There is an electricity that sweeps through Adobe MAX, the annual celebration of creativity, that is infectious. Nobody is taking themselves too seriously…everyone is in awe of everyone else’s work. Nothing is out of the realm of possible. Nobody is excluded from the great debate of “Should Comic Sans ever be used outside of an actual comic?” (Answer: Comic Sans is the “pineapple on pizza” of creativity...so no.)
This year, thousands of current, future, and aspirational creators came together and exhaled. We had collectively survived tumultuous times. We had tapped into the muscle memory of being back together and celebrating our craft. We had made it through the explosive onset of Generative AI—something that felt threatening and ominous a few months ago. We had made the shift from AI competing for our jobs to being our valued co-pilot who was thrilled at the idea of endless hours of repetitive production work. We could exhale and make space for innovation and opportunity.
One of the biggest opportunities that consumed conversation was the future of content, more specifically the discussion around Adobe’s take on the Content Supply Chain and where creatives would envision themselves in the ebb and flow between supply and demand.
The Supply and Demand of Content
A supply chain maps the system that converts raw materials into finished products, following those products through every stage of creation, packaging and, eventually, distribution to an end customer/consumer. It is a common concept in manufacturing settings, allowing visibility across all the materials, teams, talent, processes, logistics and end points of fulfillment and distribution. Supply chain management is, by extension, the design, planning, control, and monitoring of this complex web of actions and resources with the goal of deriving more value by building an infrastructure that can better orchestrate and synchronize and measure the performance of binding supply to demand.
Content, and the drive to create more of it more efficiently and effectively, is core to how growth in any enterprise is achieved. We can all talk ad nauseum about the skills of individual functions, but at the end of the day when our prospects and customers consume content, there is a moment…a reaction…that sparks the desire to shift from the status quo. And that moment drives more demand from both the consumers of content and the marketers that want to keep feeding that dynamic relationship. The entire system is a supply chain that can managed, monitored and measured from the moment of ideation through to fulfillment.
Marketers and creatives have long understood that the content supply chain has been fractured, segmented into a series of disconnected myopic projects that only focus on a single act or campaign. We have focused on getting the work done and empowering that work with collaboration and project management tools…we have failed to fully understand and empower the unique and wildly creative supply chain, acknowledged the raw materials and intentionally established infrastructure to best orchestrate this complex web of actions.
Enter GenStudio: Adobe’s Infrastructure for the Modern Content Supply Chain
Adobe is uniquely situated across the content supply chain, and arguably the customer relationship supply chain at a larger level, serving as a technology that can sit at the center of both creative and experience delivery. This is the introduction of Adobe GenStudio, a new end-to-end solution that brings key applications across Creative Cloud, Express and Experience Cloud, with Firefly generative AI, a notable new stage in the ongoing evolution of Adobe.
For those familiar with Adobe’s portfolio, the individual tools in GenStudio will be exceedingly familiar with tools like Workfront, Journey Optimizer, Experience Manager Assets and Frame.io to name a few. And while these individual solutions have their own unique standalone benefits, Adobe’s belief is that used together in GenStudio, customers can create, orchestrate, and activate in a more scalable, measurable, and effective manner. Simply: it connects the technology dots that underpin the work, impact and purpose of content.
What stands out is that this is the step so many of us in the market (OK me especially) have been barking about for years—for Adobe to deliver a more unified point of view that spans their traditionally segmented Creative and Experience Cloud offerings. GenStudio is as much of a recognition of what customers need to start to wrap their arms around the content supply chain as it is a recognition that the market has been looking for a “Holistic Adobe”, delivering right-sized tools for the right phase of the supply chain.
GenStudio has already delivered results with brands like Orvis realizing a 75% reduction in time to product project plans, T-Mobile increasing campaign output by 47% without adding headcount and Asics achieving a 30% reduction in waste through asset reuse. These results are likely just the beginning in how we see brands that embrace the challenge of building and optimizing a modern, digitally forward content supply chain. We will likely see more of the overarching Adobe portfolio be brought into to GenStudio capabilities, bolstering the main pillars of workflow and planning, creation and production, activation, and delivery.
Mapping the Trajectory for Content Velocity
In this time of buzz and hype-cycles, organizations need a blueprint for purposefully introducing tools like Generative AI and advanced analytics to help scale, automate and optimize. For organizations ready to think about their content supply chain differently, tools like GenStudio provide a very different foundation to turn AI projects and co-pilots from experiments to tangible business applications.
This foundation also allows teams to capitalize on some of the other big announcements and reveals made at MAX
Adobe Firefly: Firefly got several upgrades and additions at MAX with the reveal of the impressive Firefly Image 2 Model, Firefly Vector Model and Firefly Design Models. These aren’t just models creating…these models generating content that is safe and ready for commercial use. In a time when CIOs are actively blocking the introduction of GenAI tools to have time to properly assess the safety and security of data, training models and output, Adobe has done the ethical heavy lifting early on and put added measures in to not just train the models in a manner that prioritize safe commercial use, but also recognizes and rewards the complexity of the creator economy by identifying and respecting (and compensating) artists.
Adobe Express: Adobe’s free creative application is already jam-packed with creator tools and templates, but now users can use Generative Fill, the newly announced creative co-pilot powered by Firefly, to remove or even replace objects, people, backgrounds and more. The new Text to Template feature leverages the new Firefly Design Model to give users the ability to give a text description to generate editable templates. New drawing, painting and even translation capabilities turn Express into a tool for the casual creator designing a t-shirt or the marketing manager that just wants to prep some social cards and TikTok videos.
Content Authenticity’s Continued Success: One announcement that shouldn’t go unnoticed are the milestones Adobe has made around content authenticity and brand protections. As one of the leaders in the Content Authenticity Initiative, originally launched at Adobe Max 2019, Adobe has pushed industries and markets to elevate the awareness of content attribution and transparency. Adobe announced that thanks to the wave of interest around generative AI, 2,000 new members have joined including Dentsu, National Geographic Society, National Public Radio (NPR), Photoshelter and Publicis Groupe.
Riding on this wave of interest around visibility and authenticity, Adobe announced the introduction and adoption of an official Content Credentials “icon of transparency” that leads to a digital “nutrition label” for AI-generated assets. This label is attached to Adobe Firefly outputs and can show information including the creator’s name, edits made with Ai and tools used. Microsoft has introduced Content Credentials to all AI-generated images created with Bing Image Creator. Nikon showcased a specially equipped Nikon Z 9 camera, currently in development but sampled at MAX, included image provenance functionality via content credentials and can be verified in a user’s workflow.
Time to Celebrate
With so much upheaval in the market and in the world, it hardly feels like a time to celebrate. Chaos seems to lurk around every corner. But no matter the circumstance or scenario, it is usually creativity and artistry that connects people together by communicating in ways that can range from the deeply emotional to the comically sublime. Through it all content is the vehicle that carries that connection and creativity across channels and into the hands of an enterprise’s customer.
Accelerating the velocity, accuracy, impact and efficacy of the content supply chain is a worthy goal for any organization, regardless of size. With the innovations and announcements Adobe showcased at Adobe MAX 2023, expect to see even more creators step up to the plate and gladly accept their role in improving how the content supply chain is operated and managed.
And YES...these were generated by AI. More specifically this epic reimagination is of my dog, a white Akita, who I asked Adobe Firefly to picture, wearing a chunky knit purple sweater, sunglasses, sitting in a city at golden hour. The image on the right was generated by Adobe Firefly Image 1 Model. The image on the left was generated by Adobe Firefly Image 2 Model using the exact same prompt.