While larger brands capitalize on the wide ranging expertise that the traditional agency model provides, there are many smaller brands that starve for specialist expertise and are desperately looking for ways to increase output from their ever tightening marketing budgets. By moving to project based activities marketers should see an increase in content volume, increase in value and if managed correctly any issues with brand disparity should be prevented – without wearing out the marketing department team members with overload.
This clever idea moves costs to Capital Expenditure budgets and frees up the marketing budget. Having inside experience in a marketing department, I can fully appreciate the need for getting more out of the marketing budget.
The mistakes that marketer’s make in choosing suppliers is glaringly obviously to some of us in the industry, while others remain oblivious. It is only when you have a certain experience that you can see things that others can’t. It is like in the movie the Matrix, where the lead character can see the world in terms of code and yet others can’t. It is the same in creative services when choosing a film company, web designer, post production company, or creative agency. Here’s how many are doing it wrong:
A fully integrated marketing campaign is the Holy Grail of our industry, and despite the transition for agency account directors to be re-titled ‘integration directors’ the rest of the agency still acts in silos doing what they always did before – doing what is briefed in (and nothing more). In light of a recent research project to determine how to close the gap between strategy and execution it also reveals an imperative to become more integrated and to rethink the role of specialist project managers.
Having outsourced for many years at all different levels of budget size – whether that is from the most high end production suppliers to an online service like 99 Designs or Elance there are some pros and cons to doing this well in my experience. Many of these talented creatives are off shore and communicate via web links, online briefing or at least email with hardly any face to face contact these days. Here are my thoughts on some pitfalls and opportunities:
Like on a protractor there is a very small degree of shift from the centre when close to the starting point, but as we move further and further away from this point the deviation from base becomes more and more marked; eventually quite a distance away from the desired spot. For me, this is exactly like the creative process through the production phase. Asking ‘Why?’ is the key to keeping it on track and closing the gap.
Branded entertainment is rarely a stand alone communication these days. Once you have chosen your lead platform for your entertainment there are endless ways to amplify what you’re doing across platforms. Here is a quick brainstorm of some ideas. Feel free to contribute your own.
There are many people very keen to be on television and who have a romantic notion about getting a show produced, but equally there are those who are missing out on a viable means to reach a large audience in an authentic and entertaining manner. So, how do you really know if a big show or event idea is viable for you?
Pricing branded content is much like the old adage ‘How long is a piece of string?’ Although knowing that we’re talking about a strong and well known brand that needs to be producing content that is fitting for the business positioning and values, and congruent with the customer expectations about a leading brand, here are a few examples with price tags.
A lot of businesses that don’t understand production are likely to undervalue the roles of production and downscale service to clients. So much so, that a lot of clients are starting to take their productions into their own hands thinking it can’t be that complicated – set a budget and get 3 suppliers to quote on it…. easy! Or is it?….
Whilst I realise we all learn from our mistakes I’d like to think that we can learn more comfortably from OTHER people’s mistakes! Here are a few of the doozies that I have learned from.
‘Working for the idea’ is my mantra. This is my core driving force in everything I do. I’m obsessed with getting the best possible value on the screen and for all wastage for all parties to be removed or put where it is best serving the idea. From my experience I can say categorically that there is an element of ‘magic’ that comes from a good process in a production that directly converts onto the screen in some tangible way.
There are a few different types of director, and they all are valid. There is one that simply unfolds your idea, one that adds to the process and demands to be at the core of the idea, and those that are mistakenly given the full reign including concept development.
There’s a myth that if you disclose a budget range to a supplier that you will be losing the competitiveness in the bid or you will be ripped off by a supplier. What is really happening is that you are choosing the winning supplier based on them landing on an imaginary figure you have in your mind and not because there is real value in the bid.
Call me fastidious, but I do think many producers get stuck in one path of thinking when it comes to shoot weather day problems when there are actually many, with a bit of lateral thinking. It seems there are those that feel they cannot discuss weather issues with their client and keep their head in the sand.
Many in the advertising industry have been under some pressure for some time and my heart is with everyone as they are feeling the pinch. The industry is filled with many talented and creative people who do great work but are being overlooked or struggling to keep consistent work in the door. It is no question that times are changing and that has caused a challenge for many.
I’m lucky enough to have been in contact with a diverse number of producers over the years, or worked in diverse roles myself, and I can see some distinct differences in the way producers work based on their specific background. It is so important to understand the nuances of each and the weaknesses in your own experience to best work with others.