Production working models are historically built around a location – offshore, content studio, in-house, remote, satellite studio, and the list goes on.

But what we learned during the COVID pandemic is that location doesn’t matter. The pandemic has propelled an existing truth – as creators we need to work in a world without borders, driven by technology.

So, is “offshore” dead because in today’s world, literally everything is remote?

Traditionally, offshore as a method for scaling work that is already established — formulaic and templatized tasks that can be executed far away without concern of misdirection or lack of quality. A way of working that allows for exponential cost and budget savings.

With the rise of digital channels, what was originally seen as an economically smart decision favored by procurement, evolved to a strategic model to bringing content to life. But the talent pool exists all over the world, the right technology connects us and allows for global creation and collaboration to play the lead in content creation. Offshore can handle more than low-cost, duplicative work.

During COVID, one of our CPG clients needed new content for the US Market. Due to COVID restrictions, the US-based marketing team was not able to hold a shoot in market as they normally would. We took an alternative approach and asked why not produce this in Thailand where there are fewer restrictions? Our team in Bangkok was able to procure ex-pat talent, hold the shoot and deliver quality content. The client was connected the entire time via remote shooting technology and WhatsApp. This should be happening all the time, not just in jam. Our teams in India shoot on location for local and foreign clients, our teams in Europe reply on talent in Latin America, and more. There is so much connectivity to every part of the globe.

What’s more – if the local talent does not reflect the target demographic for a piece of content, we can use technology to make emotionally and culturally intelligent edits in post-production. Imagine being able to not just changing a voice over, but the mood, voice AND physical appearance of talent via automation. Suddenly it truly does not matter where content is produced, and we are able to help clients meet their needs of diverse, inclusive and authentic content for countless demographics.

The New Meaning of Offshore
Applying a traditional view of offshore limits your flexibility and the potential of your asset strategy.

We’ve learned an important lesson: it’s possible to make beautiful and effective content with a team that is multiple timezones away. The world is a lot smaller than we think and we can trust teams to produce quality work at home or in the office, locally or otherwise. The key to enabling this is leveraging technology and processes to drive quality, efficiency and scale.

Clients come to us asking how to keep up with the demand for assets, deliver authentic experiences locally, while maintaining a level of global consistency, all in a cost-effective model. We rarely find the answer is one single strategic command center and one offshore team to back it up. This model does not deliver on authenticity and is not able to keep up with the real-time need for assets.

Instead of a two-pronged approach of corporate center and offshore, the following attributes are key to building an effective content studio model:

  • Custom teams and models built to support the varying levels of digital marketing sophistication across brands or regions
  • One consistent process and technology platform to unite multiple teams, deliver transparency and set one way of working to allow for easy collaboration across time zones
  • Robust reporting on production activity to identify opportunities for improved efficiency and effectiveness
  • Regular connection among production, strategy and media teams to refine processes and content strategy

Incorporating these must-haves into your content studio and production model will generate the results that offshore was originally created to address, but in a much smarter way. In the new model that doesn’t rely only on low-cost centers, the cost-savings are driven by: right-sizing support models, asset reuse, bundled production briefs, use of automation/AI to templatize assets at scale, and more.

So moving forward, let’s consider offshore locations as another source of talent to bring an integrated content production process to life, not only a low-cost center.