A NEW CREATIVE/PRODUCTION PARADIGM

In the past, agency structures adhered to a process in which production was a sequential output of creative development. The evolution of social and digital content has created an environment that benefits from a new way of working. A new generation of talent, a desire for innovation, and improved technology — brought together in the crucible of a demand for efficiency — have given form to a new creative/production paradigm.

illustration by Ron Lent, Creative Director

written by CHRISTINA COOKSEY, Executive Director of Content

For most of our commercial history, TV, print, radio and OOH marketing have dominated as branded message distribution platforms. The ad formats in these spaces are known quantities — rarely changing or innovating. The stasis of these distribution platforms and formats supported a very traditional process in which the idea was developed and then the production of that idea was executed as a separate process.

The explosive growth in the number of consumer touchpoints and the volume of messages required to be relevant to an audience have increased significantly. This, paired with the rapid innovation of digital platforms, has driven the need for a more efficient creative and production process.

Brands need a different approach to content production. One where you can get new work done in days or weeks, rather than weeks or months. One where work can be adapted to the requirements of various formats and emerging platforms, as well as to testing results. One where you can do multivariate testing as easily as you can innovate content for a media format or distribution platform that has never before existed.

Enter the creative/production hybrid.

A creative/production hybrid merges the creative process with the production output. Creative is ideated side-by-side with production talent to innovate and develop content efficiently. The creative/production hybrid uses both the artistic and pragmatic sides of the brain to develop work dynamically. It is responsive to change and challenges the ways things have been done to invent what can be done.

The key change is efficiency: What is the story to tell? What is the best way to tell it? What partners/specialists are needed to create the story? All the same considerations (talent, location, casting, wardrobe, art direction, post production, audio…) are made, they are just made in a parallel space. The approach allows high quality content to be delivered more quickly AND more cost efficiently. The saying “affordable, fast or good — pick two” is blown wide open, allowing you to deliver on all three.

Getting credit for digital innovation is an important criterion for most brands in the space, but creating for digital platforms is more complex. Facebook best practices may change mid-campaign. A new Snapchat ad format may be released while you’re mid-production and you may add We Heart It to the social strategy in the middle of a major program. The accessibility of creative technology allows makers to create and innovate with an unprecedented level of quality. With the availability of affordable commercial-quality equipment, a spark of an idea can rapidly turn into a polished execution. The walls of experimentation have been knocked down.

In a traditional production process, ideas and opportunities can get lost in a cloud of time and budget. Working within a creative/production hybrid facilitates experimentation, encourages optimization and allows brands to be first to market when new opportunities arise.


THE TAKEAWAY

As they find themselves needing to create more nuanced stories for more targeted/niche audiences, brands need a production solution that allows the specificity of the story to evolve fluidly along with the creative. A creative/production hybrid is nimble, efficient at the core and encourages brand innovation in a digital environment that rewards speed to market.