With a changing market, agencies downsizing their teams, and moving to online, studio managers need to evolve in response otherwise they may risk finding themselves rendered irrelevant.

Many studio managers are taking on roles that in the past would been on the plate of traffic or even advertising production managers. Many studio managers are now doing job billing estimates and tracking responsibilities, or overseeing freelancers and managing relationships with other internal and external stakeholders. This is on top of the “traditional” tasks associated with managing the work within the studio.

In order to manage all of this change and additional responsibility there are new skills a successful studio manager needs to develop. Here are just 2 of our top tips for today’s studio manager.

1. Supercharge Your Management Skills

Today, studio managers need to expand their scope. The definition of “team” has grown to include not just the people in the studio, but also freelancers and people in other departments.

No longer is it only about delegating tasks downwards – studio managers now have to manage sideways and this requires an understanding of not just the advertising studio workflow and the processes, but also the people.

It is time to start thinking about the best way to manage and communicate with:

  • Individual members of your extended team (freelancers)
  • Internal and external stakeholders (account managers, media agencies media buyers)

With more people contributing to the overall project there are specific areas that need to be addressed including asset management, approval processes, task management, and reporting. Inefficiencies can quickly compound and result in massive delays.

Learn To Delegate Effectively

Many studio managers, having worked their way up from being artworkers or freelancers, find themselves reverting to doing the day-to-day tasks in the studio. After all, “if you want something done right, do it yourself,” right?

The truth is, unless you are part of a very small studio, there is precious little leeway nowadays for studio managers to be spending their time on those front-line tasks.

In a world where last-minute client changes and unexpected turnarounds are the norm, it is important that you keep a grasp of the big picture. Focus on the high level tasks of organizing, negotiating and strategising and leave the day to day tasks with your team.

Being able to delegate is more important than ever – whether you are giving tasks to your in-house team, or outsourcing jobs to freelancers.

Many successful managers today recommend a relatively “open” method of task delegation, where you give the team clear goal-posts to be achieved at the end. While staff can ask you for advice if needed, they are mostly left to on the tasks in their own way.

Studio managers using this method say that this encourages learning and creativity on the job. By letting staff take ownership of the task at hand, not only did the managers free up their own time for the “big picture” stuff, but in many cases the job was completed quicker and at a higher standard than would be otherwise possible.

2. Explore New Technology 

It’s the job of the studio manager to keep curious about new solutions that can help make a studio more efficient, more cost effective, and less stressful.

Are there solutions that can provide mac operators with more reliable information about the specs of the jobs they are working on?

  • Are there traffic management and tracking tools that can reduce the number of balls you need to keep in the air?
  • Can you replace emails and meetings with a more effective collaborative tool?
  • Can you use automation to transform the advertising production workflow, cutting out inefficiencies, repetition and error-prone areas?

To be a studio manager in today’s cut-throat climate is to keep pushing yourself and your studio, to keep aiming for the next rung in optimization. Be willing to try things that the competition may not, and keep a look out for opportunities to be better.

Have Your Say

What changes are challenging the way you work? How are you coping with these challenges?

What are some of the tools that you can use to more effectively work in today’s environment?

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