Setting out to build the best way teams collaborate on creative work.
Since Tuomo co-founded his previous mar-tech company Smartly.io in 2013 and Andreas joined the company back in 2015, we’ve had the chance to meet and work closely with many of the top marketing and creative teams globally, from San Francisco to Berlin and Singapore.
We saw firsthand how the importance of good creative assets grew over time, and how the most successful brands were able to capture significant market share by building well-oiled creative machines. It was fascinating to see how some brands were able to build out processes that support both creativity and productivity.
Being able to plan and execute successful creative concepts requires a good understanding of the platform you are designing for, as the best performers tend to look native to the environment they are used in. Everything starts from a good creative brief, which unifies all stakeholders involved and captures the characteristics of where the assets will be used. In reality, however, many creative projects still start from a hero video, which is then modified to fit the requirements of various online platforms.
Successful creative projects also require getting multiple stakeholders on the same page - from Art Directors and Copywriters to Channel Managers and Legal, multiple functions need to be in sync to efficiently get new assets across the finish line. Winning teams find ways to introduce visibility into the process while staying agile enough to update their ways of working as new channels or best practices get introduced.
We’ve spent the past few months connecting with 100+ brands and agencies to learn more about their internal processes - how they start planning new creative concepts and collaborate with different stakeholders along the way.
We were surprised by the observation that, in a world where both creatives and marketers have a lot of tools to choose from, a bulk of both internal and external collaboration still takes place in docs, slides and spreadsheets. In addition, the project management tools in use often lack support for more sophisticated creative collaboration and easily become mundane task trackers. For such a business-critical part of many brands, the process as a whole felt very disjointed.
This is why we decided to start Focal. We want to build an easier way to get from brief to launch - a collaboration tool purpose-built for creative work. We’re building Focal with a few guiding principles in mind:
- Creative assets are treated as first-class citizens - always. From project thumbnails to moodboards and spreadsheets, we focus on making the creative assets the star.
- Guided and channel-aware workflows. We keep track of channel best practices, so you don’t have to. Creative requirements, placement mockups and automatic validations are included from start to finish, guiding you towards the best possible workflow and outcome. We want to create a collaboration tool that helps you complete your tasks, instead of just providing a place to retroactively track progress.
- Great UX and speed. We want to prioritize ease-of-use at all times, making it as effortless as possible for teams to onboard and test how Focal can help them. Getting the benefits of a collaboration tool should not require weeks or months of onboarding.
We’re now onboarding the first companies to our private alpha. If you are interested in joining early and influencing the direction of Focal, you can sign up here and follow us on Linkedin.
- Tuomo & Andreas