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This week, Producers & Procurers iQ will focus on the first three trends, followed by a detailed analysis of the remaining four trends in part 2.
“2020 gave us an opportunity to evolve as an industry – which is a good thing, because I don’t believe that the traditional production model was serving the needs of today’s marketers”– Jillian Gibbs, CEO of APR
For a number of years Advertising Production Resources (APR) has produced a production trends report using their extensive global network of over 200 Subject Matter Experts specializing in video, print, digital, social and experiential production to review the changes that have emerged in the creation and distribution of content and what these trends mean for brands going forward.
This year APR has produced a white paper analysing the major transformations experienced by the advertising production industry during the pandemic in 2020 and defines how content creation will be influenced in the years to come.
The report says that this year’s trends are influenced by the increased demand for more content, innovations in content creation (specifically tailored for ecommerce) and the shift toward centralized marketing operations.
Highlights include the need for more robust digital asset management (DAM) systems, efficient processes to source and on-board fit-for-purpose production partners, and the increasingly vital role of data taxonomy and governance in a modern content creation ecosystem.
The common thread is that marketers must “challenge everything” about traditional content creation in order to stay ahead of the curve and optimize their production efforts for the future.
This week, Producers & Procurers iQ will focus on the first three trends, followed by a detailed analysis of the remaining four trends in part 2. If you can’t wait you can read the full report here.
Turning Up The Volume – Challenging top-to-bottom content production approaches
The industry adapted as the world paused and live-action productions and in-person experiences came to a halt.
McKinsey data shows that in the two months after the pandemic hit, we shifted five years ahead in terms of consumer and business digital adoption. This meant the demand increased and businesses had to think of smarter ways to provide value to customers. In turn, marketing teams needed to find more innovative ways to do the same (if not more) with their tighter budgets. As such marketing has shifted towards middle and lower funnel assets, with a higher volume of social media micro content, ecommerce, CRM, and 1:1 personalized assets.
Top-of-the-Funnel includes broad reach and mass media assets, such as high-end storytelling and purpose-driven content (for example, anthemic campaigns, content around sustainability or DE&I, etc.).
Additionally, APR sees that brands are investing in long-form content to leverage entertainment platforms, as well as increasing purpose-driven content to build consumer communities via earned media. Indeed, they also found, for the first time ever, there is a downward trend in producing high-end television commercials.
This is a trend that APR predicts is for the long term and brands will move away from leading with top-of-the-funnel content, and instead lead from the middle and lower levels to ensure all asset requirements are met within budget to support marketing plans. However, APR does warn that brands should be cautious that this does not jeopardise quality.
Additionally, APR states that brands are investing in long-form content to leverage entertainment platforms, and boosting purpose-driven content to build consumer communities via earned media. Whilst APR praises this work and believes brands will continue to do work around the Sustainability and DE&I space, this will coincide with consumers also expecting more from them and the bar being inevitably raised. The report states that advertisers will become better at raising awareness and taking action to create a more equitable and responsible industry.
Ecommerce: Carts Loaded with Innovation – Challenging outdated ecommerce content production
The way we shopped completely changed in 2020: ecommerce was once a choice, and now it is a necessity. Indeed, from 2019 to Q1 2020, the US ecommerce penetration grew ten years worth in three months.
With this huge shift, APR reports a movement towards more immersive brand experiences.
A key example it cites is Walmart’s Wonder Lab, which offered real-time product discovery through the unboxing and playing with toys in a virtual space. Moreover, virtual social influencers are now common ground for brands such as Calvin Klein and Dior.
As a result, a key content creation trend is that production must completely reinvent itself and shift away from traditional methods towards live streaming, virtual experiences, augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), 360-degree product imaging, interactive video, and immersive product experiences.
APR predicts that social media will have the greatest impact on ecommerce, and the definition of a marketer will thereby shift; an emergence of well-versed professionals combining IT & Marketing will be in vogue and web development skills will be crucial.
With an increased demand for micro content and real-time social commerce optimizations, brands must invest in innovating. So whilst the video gaming industry currently drives virtual and mixed reality content, it seems more and more brands must create personalized screen content and live commerce to remain competitive.
To support this move, technology solutions and a new breed of production companies will emerge. APR suggests that the latter will potentially offer end-to-end solutions and be more willing to commit to volume, creating a higher demand for (and acceptance of) retainer models.
Grand Centralization Station – Challenging product silos
In a world that felt seemingly out of control, APR notes that brands used the pandemic to focus on their content creation and really evaluate about how they could do better.
For instance, APR notes marketers centralizing responsibilities that used to lie with individual agencies, such as managing talent rights and payments, vendor relationships on contracts, music licensing, and stock usage rights. This led to an increase in client-side centers of excellence (COE’s or steering committees), which bring together stakeholders to work more efficiently in asset production. APR predicts COE’s will ultimately be expected to deliver tangible value for today’s marketing organizations and boost synchronicity across different levels.
Additionally, APR has noted a greater utilization of integrated teams, where teams are led by Marketing Operations, and Marketing, Project Management, and Procurement & Sourcing work together to define content development strategies.
With this shift, they have also noted that more brands are engaging with production companies directly (i.e. without using a traditional agency as their sourcing expert): removing the buffer between marketer and supplier, and thereby growing the need to develop governance around expediting supplier payments.
For APR, this dismantling of internal client-side silos allows marketing organizations to connect all five prongs of content creation (media, creative, production, data, and technology) and streamline content creation. This has also coincided with both an increased need for the Agency Management Role within Marketing Operations, which has typically been a role that resides between marketing, procurement, and agency partners, managing the Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) strategy.
With more focus on flexibility and collaboration, APR anticipates a higher demand for procurement tools such as production data collection solutions, RFP tools, and bidding tools. This will better inform sourcing decisions on content creation partners and lead to more data driven approaches.
What these first three trends show is that brands have had to adapt and rethink their models. With good and purpose-driven content becoming essential, all three trends show how brands are keen to innovate to stay relevant.
As APR’s Founder and CEO, Jillian Gibbs, says “2020 gave us an opportunity to evolve as an industry – which is a good thing, because I don’t believe that the traditional production model was serving the needs of today’s marketers”.
You can download the full report here
About APR & APR’s Global Campus.
A global, women-owned and women-led business, Advertising Production Resources (APR) is a content creation optimization consultancy that helps marketers modernize and maximize their creative production ecosystems. APR’s ‘GLOBAL CAMPUS’ provides on-site and virtual training to Advertisers, Agencies and Industry Associations interested in improving their team’s production knowledge, an essential component in optimizing the production process. APR is a faculty member of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) on the subject of advertising production and a partner to the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA). For more information, visit www.aprco.com