In this episode, Bailey shares the journey of creating Streamwork and how it streamlines the creative process. We also delve into the challenges of cross-team collaboration in the creative space and how Streamwork addresses these issues.
Bailey discusses the impact of the war in Ukraine on StreamWork’s team members based there, and explains how the company provided paid time off and support to ensure the safety of their Ukrainian team.
Additionally, Bailey explains how Streamwork simplifies creative workflow management, claiming that the platform brings together three critical workflows: feedback collection, automated approvals, and project management.
She elaborates, adding that users can easily collect feedback on various creative assets, invite stakeholders for approvals, and manage projects seamlessly. Alongside, unique features, like turning feedback into actionable tasks.
You will also hear Bailey’s advice on the keys to successful cross-team collaboration, where she advocates that effective cross-team collaboration requires open communication, transparency, and goal alignment.
She also adds that the use of creative briefs helps ensure everyone is on the same page from the start, and highlight how clearly defining roles and responsibilities, especially during the approval stage, is crucial for successful collaboration.
Towards the end of the show, Bailey outlines how StreamWork sets itself apart from the competition stating that, while there are other companies in the creative collaboration space, Streamwork stands out because it offers a full-suite creative workflow management solution, not limited to video review. Adding that its powerful workflows, including approval routing and project management, provide a comprehensive and unique solution.
And finally, Bailey talks about StreamWork’s plans for the future hinting at exciting product announcements and integrations in the pipeline for the company. One notable integration is with Slack, which enhances communication and collaboration for teams.
Alternatively, you can find a transcript below:
Meredith Bailey: So first off, thank you for having me. I’m thrilled to be part of this podcast. My name is Meredith Bailey. I am the founder and CEO of Streamwork, and Streamwork is a creative workflow management platform that’s built for marketers, agencies, and sales teams. We make it easy for teams to collect feedback on creative assets, to route creative through automated approvals, and to task manage campaigns from start to finish.
Samuel Brake Guia: Fantastic. It’s a real pleasure to have you here. So thank you as well for joining me. I also want to know, can you tell me the story of how the idea of Streamwork first began and how the company was created?
Meredith Bailey: So absolutely. We have a fantastic team that has extensive experience in creating creative assets. We are a team of designers, product builders, marketers who have felt the pain points firsthand in getting creative across the line. I have worked in marketing for over 12 years. I worked at Apple, Google, YouTube, and Warner Brothers and was fortunate to work across many different types of creative and dozens of campaigns from product launches to branding campaigns. And every single time I worked on a creative asset—a video, presentation, image, etc.—it was always challenging.
Meredith Bailey: It’s really challenging to get creative across the finish line. And the reason for that is you’re working with multiple teams internally and externally. You need to juggle all of the feedback that stakeholders are providing to you. And you need to route the creative through approvals. So our focus was really to make this whole process easier and automate it. So that’s why we built Streamwork, a full-suite creative workflow management solution that brings together all of these workflows—the collection of creative feedback, the automated approvals, and project management—into a single place so that teams can spend less time on the process and more time on developing creative.
Samuel Brake Guia: That sounds awesome. And I have to say, as a content creator myself who has worked in creative teams, this seems so necessary because it can be really difficult when you don’t have the process in place to allow these creative juices to flow and these communications to take place. So I think that’s really awesome what you’re working on. Another cool thing is that I understand that you have a number of team members in Ukraine who have been integral to Streamwork’s creation. Could you tell us briefly what the experience has been for them to help build this product, during those circumstances?
Meredith Bailey: Yeah, so we have a fully remote team, with many of our team members based in Ukraine, and our team is really the backbone of our product. They are the reason that we have been able to build such a powerful and easy-to-use product in such a quick time. I have been working with the team members in Ukraine for over two years before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And when the invasion happened in February 2022, it was devastating, it was really heartbreaking. And I think, after the initial shock and horror of trying to understand what was going on, my next focus and immediate focus was just to make sure that our team was safe and that their families were safe. So Streamwork provided paid time off to all of our team members in Ukraine so that they could find a safe place to live. Many of them relocated to Western Ukraine, and actually, a number of our team members ended up living together during that time. And over time, as the war progressed, many of the team members came back to me and asked to return to work. And the reason that really stands out and that I’ve heard a lot was the team wanted to return to a sense of normalcy.
Meredith Bailey: So the team has been really working on Streamwork and building an incredible product while living through this war. It’s just, I’m in a lot of ways at a loss for words for what they have been through and what they continue to go through. They have lived through a lot. We have a team member who needed to move to bomb shelters in Bucha to keep himself and his family safe. We have a team member who took up arms in his city to protect a city while Russian tanks were rolling in. And we also have a team member whose spouse is currently fighting on the front lines in eastern Ukraine to help protect Ukraine’s independence. So, I mean, the team is just incredibly strong and resilient. It’s just incredible what they have been through and that they’re able to balance building our product and the fact that they’re so committed to building Streamwork and committed to our broader vision despite everything they have lived through. It’s just really, really inspiring for me and for the entire team.
