Crowdsourced video production is changing the online video game, and some may think it will be at the expense of ad agencies. We've heard the complaints before. Agencies can be slow and expensive in the video creation process, which is why many folks have turned to alternative sources to obtain online video content, and that trend will surely continue. So who really needs ad agencies in this new creative production world?
Well, we all do! I don't work for an ad agency, but I have discovered some important facts on agency involvement in the crowdsource creative process, and here are five reasons why they are critically important:
Objectivity. There are a ton of different variables in the online video production sector, ranging from methodology and technique to which specific partners are best-suited to fulfill elements within a broader video strategy. On its own, a brand rarely has the resources to fully understand this landscape and ascertain which options make sense and why. Agencies provide critical guidance here and they can apply lessons from a diverse base of clients and experiences to help.
Big-picture thinking. While crowdsourced video can be wonderful in developing new brand insights and high-quality creative, it is no substitute for strategy and planning. Video is only one piece of an overall marketing strategy. Sometimes brands come up with the notion of developing all sorts of great videos, but without a clear indication of how the video can fit within or even help drive a broader advertising or branding strategy. Here, agencies are invaluable and can actually helps brands save time, effort, and money that otherwise could be burned up in chasing random ideas. Anyone can come up with video concepts, but it takes a talented agency team to package the right ideas to support the overall brand strategy.
Discipline. One-off videos can be great and might even go viral, but brands should not bank on this happening. Agencies provide the discipline to keep video campaigns on-target and relevant to a brand's broader marketing mission or message. Another nice thing about agencies is that they can apply discipline in a way that still allows plenty of room for creativity and fun in the video creation process. And they're smart enough to recognize the limitations of trying to create a one-hit, viral video.
Creativity. Despite rumors to the contrary, some of the most innovative and creative minds out there live within the walls of agencies. Yes, techniques like crowdsourcing bring new layers of creativity to the mix, but agencies can enhance these newer forms of creativity by adding a few wrinkles to the mix that may otherwise have been missed opportunities. For example, who's better to help guide the final editing of a crowdsourced video than the agency professionals who do this sort of work every day?
Experience. One of the most exciting things about the rapid growth of online video is also its Achilles heel -- it is so comparatively new! Agencies provide a level of experience and knowledge that, when tied in with the other attributes listed above, make them critical assets for brands trying to understand and navigate our exciting industry. There is no replacement for the strategy and planning agencies can provide.
Having said all of the above, I'll add that there's an important responsibility for agencies to stay on top of the latest developments in online video and be willing to embrace them for the benefit of their clients, as well as their own business. While some agencies understandably may feel threatened by emerging creative video channels that can work directly with brands, the fact remains that agencies add critical value and are as important now as ever.