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By Jim Wallace
As In-House branded content creation has increased significantly so has the number of freelance videographers and platforms. What are the key benefits, tips and watch-outs?
The quality was good and the transparency and value was there with the cost savings ranging from 20% to 40% depending on the type of video and how and where it was produced
Everywhere you turn these days you hear brands talking about the growing shift to freelancer talent to gain the variable flexibility and to enhance the capabilities of both in-house teams and agency partners. Last year the term “gig economy” was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, so, I guess this freelancer movement is now officially – well official. They define it as – economic activity that involves the use of temporary or freelance workers to perform jobs typically in the service sector. A twenty-four-hour Google news search on gig economy returned over one-hundred and seventy articles.
For marketers and sourcing teams looking at video production it means we have more freelancer choices than at any time in marketing history. The rise of marketing freelancer providers such as Upwork, Fiverr, Guru, Creative Circle, and Freelance.com is testimony to this explosion. The choices for brands span from creative directors, to project managers, to photographers, to copywriters, to voice-over talent, to video producers – just to name a few. One of the hottest freelance areas right now is video creation and production which can now be efficiently delivered through crowdsourcing platform agencies.
Yes, yes, I know the specialist video crowdsource companies have been around for a while (they started around 2010) and this industry has certainly gone through some consolidation and attrition (i.e. Poptent/Vizy, Victor & Spoils), but, due to several key factors their service offering is maturing and their use appears to be on the rise.
First is this growing freelance workforce and a gig mentality which is a perfect fit for many in the video production freelance talent chain. These individuals like the flexibility of work and time, along with the freedom to be located anywhere in the world.
Next is both the easier freelancer access to video shooting and editing software combined with improved cloud-based video workflow and project management platforms which make it easier and more transparent for brands to manage video production virtually.
And finally, the simple fact that motion content is king and brands are delivering more videos than ever to meet the communications needs to reach their customers and channels.
Some of the key players in this space you might consider include: 90 Seconds; FLARE; Genero; SmartShoot; Tongal; Userfarm; and Zooppa and there are many more. When talking to these providers be sure to ask for a demo of their platform to understand how your marketers will engage with them. Ask them to send you a range of video types (animation, product feature, training, sizzle/hype, influencer, interviews, presentation filming, etc.) along with the cost of each to gain an understanding of the value equation they can deliver. Be sure to understand the roles and expectations for your marketing teams vs. what the video partner will do to inform on-boarding and training.
When I headed up global agency management at HP Inc., the company started dabbling in crowdsource video production back in 2014. To be candid it was a bit hit or miss for our teams back then, so, we stepped back from it for a while. However, once their offering started to mature, HP started to ramp up the use of the model. By late 2017 and throughout 2018 HP used providers such as 90 Seconds, FLARE, and Genero to execute a wide range of video assets. The quality was good and the transparency and value was there with the cost savings ranging from 20% to 40% depending on the type of video and how and where it was produced in the previous model.
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Key Benefits, Tips and Watch-Outs
So why should you consider it? The key benefits I hear from clients of these platforms are the easy cloud-based engagement platforms including the easy and transparent workflow, the flexibility and speed at which they can take on and deliver projects, the access to a diverse set of global talent, and the value they get in terms of cost and quality. Some of the challenges that come up include: making sure your marketers have strong and clear briefs; that your team is ready for the hands on rigor that it takes on the client-side to make sure the work stays “on brand”; and having a an established and efficient feedback and approval process with the agency to keep the project on track and on time.
If you are new to using a crowdsource video production partner here are some key business engagement watch-outs and tips to consider.
Ownership – Make sure your agency agreement covers your ownership rights, and that the freelance aggregator agency is taking on the responsibility for their 3rd party freelancers.
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Right Cost – Have a sense of video costs by tiers and discuss your expectations with the agency and the marketing teams. Since every video project is a little unique you can’t get to a deliverable based price right away, but you can frame the conversation to help guide it toward the right value.
Hold Some Budget Back – These platforms should deliver some efficiencies so train your marketers to not hand over the entire budget in the brief and have an open dialogue with the agency on what it should cost based on past experience.
Tiered Levels – Get pricing that reflects the level of talent and quality required for the different types of video work. These agencies often have talent tiers ranging from a more junior entry level to highly experienced freelancers.
Future Value – Ask about volume rebate program on a semi-annual or annual basis that can drive efficiency and drive a stronger commitment from both sides.
So, if you haven’t tried a video production crowdsource model as of yet, I would encourage you to discuss it internally and determine your organizations appetite for this new way of working. You can always start with a small project to test it out the intestinal fortitude and see if it is successful and go from there. I hope this was helpful information and I encourage you to get out there and see what the gig economy can do for your sourcing and marketing teams.
About the author
Jim Wallace is a regular contributor to Producers & Procurers iQ on a range of marketing and agency management and operational issues.
Jim is an award-winning global marketer with over 25 years of client-side brand experience delivering campaigns that are both recognized and drive results. He has won a dozen CLIOS including the Grand CLIO, several Cannes Lions, mulitple Gold Effies, and has been named in the Advertising Age Marketing 100.
He is an established leader in marketing operations and agency management who has delivered over $10 million in annual efficiencies for clients. A pioneer in the growing practice of agency management he often speaks on panels, chaired an ANA agency committee for two years, and was chair of the ANA Advertising Financial Management Conference in 2018.
Using his wealth of knowledge and experience Jim founded ASM & Partners, a US-based consultancy focused on understanding client and agency challenges and opportunities.
The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Producers & Procurers iQ or imply endorsement from the publisher