The Old Model
Traditionally, agencies have laid the creative groundwork for video content and outsourced the creation duties to production companies. This has generally proven to be an expensive proposition. Talent, professionalism, and especially experience come with a high price tag, and the best production companies know exactly what they’re worth. Also, working with outside firms almost always entails time lags in communication. This extra planning and execution time can quickly stretch the budgets and patience of your clients.
More Content, More Often
Irate brand managers aside, there is an even bigger threat to the traditional content production model. Namely, more video is being produced and uploaded than ever before. Vine users upload more than a million videos every day, and Youtubers are uploading 100 hours of video every minute. These days, any kid with a pretty face or a weird sense of humor can upload her way to Internet stardom. If brands fail to navigate this new terrain as skillfully as their “digital native” competition, their messages will be lost in the constant roar of social media.
So what’s the solution? Produce more quality content faster than ever before. Micro-content video apps like Vine and Instagram (or more specifically, their combined 143 million users) serve to further underscore the importance of nimble content production. Unfortunately, the ongoing over-saturation of traditional advertising methods and messages complicates matters. As every marketing professional knows, this “ad fatigue” has bred an increasing resistance to those methods and messages in each successive generation of consumers. This is why brands need not only quality content, but a smart paid media strategy.
As social networks seek to monetize their content, organic exposure is harder to come by. As we mentioned above, nobody wants to be “sold to.” They want to be entertained. This is actually very good news for brands, as consumers are more than willing to watch and share branded content as long as it’s entertaining. Case in point, branded content accounts for 4% of the top 100 tracked Vines. This is why the agency of the future must forge smart partnerships with existing video talent in order to take advantage of established fan bases and production capabilities.
Agencies Must Adapt
The agency of the future must also play a stronger role in producing its own content. Valuable agency creative directors will be well versed in physical production. They must be willing and able to step up and get their hands dirty at shoots. Stock photography, while often more cost-effective than the alternatives, can come across as unoriginal. Also, it isn’t ownable. Agencies must produce custom photography that's both on-brand, high quality, and genuine.
Agencies may even choose to go so far as having in-house content studios. While the upfront costs for this type of venture may seem prohibitive, they can be mitigated by hiring multi-skilled designers who can work in interactive, photography, and video. Both agencies and brands will quickly find this new model advantageous, as agencies will be able to eliminate the mark-up, produce content more efficiently, and pass the savings onto the brands. Brands can focus that saved capital on paid media, reaching more consumers in key demographics.
In short, the revolution isn’t approaching; it’s here now. Brands that ignore the new paradigms will fall by the wayside. Those that embrace the future by producing compelling and sharable content will come out on top. Likewise, agencies that can partner with brands to provide these innovative production services will thrive in this new landscape.