Jonathan Parker, Managing Director for APAC, APR
The world of advertising production and the roles of the companies who inhabit it used to be clearly defined. There once was a tried-and-tested linear process of baton-passing from brands to agencies to production vendors. Agencies simplified the process of engaging and organizing multiple production vendors to accomplish numerous specialist production and post-production tasks to achieve the finished product.
With the effects of COVID-19 still lingering, marketers have been forced to alter plans, cancel or postpone live-action production and events, significantly impacting brands across the globe. As consumers flock to the internet to access basic services, interact with family and friends and stay informed during the pandemic, technology has introduced new ways of brand and consumer engagement, creating an unprecedented demand for content in various forms. As such, the quality, cost and speed at which content is created are all being challenged.
Changes in the Content Production Landscape
Combine shrinking budgets with the demand for virtual workspace efficiency, and you’ve got the perfect environment for sweeping innovations across the industry. Survey data from Advertising Production Resources’ (APR) network of client partners across the globe show that 96 percent of respondents have changed the way they approach production, with 21 percent of the respondents claiming that these changes will last well after the threat of COVID-19 has dissipated.
The traditional advertising production model is not meeting the needs of today’s marketers, and with the changing consumer behavior, a more agile approach is essential to remain competitive, responsive and effective. Moreover, marketers must learn to find the right balance between in-house teams and external creative/production partners supplementing their capabilities to effectively respond to the increasing demand for content. With the help of content optimization firms such as APR, marketers can effectively navigate the changing environment while ensuring that business objectives are met.
As consumers are constantly looking for immersive digital experience, the requirement for data-driven, targeted and occasion-based assets have also increased. All these shifts have triggered many industry changes, which include:
- Agencies have a new-found appreciation for branded storytelling and are producing content themselves to maintain a steady revenue stream. As more companies join the production landscape, marketers are seeing the value of their role in finding, vetting and choosing the right production suppliers in the ecosystem for the brand’s success.
- Brands are building their own in-house studios to keep up with the demand for content and gain more control of their content creation process. Responsibilities that used to lie with individual agencies such as managing talent rights and payments, vendor relationships, licensing and usage rights are now managed centrally and internally.
- Production timelines had to be compressed to get the brands’ messaging out to consumers in meaningful and efficient ways, which means content had to be produced unconventionally. This paved the way for brands to collaborate with content creators and influencers, as well as engage with consumers in creating content.
The production process is no longer linear, boundaries have been blurred, erased and there is more than one way for marketers to achieve the best business outcomes. In this new world, every marketer has the opportunity to define a unique approach to their creative ecosystem. To make the most out of this opportunity, marketers should start by building a strong and well-defined Content Production Strategy.
The Need for a Content Production Strategy
Given the current advertising and marketing landscape amid varying assumptions and speculation over contentious topics such as the future of traditional media or why data is everything, defining a Content Production Strategy can be a challenging prospect.
However, without a Content Production Strategy, content teams are more likely to produce too many assets at too high a cost, or re-create assets that already exist, resulting in waste. Hence a Content Production Strategy with a proper Digital Asset Management is absolutely critical for brands looking to realize greater productivity, maximize their asset inventory and ultimately be cost effective.
We also anticipate a rise in production companies offering new solutions to meet mass production of assets to get more products online quickly. Brands, therefore, will have to push their teams to be more efficient and agile to deliver quality output across the organization.
Modernizing content production to support the new world of data-driven, dynamic and engaging storytelling is essential. Brands need to make room for a flexible, plug and play ecosystem so that they can quickly tap into the company’s creative resources or work with external partners as the need arises.
It is imperative to define what to produce and how to produce it in the most effective way to make every effort count. Given the changes in the advertising landscape and with the growing number of new companies providing content production services, it is safe to assume that all of the creative needs of a brand will not be found within a single holding company, one in-house creative team or a management consultancy technology.
Brands seeking to optimize content production, should stay updated with new advertising production approaches, processes and technology. The best way to start this process is by bringing creative teams together and challenging them to design and integrate new approaches in creating engaging content. In addition, working with content optimization firms such as APR can leverage industry insights and provide a bird’s eye view of the production landscape to design cost-effective and efficient content creation processes. With a Content Production Strategy, brands start right and build on fully optimized Creative Production Ecosystem framework that includes in-house resources, partner agencies and firms as well as assets.
Fundamentally, this ensures that brands and marketers maximize resources, delivering results at speed, become more accountable for quality while maintaining high standards.