Samuel Brake Guia: Yeah, I find it very inspiring as well. The fact that both ways really that you have been so supportive of your people, and obviously, that’s what you’d hope for from a company. But you really have gone above and beyond from the sounds of things. And also, it’s wonderful to hear that your team really appreciates that and really reciprocates that. It seems like you’ve established a really good connection there. And that’s wonderful to hear, especially during these times when the news can be so depressing. It’s wonderful that there are glimmers of hope with companies like yours. And I would love to move back to Streamwork and how it works specifically. Talking about how Streamwork helps simplify creative workflow management?
Meredith Bailey: So, creative workflow management is the process of developing creative. It’s all of the workflows involved in getting creative across the finish line. And I alluded to this a little bit earlier about being creative, is a difficult process, and it sounds like this firsthand as well. When you set out to develop any type of creative asset, you’re often working on a campaign where you’re developing several assets at once. So you might be developing videos, presentations, a sales stack, a website, logos, etc. And so not only are you balancing all of the different pieces of the campaign that you’re developing, you’re also needing to balance the team that you’re working with, which might be internal. You might also be working with external team members, agencies, freelancers, etc.
Meredith Bailey: And you need to make sure that you’re all moving on track to get the creative developed and launched. And when it comes to developing any type of creative asset, there’s a whole lot involved in that as well. You need to think through what are we developing, what are the objectives, the creative mandatories, the budget, and then from there, you start either working with your internal team or external agencies, vendors, etc. As soon as you have the first version, you need to collect feedback on it, often from multiple stakeholders within your organization or outside of your organization. Then you need collect approvals as soon as the final version is ready.
Meredith Bailey: So you can tell there’s a whole lot involved in this, and our goal was to automate it, and that’s why we built Streamwork. We set out to build the ultimate creative workflow management solution to make this process super simple for teams so that they can save time and really launch deliverables faster. And the way we do that is by bringing these three critical workflows together: collection of feedback, the automated approvals, and project management in one place. So when I talk about the collection of feedback, you can actually take a presentation or a video and send it to anyone in the world. They can click a link, instantly open it, and leave feedback directly on it. They’re drawing on a specific time code of a video, for instance, and they’re leaving a real-time comment that you can respond to.
Meredith Bailey: And for automated approvals, you can invite in any stakeholder, again, inside your organization or outside anywhere in the world for free. You invite them in, and you just define, “All right, who needs to approve this version? What role should they play? Do they need to approve it, or maybe it’s view-only? They should just be in the know.” You define that, and you press go, and we take care of it for you. And finally, the management piece, we have very powerful project management built into the platform where you can manage your entire campaign, every deliverable in the campaign, everyone involved in developing these deliverables.
Meredith Bailey: But you can also, which is critically and something that’s not available in other products out there, you can take creative feedback that’s left on, let’s say a video, and turn it into a task instantly and assign it to someone, which means that all of a sudden, creative feedback becomes actionable, and nothing falls through the cracks. So these are some of the ways that we’ve built out a really simple-to-use yet powerful creative workflow management platform. And the whole goal here has really, again, just been to help teams save time so that we really take the headache out of the process for them, and instead, they’re just focused on the end goal and the end creative.
Samuel Brake Guia: That’s cool. I really do like the idea of making feedback actionable in the sense that at this step of the process, where people can respond to it in that way. And it makes sense, your name, as I speak with, I mean, you’re streamlining work for creative, so that really rings true to me. And I also want to know, when we think in terms of project management, what do you feel are the keys to successful cross-team collaboration for those working in the creative space?
Meredith Bailey: Yeah, so I think there are a couple of key best practices to follow to be successful at cross-team collaboration. I’d say the first one is maintaining open lines of communication across the team. When you’re working on creative, you might be working with just your internal team, or you might be working with people outside of your organization as well, and ensuring that everyone is on the same page, that you are being very transparent about what is being developed, the objectives, the goals, and keeping this top of mind throughout the creative development process is really key. And I would also say the other aspect of maintaining open communication is just being very communicative about priorities, deadlines, budgets, etc., so that it doesn’t come up as a surprise at the end. It’s something that the entire team is informed about from the very beginning.
