For quite a while now, there’s been a conflict between the sheer volume of video content expected from brands and the quality of content to which consumers have become accustomed. In other words, consumers want a lot of content and they want all of it to be amazing. Churning out video content with this speed is easier said than done, but as creators, we have a responsibility to create a model that works for us and gives brands and consumers what they want – good content, fast.
Video content is far from the first product to face a shift in consumer expectations like this. In fact, history is replete with examples, perhaps evidenced most famously in the auto industry. With the advent of Henry Ford and the mass production assembly line model, Ford churned out cars of similar quality to the ones already in market, but at a vastly different scale and price. The auto industry was forced to change its processes or risk getting left in the dust. Of course, today, an assembly line model has become the standard in production across industries.
Now, video content has hit this same tipping point and it’s time for content creators to build a new model for the next generation. This model needs to allow content to be produced in volume, month after month. At the same time, that content needs to be high quality, innovative and consistently on brand message. Here are a few keys to putting a new model in place that will do just that:
Embrace the Multiplicity of Platforms
Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Facebook, and YouTube are just a few of the popular platforms that you can bet you’ll need to create content around. I can also guarantee this list is growing and changing as I write this. So, to stay on top of the media evolutions, creatives, strategists, technologists, producers and artists need to embrace the multiplicity of platforms that surround us. This includes everyone on the content team needing to have a rich curiosity for amplifying the brand message in unique ways as new media opportunities present themselves. Content and digital strategists are in the perfect position to feed the team information on these opportunities and should take into account that the right strategy won’t remain stagnant and is likely to grow in complexity.
Not All Content is Created Equal
The categories of content are even more varied than the platforms in which it could appear. Right now, just a few examples of popular content categories include ‘slice of life’, on-camera presenters, animations, and video integrated with still images like cinemographs. The permutations and combinations are daunting for any brand and present a massive challenge to the standard way that agencies and production houses go about producing content.
With video content’s complex iterations encompassing all existing video techniques, it adds multiple delivery requirements as well, including aspect ratios that go from vertical to square to widescreen to VR. In addition, creators have to keep in mind the issue of multilingual content and find a way to bring a message that works across dozens of languages and cultures to the screen. Video integrated into online advertising poses yet another deliverable complexity and video that is customized and narrowcast to individuals requires a different production process entirely. With these factors in mind, the current production model shouldn’t travel from strategy, to testing, to approval, to production, to post production, to deployment, which is what worked well in the days of TV spot production. Today, the deliverable requirements may well be part of the concept, totally dictating the entire process and changing how creators must operate.
Strategy Over Everything
Creative directors, writers, designers and animators are finding themselves in an ever-widening brainstorm and concepting circle. As they work around tight schedules, changing technologies, budget restrictions, varied brand voices, differing strategy goals and client preferences, they have a lot to take into account when building out content. There are endless choices and executions to explore so it becomes paramount to go into every project with a strategic mindset of how to creatively use those options, rather than focusing on one creative idea.
Another way to connect is through asset management and re-purposing systems. Any examples? Using cloud computing, we can now create asset management systems where everyone (including the brand) can easily accesses the content you’re working on. So much content is re-purposed, translated, re-formatted that a great deal of time and money is saved by knowing exactly and quickly what content is available.
Customize Wherever Possible
We need to move beyond audience segmentation and toward viewer customization and personalization. We see segmentation regularly on ecommerce sites where the brand remembers your purchase and search history. We also see it used in re-targeting as online ads serve up advertising that’s tailored to individuals based on their search history. Moving to personalized video is an exciting progression. While it’s now possible to create thousands of permutations, the very specific production of this is a complex and entirely different approach which content creators must work towards.
In the end, producing video content in some ways will always have certain needs. Script, casting, styling, filming, editing and storytelling are all present and important. There is the sheer language of film that is the very stuff that makes a video compelling and watchable but at the core, we need a new process in place to produce content efficiently and smartly.