The digital video revolution and the explosive proliferation of web channels are requiring a paradigm shift in how marketers need to go about creating, producing and delivering advertising and related brand content.
Increasingly, marketers are realizing that they need to be more agile and adept at creating, producing and publishing with widely varying creative, format and production requirements. And as they produce more content in more and different formats, marketers are recognizing that the creative and production functions need more than ever to be seamless, agile, and adaptive in partnership in order both to ensure consistent cross-channel brand messaging and to control costs.
As we embrace this world of changes with our clients, we see this new global content paradigm being divided into three core content levels.
On one level are the major advertising commercial and film executions that require significant budgets and longer ideation and production considerations. This is the traditional domain which will continue to play a high value role in marketing strategy, together with the creative and production functions.
A second level is the growing world of online, embedded and experiential videos, such as corporate videos, brand messaging, and web and gaming content as well as promotional events, trade shows, and the in-store retail environment. In these cases, the audiences are more targeted and the channel is not necessarily an advertising one (although, in some cases, it will amplify a campaign). But while the content itself may not strictly be advertising and may not run for as long, it still needs to be developed within the overall consistency regarding brand image and voice, and importantly, capture the interests of its targeted audience. This category of work must be cost-effective and produced in short time frames and at scale.
The third level is that of responsive videos that typically function as part of a social dialogue. They are opportunistic in nature, but require a readiness model that is equipped for continual output. The content might be as brief as a snap for Snapchat, or it could be a topical response to current events. The shelf life could last for just an hour or months but, regardless of duration, consistent brand tone is vital. And a production model that delivers cost-effectiveness is essential given the number and types of outputs that are being produced.
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While the top level will continue to be a cornerstone for the foreseeable future, in the world of digital platforms, the more targeted, short-lived content for the other two levels are now table stakes. This is unlike any other period in marketing. These are approaches that reflect a digital environment in which changes — including cultural changes and consumer opinions — are occurring rapidly, requiring 24/7 engagement and responses that must be built into a dynamic marketing/brand strategy. And without a highly coordinated production component, marketers risk a loss in control of cost and, as significantly if not more so, the identity and meaning of the brand.
Since the multi-screen world is also increasingly a multinational one, how can marketers, especially global and regional ones, best adapt to this complex burgeoning creative era? By embracing the complexity involved in managing and integrating this widening spectrum of content through distributed end-to-end solutions. This includes factoring in the multitude of consumer/constituent touch points for content development in the name of both brand consistency and proper controls over costs.
Marketers also need to recognize the complexity of differences inherent in each platform that could influence the structure of the video itself. While similar content might run on different channels, the storytelling formats themselves may vary. For example, whereas one might need to grab the viewer’s attention almost immediately on Facebook, the storytelling approach could be very different on a platform like YouTube, where viewers are already focused on engaging with the brand. Additionally, programmatic video brings in yet another dimension in that components of the video will be replaced automatically based on consumer habits, gender, region and other data.
As we move further ahead into a marketing world more and more dominated by web-based platforms, we need to recognize that complexity and fragmentation are in the driver’s seat and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. This suggests an evolving role for production agencies to provide marketers with end-to-end agile and distributed solutions they increasingly need to build their brands, whether local, regional or global. Production agencies need to make this a leadership role in helping marketers to successfully manage content in today’s dynamically changing, multi-platform ecosystem.