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Craft Class: Crafting Innovation: Embracing Change and Cultivating Culture

Craft Class: Stories of Creativity and Innovation

Welcome back to "Craft Class," a series where we explore the journeys and insights of the dynamic individuals behind CRAFTSMAN+. In this edition, we’re spotlighting Olivia Barnett, VP of Creative Services, who has played a crucial role in shaping CRAFTSMAN+’s culture and production processes. Here’s a look at her journey as the first employee of CRAFTSMAN+.

Olivia Author_2

I joined CRAFTSMAN+ as the first official full-time hire, stepping into an organization that was just beginning to define itself. Back then, our team was small, our resources were limited, but our ambitions were large. From day one, my role involved wearing multiple hats, from managing client projects to shaping the strategic direction of our service offerings. Today, as VP of Creative Services, I oversee client services and the execution of production processes, so that every campaign we craft resonates deeply with its intended audience and exceeds our clients’ expectations.

Building a Cohesive Team

When I started at CRAFTSMAN+  almost seven years ago, I worked both as a producer and an account manager, so I understand the intricacies and challenges of both roles. This dual perspective was crucial when it came time to expand our team and streamline our operations. 

I helped restructure our Producer and Account Manager (AM) teams to enhance both roles’ collaboration and efficiency. Essentially, the reorganization empowered our Producers to grow into their roles; to not only oversee production but to also think more strategically about ways they can add value to their accounts and take on Account Management responsibilities. The trickle down effect of this, of course, is more benefits and better service for our clients. Producers have a deeper understanding of our suite of services and software. They’re also driven to build strong client relationships and project management expertise to succeed.

Cultivating a Culture of Creativity and Collaboration

At CRAFTSMAN+, culture is everything. In fact it’s been a top priority of our leadership since day one. As such, we invest in off-sites to get our global, remote team together in person to build connections and community with each other. We foster an environment where everyone is encouraged to share ideas and take ownership of their contributions. This collaborative spirit not only helps us build innovative creative solutions for digital marketers, it also creates a workplace where mutual respect and support are preserved. I am proud to say that our culture is one of the main reasons I love working here—it's dynamic, inclusive, and always evolving.

Carving a Niche in Mobile Performance

When I first started working at CRAFTSMAN+, I would talk at length with our CEO, Alex, about the discrepancy in focus between testing and iteration on the media buying side with the creative side. In other words, the fact that the creative design of ads was not given the same level of significance as the media sources being bought. 

Closing this performance gap between ad placement and creative design is what motivates us at CRAFTSMAN+. We believe that by focusing on ads’ storytelling and design we can move the needle more, especially as data restrictions continue affecting advertisers’ access to user and device-level data. 

But, beyond that, we’re also different from your typical big creative agency. We don’t just manage large-scale multichannel brand activations, we optimize ads for a mobile environment, working closely with our partners to reach their performance goals.

This mobile performance focus prioritizes the major role mobile engagement plays in consumer interactions in the marketplace today. As mobile devices continue to dominate how content is consumed, we believe the need for creative content that is not only visually engaging but also optimized to engage audiences across screens is paramount.

A Dual Approach to Creative and Technology Solutions

Another unique aspect of our business is that we are both a creative agency and a SaaS provider. This dual-service approach allows us to serve as a one-stop shop for our clients, streamlining the creative process and eliminating the need to juggle multiple vendors.

For instance, let’s say a client signs up for our PLAY platform to create their own playables but then realizes they need more playables than their in-house team is equipped to build. Because we have an agency side, we can seamlessly scale our work with them to meet their expanded needs without skipping a beat.  

What’s more, we have a continuous feedback loop baked into our business model between our SaaS tools and creative services. This enriches our creative insights and understanding of our partners’ needs, so that we can continuously refine our offerings to meet them. Our clients benefit from this hybrid model, which offers the agility of SaaS with the bespoke creativity of a top-tier agency, ensuring that every digital marketing challenge is met with precision and innovation. 

Innovating with CGI

As the advertising landscape shifts, so do we. One of the most exciting initiatives I’ve been involved with recently is our move into computer-generated imagery (CGI) with platforms like Unreal Engine to create cost-effective alternatives to traditional live-action production. This strategic pivot allows us to produce high-quality creative assets faster and more affordably, providing our clients with the visual impact they need without the exorbitant costs. By embracing CGI, we are not just keeping up with industry trends—we’re also setting them — which is a testament to how CRAFTSMAN+ stays at the forefront of digital advertising innovation.

Join Us on Our Journey of Innovation

As we continue to explore and expand the horizons of digital creativity, we invite you to be a part of our journey. Whether through CANVAS or PLAY, our suite of creative technology tools can help you connect with your audience. Let's create, innovate, and inspire together.