Meredith Bailey: The second aspect of effective, I think, cross-functional collaboration would be ensuring your team is working toward a common goal. Oftentimes, when you’re working on a creative campaign or project, you’ll start off with the creative brief, and we actually have built creative brief templates into Streamwork to help facilitate this, where you can outline your objectives, your high-level strategy from the start and ensure your entire team is aware of that brief and that you are all working towards that throughout the entire project. This is especially important as you are managing various team members and various workstreams and making sure that all the work that everyone is working on is laddering up to these broader goals and objectives. And I’d say the third is really
Meredith Bailey: Establishing roles and responsibilities from the start. This is really critical, being very thoughtful about who owns what, and this is particularly important when you get to the approval stage. When I worked in Google Marketing, we would use a framework called the DACI. Some teams might also know the acronym as RASCI, and RACI stands for driver, approver, contributor, informed. What we would do is every time we’d work on a creative asset, we’d outline that at the top of a document and from the start of a project determine, “Okay, who’s the driver? Who are the approvers? Who are the people that are subject matter experts and should be consulted throughout the project and who are those stakeholders or departmental leads? That should always be informed. They don’t need to approve, but they should be informed of what’s going on.”
Meredith Bailey: It’s a really helpful framework, and it’s something that we would apply to almost all projects. And I know a lot of teams and a lot of companies use that framework today. The majority of teams use a manual framework where they’re mapping this out, and they’re chasing stakeholders on their own, and they’re following up with people, which can be very time-consuming. And so, what we set out to do was to automate the DACI and build it into Streamwork so that teams don’t need to worry about following up with stakeholders or spending extra time chasing people, you just add the stakeholders to Streamwork. You identify what role you’d like them to have in approvals and you press go, and we take care of it for you, and you can keep track of the status of everything, the deadlines, everything along the way. So those would be, I think, the three most important aspects of successful cross-team collaboration from my perspective.
Samuel Brake Guia: I can see why this is so useful, I can also imagine there is a high demand for this, so are there other companies in this space and how do you differentiate yourselves from the competition?
Meredith Bailey: So there are other companies in the creative collaboration space. I would say the main difference is that those companies are focused primarily on the review of video, whereas we are different. We are a full-suite creative workflow management solution. So not only do we allow review or feedback on video, we also allow for the collection of feedback on all types of creative assets in a single place.
Meredith Bailey: And then we, on top of that, have extremely powerful workflows, including the approval routing and the project management built into the same platform. So our goal really is, again, to keep it easy for teams. We want to build the ultimate creative hub so that anytime a team is onboarding a freelancer or vendor, etc., you don’t need to worry about using multiple tools, which tools should we use, or where will we still store the artwork and the versions? Instead, we just make that simple. You plug into Streamwork. Everybody works in there, and you have all of the critical workflows that you encounter daily. We take care of those for you so you can get more work done.
Samuel Brake Guia: Fantastic. It definitely does sound like you have an edge here, and I want to know, finally, my last question to you is what’s next on the horizon for StreamWork?
Meredith Bailey: This question always makes me smile. We have a lot in store for StreamWork, and we’re really excited about what we’re building. The response to StreamWork has been just phenomenal. And so we have many exciting product announcements and integrations in store. And a lot of the integrations, in particular, are based on the customer feedback that we are receiving. One of the integrations that I’m thrilled to share on this podcast is a brand new one, and it’s the first of many, and it’s our integration with Slack. So today when you use StreamWork, you receive emails automatically when, let’s say, your boss leaves a comment on the latest presentation that you’ve developed or maybe your CMO has approved the latest video.
Meredith Bailey: In addition to receiving those emails or in lieu of them, you can have notifications sent to Slack. So you can find out directly in Slack the moment somebody leaves feedback on an asset so that you can jump in and respond to it and take action on it. This is especially helpful for teams that live in Slack daily, and it’s just another way that we can make communication for those teams even simpler. So we’re really, really excited about that and about all the other integrations we have in the pipeline.
Samuel Brake Guia: That’s a cool integration. I can definitely see the value in that. And I want to know, if listeners are hearing this and they want to keep up to date with these integrations that you’ve spoken about or just generally the work that you folks are doing, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Meredith Bailey: Yeah, so our best way to learn about our product and try it out is at StreamWork.com. You can create a free account in seconds and start using the product. Also, you can talk directly to our team in the product. So there’s a chat within StreamWork where you can chat directly with me and our other team members. We’re a startup, we’re still a small but mighty team, so you are literally talking to us, and we are there to answer any questions and help guide you through anything. And we always love hearing feedback and feature requests so that we can continuously improve the product to make it better for creative teams.
Samuel Brake Guia: We’ll include a link there in the show notes. But otherwise, Meredith, I want to say thanks again for joining me today. It has been such a pleasure chatting with you.
Meredith Bailey: Thank you so much, Sam. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you too. I really appreciate it.
Disclosure: This episode includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company