Commentary

Content Production And The Agency Of The Future

In the past decade, social media has risen from nothing more than an obscure dorm room pastime to nothing less than a cultural revolution. As the eyeballs of so many influencers and potential consumers continue to turn en masse toward digital content, agencies must embrace new paradigms faster than ever before. Nowhere is this more true than in the area of content production. The agencies that deftly adopt and integrate these new content production models will become the agencies of the future. Those that do not will become Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

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.

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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.

3 comments about "Content Production And The Agency Of The Future".
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  1. Theo Gulland from Userfarm, September 12, 2014 at 6:28 a.m.

    Indeed this is a very valid point!

    Building an in-house studio to meet the needs of advertiser’s content demand is one approach for agencies. This approach is known as “vertical integration” and is the most traditional and expensive. There will always be times when demand for content will outweigh supply and in-house studios will have a limited range of formats. This inevitably resorts to outsourcing.

    Brands and agencies alike are often turning to a smarter production model that engages a global crowd of professional filmmakers, through platforms such as Userfarm. With crowdsourcing, you can really scale your content creation with ease. Quite often we generate tens if not hundreds of videos within a month, for a single brief!

    Not only does this business model provide content quickly, but it’s packed with a wealth of creativity thanks to our crowd of 55k filmmakers. It’s also the most cost effective, allowing savings of 50-70% on the same project vs traditional model.

    We wrote an article about this earlier this week (“The growing pains of video content creation”). You may want to have a look -http://blog.userfarm.com/news-centre-category/marketing/the-growing-pains-of-video-content-creation/5211/

    We have also written an article about “Are crowdsourcing companies taking over agencies?” which may be of interest as well -http://blog.userfarm.com/news-centre-category/social-media/are-crowdsourcing-companies-taking-over-agencies/5195/

    Times have changed. Organisations should reconsider how they operate: vertical integration and outsourcing belongs to the past, crowdsourcing is for the present and the future.

  2. Tom Cunniff from Tom Cunniff, September 15, 2014 at 12:55 p.m.

    I have been predicting for some time now that soon 80% of marketing communication will be either entirely produced by machines or heavily machine-assisted. What's more, marketers will learn to accept that most of this communication will go entirely unseen. The goal will be to always have something new available whenever consumer attention shifts in a brand's direction.

  3. Steve Wood from Boom Ideanet, October 14, 2014 at 3:23 p.m.

    There will likely always be “agencies,” in one form or another. Almost all business models in this new digital world -- particularly in advertising and marketing -- exist on a spectrum of adaptability or agility that also has something to do with how rigid or how flexible they are with disciplines and resources. Boom Ideanet, while not an “agency” may look like the agency of the future. We operate between the full service agency of today and crowdsourcing or even user-generated models, hopefully offering up the best of both worlds in regards to content creation - ideasourcing and production.

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