Bailey’s personal experience with the challenge of managing stakeholder feedback in the creative process inspired her to create the platform. StreamWork aims to streamline the review process for creative teams, saving time and energy by facilitating quick and succinct feedback gathering across multiple stakeholders and departments.
We caught up with Bailey to her thoughts on the future of the communications industry.
What book, podcast or other media do you recommend to other comms pros?
An oldie but a goodie: I love the book Creativity, Inc. I first read Creativity, Inc. when I was working in marketing at Google, and it helped me re-evaluate how to approach creative brainstorming and feedback. The book gives an inside look at how Pixar develops its world-renowned animated movies. What I love most is how Pixar assembles a “Braintrust” for every movie where stakeholders and peers are asked to provide candid feedback on how to improve the existing storyline. The book inspired me to apply this same methodology to how I work with my team, and the concept is also foundational to StreamWork: we’re focused on making it easy for teams to collect candid input on creative at the right time and in the right place.
What’s your favorite tool you use regularly for work?
Slack has been a game-changer for our team, especially given our company is entirely remote. With team members based in the US, Netherlands, Canada, Ukraine and Poland, it’s quicker and easier to message one another via Slack versus waiting for responses to long email threads. We love Slack so much that we recently built an integration with Slack into StreamWork so that users can also have the ability to leave visual feedback on visual assets.
What excites you most about the future of communications?
We’re on the cusp of really exciting innovations in creative and communications with the advent of AI. More than ever before, there are opportunities to speed up and automate creative workflows to help remote teams work more efficiently. Consider Adobe Firefly, for instance, which uses AI to enable teams to conjure up images based on text prompts. I worked in marketing for over 12 years at Apple, Google, YouTube, and Warner Bros and had the opportunity to work across hundreds of campaigns. I felt the pain points involved in collecting stakeholder feedback and wrangling approvals on creative assets firsthand, and decided to quit my job and build a platform to automate this process. My focus has been on utilizing innovations in collaboration and automation to solve the creative challenges that are currently being overlooked, but that every creative team is facing daily. What excites me most is that as an industry, we’re just getting started.
What communications challenge keeps you up at night?
Before I became a founder, I worked in marketing, so I’m constantly challenging myself to reevaluate and improve the messaging we use to position our platform. As we’ve expanded to new customer segments – including branded merchandise companies and universities – we’ve needed to dramatically shift how we position StreamWork, and this is often not an easy task. The most important factor in any communication strategy is to listen to the end customer and understand how they explain their pain point. From there, you can rework, retool and adapt your solution to address their core needs. My team and I are constantly speaking with our customers (both existing and new segments) to hear how they explain the platform in their own words so that our messaging and product can better work in service of their end goals.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career?
I started building StreamWork when my son was only 3 months old, and I’m now pregnant with my second child. Balancing motherhood and building a business at the same time hasn’t been easy, and I can’t claim I’ve done it on my own. I’ve been lucky to have access to childcare and the support of my family and friends. In addition to this, many of our team members are based in Ukraine and have needed to make a number of sacrifices to continue to work on StreamWork despite living through a war. Having members of the team work remotely throughout wartime is a delicate and hopefully uncommon situation, and something that has been undoubtedly difficult. Navigating how to support them and keep them and their families safe, while simultaneously working together to build StreamWork, has been one of my greatest challenges.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten is to block out the noise. When you’re working on a project, product launch or even building a business, there are a million and one things to work on, listen to and consider. What’s vital is to figure out what’s important, and block out anything superfluous. A fellow founder shared this advice with me when I started building StreamWork, and it’s really stuck with me and can be applied to all sorts of scenarios. When it comes to start-ups, keeping your eye on the end goal and the solution you are building to help solve your customer’s pain point is what matters. The rest is just noise.
Isis Simpson-Mersha is a conference producer/ reporter for Ragan. Follow her on LinkedIn.