We’re at a point in digital transformation where we are no longer worried about filling channels with content, and instead obsessing to find content that works; works to inform, engage, connect, inspire, drive loyalty, shareability and even sales. This demand for results-driving assets and experiences that are authentic and personal to countless audiences is in turn shaping a new type of production – one that combines precision, pixel-perfection, speed and requires a new type of experiment-and-break-the-mold mentality.
As a production partner, these client and consumer demands are pushing us to operate like a start-up in order to best respond to real-time marketing and digital-first worlds. This means much more than finding ways to move super quickly, rather we’re challenged to produce experiences that move people, that have humanity at the core, are informed by powerful insights and created with cutting-edge production technology.
We hear the phrase “start-up mentality” often but have little understanding of what it actually means. It’s not just working fast with little red tape, it’s about the notion that the world is possible, all you have to do is go after it and make it happen.
As producers this is the exact brief we receive every day – we’re asked to just make it happen, no matter the complexity or scale. The key to that is having the creativity, courage and data to make decisions about what works and what doesn’t and take action to make a change whether it impacts the creative, strategy or process.
Here’s 5 tips for applying this agile mentality and operating approach to the way you tackle content production and experience creation. With these foundational elements in their back pocket marketers, producers, editors and business leaders are empowered to work and think in a completely new way.
- Eliminating bottlenecks – seems obvious, but we recently had an RFP from a Fortune 500 brand that included the question “how will you avoid bottlenecks.” They are a reality whether we like it or not, and they need to be eliminated. Whether that means addressing operational issues, taking better control to implement change management or embracing a completely new way of working, but ultimately the key to avoiding bottlenecks is human accountability. Look at your ways of working and critically ask how you can remove barriers to collaboration and action taking.
- Simplify and continually edit – Iteration is the name of the game. In a world where content is ranked by engagement rates, shares, and likes, creating content for the sake of it it’s no longer an option. Once we launch our first pieces of content, it is imperative to analyze its results, validate ideas and iterate what is working (and discard what’s not). Production is no longer the last stop on the ideation process, but rather should have a seat at the table from Day 1 to start conversations, inspire innovative ways of producing ideas and propel the brand to new levels of awareness.
- Enable learning from each other. – Startups are based on cooperation, and siloes do not exist. This mentality is key for combining a wide range of expertise on every step, driving casual epiphanies that would not be possible if teams are isolated. We focus all of our expertise on bringing the best content to life when we should also think about how to get the best teams involved in the ideation phase early in the process. An initial meeting between procurement, marketing experts, producers, media, and creatives could be the perfect recipe for a groundbreaking vision that could ultimately lead to a successful campaign.
- Technology. – Working with big teams and brands, we perceived technology as a means to an end. In startups, where resources are scarce, technology is an essential ally to bridge the gap between goals and actions. As we are receiving more proposals that involve remote collaboration between global teams, creating content at scale, and pairing data with execution, we find technology will be an essential partner to our creative and production solutions thanks to richer BI analysis.
- Tackle the hardest projects head-on – in a start-up there is no question when it comes to adopting new ways of working even when it doesn’t seem like the easiest. In matrixed or global companies often we are so good at making our own obstacles, when we should realize these are the key opportunities for growth. It is a matter of seeing the opportunities in the challenges, as opposed to challenges in the opportunities.
While establishing these working conditions might seem ideal, today we have no more time to separate ideal from reality; we need to work together as an industry to really change the way we do things and put humanity first. This is essential to truly unlocking transformation.
You can have the data, the tech and the commitment to creative excellence, but without changing the way you think about production and adopting a new mindset operationally, it is nearly impossible to make all of those elements sing together to deliver effective content that connects people and brands. At production, we are naturals doers, solvers, and entrepreneurs: Now it’s time to empower this vision, roll up our sleeves, and build the future together.
Alireza Mohammadian is Client Operations Director at Craft Spain. He built his career working in marketing at startups and multi-national firms. His initial steps on this journey included working with some of the best marketers in the industry who shared their rigor and thorough processes together with a firm belief in informed decision-making. After 17 years in the advertising industry handling top international and local brands as Regional Director he decided to apply his knowledge in a more hands-on role as Marketing Director for Afflelou Spain where he managed the marketing strategy, media buying and digital/instore activities for over 300 stores. Eager to continue his learning curve in a very different environment he then took on a new challenge as CMO of a startup were he developed the brand vision and manifesto that inspired all the brand communications and fund-raising activities awarded Best Startup in the Madrid Mobile Summit 2017.