This week's blog comes from Pat MacFie, Global Director of Media at Xero. It was first posted on Pat's Linkedin, and reposted here with permission.
As a whippersnapper, learning my craft in the video industry 20 something years ago one of the first things I recognised was the importance of the production process in delivering an incredible end outcome. I'm a firm believer that the greater your command of the infinitesimal detail of the process, combined with your expertise in the craft, the greater your potential for video success.
While the tools and channels may have changed, the process at its essence remains the same, the great advantage in the current era of video production however is the ability to structure your production processes to create high quality content at scale and then in REAL TIME (caps for emphasis), test, iterate and launch that content into highly targeted audiences anywhere in the world… Wait… what? Did you just say in REAL TIME? You bet your Grandma's secret brownie recipe I said it.
If you're waiting weeks, or even days, to review your campaign’s performance you need to overhaul your entire production processes immediately. In a moment I'll share the production process I’ve been working on, but first let me explain why I think you need to change the way you’re producing video content.
I've built several large social communities in my time (haven't cracked the 1mil mark yet though #lifegoals) and like most dedicated community builders I've lived and breathed every comment, follow and share like it was my last. I tweaked, tested, launched and relaunched relentlessly and know exactly what it feels like to chase your next engagement like an absolutely ravenous beast in tireless pursuit of a hack or insight that’ll give you an edge.
Now contrast that against the way I’ve observed brands going after their video content goals, entangling themselves in protracted processes, often with equally large and unwieldy agencies, and it's at that point that you begin to understand why creators, the really good media channels, and the best production companies are running rings around most brands.
Now throw this into the mix for good order — If they haven't already, your smartest competitors are in the midst of an extreme production makeover the outcome of which will be highly honed, highly targeted, high quality content (that’s a lot of highs) produced at a cadence that you can’t comprehend, the combined effect of which has the potential to render your existing video efforts irrelevant in the blink of an eye, and at the very least leave you flummoxed, dumbfounded as they sail off over the horizon; Destination: Video Utopia.
In my opinion, the brands who win at video in the near future will be enabled by the type of production process I'm going to share with you below.
I call this the Bedroom approach, BDRM for short. It’s definitely a work in progress and some bits I haven’t quite nailed yet, so I’d love any feedback you might have, however once rolled out in its entirety it has the potential to provide brands with a production framework that enables them to hustle just as hard as the best Creators whilst still ticking all the boxes typically associated with more complex brand campaign production.
BDRM is an acronym for Brief, DAM (Digital Asset Management), Review and Media (Social). The central tenet to this approach is having all four of these elements integrated into a single platform. Okay let’s break it down:
1. Your Integrated creative toolkit
While it’s essential to have your BDRM apps on a single platform, I also recommend that your other creative and project management tools have the ability to integrate directly into your Bedroom as well as each other. Most important is the ability for your creative tools, which in most instances will consist of various Adobe Creative Cloud apps, to be able to save work directly into your Bedrooms DAM.
Keeping the brief front and centre throughout this process is key, your Bedroom should allow all stakeholders in the production (client and creative side alike) to be able to review and contribute to the brief. From a practical perspective your campaign ID and requirements from the brief should feed directly into your Project Management Application where the specific tasks are allocated to your creative team for completion. This is also where time on the project can be tracked for budgeting purposes. Ideally your project management application will integrate into your creative suite so you can track time from inside the creative tools you’re working on e.g. Premiere, illustrator or After Effects.
This is where things start to get exciting. In the Bedroom production approach your DAM is so much more than a searchable database of digital assets. It’s the central point of interaction and communication for all stakeholders (creatives, marketers, clients and planners) focused around the creation and performance of specific creative assets. Where the Bedrooms DAM is fundamentally different to traditional asset management applications is that it has the ability to:
a. Save directly from your creative tools
I touched on this earlier but your DAM and creative tools need to be integrated so you can save your content directly from your creative tools to your DAM. This establishes the ability to collaborate and iterate on creative in real time.
You should be able to review and provide feedback on Video, Audio and Image files.
c. Advert creation
You should be able to attach a creative asset in the DAM to a advert/ campaign created within your Bedroom.
d. Performance Data
Your advert/campaign performance data needs to surface alongside specific creative assets in your DAM.
In addition to the traditional review features based around feedback on creative, the Bedroom approach to review brings together campaign performance data (from Facebook and GDN) for specific digital assets directly into your DAM.
So often campaign performance data becomes locked up in planning silos and doesn’t surface until midway through a campaign and then again in the post campaign wash-up. This is an absolutely ridiculous approach in a market where speed and responsiveness are a genuine competitive advantage. In the Bedroom production process advertising campaigns are created and monitored at a creative asset level from within your Bedroom allowing all stakeholders in the process to view a specific assets performance, then collaborate in real time on improvements to the creative and/ or audience and redeploy that asset into a new or existing campaign.
So let’s unpack how this all rolls out in practice.
You receive the brief from your client and immediately your entire team has visibility over it, they can feedback into it directly, ask questions, comment etc. Once the brief is locked a project ID is created, the budget is set, and the project is broken into tasks for creative team to execute against. Your Project management app integrates directly into your Creative Cloud applications so you all your creatives can timesheet from directly within the apps they work in everyday (we all know how much creatives love time sheeting), all timesheets are tracked against budget and delivery timelines.
As they progress through the project the creative team saves their most recent version of the job to your DAM, and at specific milestones, make that content available for review by all stakeholders. Once the content is approved the media planner can create and launch a campaign directly to FB or GDN from within your Bedroom and as the campaign rolls out the advert performance data feeds back directly into the DAM and appears alongside the specific creative asset.
All stakeholders can then review the assets performance, and in real time recommend changes to the asset or audience targeting. The editor or designer can then update the creative asset on the spot and the media planner/ marketer can relaunch the asset immediately. No downtime, no lag, just real time content and campaign creation and iteration.
While my use case is a pretty specific one i.e. a global creative team working around the clock, around the world, delivering content for multiple international markets, I think this process will work for any brand or production company that are serious about content production. What’s more important is that it will enable you to out hustle and outperform your competitors with a workflow that enables you to make data informed creative decisions in real time, all day, every day.
Would love any feedback anyone has on this process or to hear about how you’re structuring your production processes to gain an unfair advantage over your competitors.
Want to read more about Xero's video marketing strategy? Check out our in-depth look at how they do video in our massive Xero case study.