk away with lessons for future improvements.

The ultimate guide to creative production with Asana

Download our free ebook to learn how to use Asana to streamline creative workflows, optimize teamwork, and produce high-impact creative assets.

Creative production best practices

Follow these best practices to ensure your creative production process is efficient—and effective.

  • Focus on continuous learning: Cultivate an environment of ongoing education and skill development to keep your creative team flexible and innovative. 

  • Leverage technology: Utilize the latest tools and platforms to streamline the creative process, enhance creativity, and drive efficiency. 

  • Emphasize collaboration: Foster a collaborative environment that encourages idea sharing and cross-functional teamwork. 

  • Stay ahead of trends: Keep your finger on the pulse of industry trends to keep your work relevant, engaging, and impactful. 

  • Be adaptable: Be flexible and open to change when it comes to evolving project needs or market demands.

  • Centralize communication: Use a centralized communication hub to ensure clear and consistent messaging across all team members and stakeholders. 

  • Track holistic project progress: Monitor the overall progress of creative projects through integrated tools to ensure alignment with timelines and objectives.

  • Standardize requests and production: Establish standardized procedures for project requests and production processes to streamline operations and maintain consistency. 

The role of technology in the creative production process

Technology plays a pivotal role in helping your team design, produce, and launch innovative work that’s aligned with your organizational goals. Benefits of leveraging tech for your creative production process include:

  • Centralized brainstorming: See all your collective ideas in one place, so teams can easily ideate and collaborate together. 

  • Standardized and automated workflows: Leverage automation to scale reliable, error-proof production processes that allow teams to kick off work instantly. 

  • Faster review cycles: Reduce context switching with integrations that allow you to design, develop, review, and provide feedback in one place. 

  • Real-time updates: Easily track your team’s progress and the status of the project, so you can proactively identify blockers and pivot if needed.  

Streamline the creative production process with Asana 

Don’t let creative production overwhelm you. With a work management platform like Asana, you can standardize your creative workflows, centralize project information, and streamline review and approval cycles, ensuring consistency, efficiency, and alignment for every deliverable—from the initial idea to the final asset. 

The ultimate guide to creative production with Asana

Download our free ebook to learn how to use Asana to streamline creative workflows, optimize teamwork, and produce high-impact creative assets.

Creative production FAQs

Still have questions about creative production? We have answers.

What’s the difference between internal and external creative production?

Internal creative production involves leveraging your in-house creative team, such as your graphic designers, web developers, and copywriters, to produce creative assets. External creative production involves outsourcing your creative needs to contractors. This might include professionals whose skills you don’t have on staff—such as voice actors or musicians—or creatives with similar skills to your employees. 

There are pros and cons to both avenues; internal creative production provides greater creative control and ensures brand knowledge, while external creative production is cost-effective and can help with resourcing constraints. 

What are the different types of creative production capabilities?

There are numerous types of creative capabilities you can use to craft compelling assets for your brand, including:

  • Photography

  • Graphic design

  • Film production

  • Print assets

  • Marketing materials

  • Social media and digital media content

  • SEO, blog, and web content

  • Audio and podcast development 

What are the common challenges in creative production?

Common challenges companies face when engaging in creative production include: 

  • Resourcing constraints

  • Collaboration and communication issues

  • Ensuring quality control and consistency 

  • Timeline and deadline challenges

  • Scaling creative processes and workflows 

  • Adapting to technological and industry changes

  • Managing stakeholder expectations

Want to learn more about overcoming these challenges? Download our creative production ebook or see how three world-class teams leverage technology to scale their production.

How can you scale creative production?

The larger your company, the harder it is to scale the creative production process—but it’s not impossible. Follow these best practices for large-scale creative production:

  • Standardize your creative production with templatized workflows.

  • See everything at a glance by centralizing your project tasks and communication into a single system of record. 

  • Take advantage of standardized request forms to streamline creative requests.

  • Give your whole team visibility into the project, ensuring accountability and fostering an environment of transparency.

  • Be thoughtful with your resource management approach to effectively allocate resources such as personnel, budget, and tools.

What is a creative production template?

A creative production template is a pre-created framework that can help you standardize creative workflows and track creative production at scale. By kicking off your creative production process with a template, you can eliminate inconsistencies in project procedures and keep everyone on the same page. 

How Asana uses work management for creative production

Learn how Asana's Head of Creative Operations streamlines workflows across her team to produce high-quality work, faster.

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