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Modernising the Traditional Agency Model into the 21st Century

Modernising the Traditional Agency Model into the 21st Century

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Grant Munro, SVP of Shutterstock Custom discusses the current landscape of branded content and why the traditional model needs to change.

Brands can now engage with consumers in more ways than ever before. Image-led social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, require regular fresh content meaning there is a greater production demand. However, it can be a challenge for brands to keep up with the ever-growing need for content creation without it impacting upon quality and relevance. Brand marketers are now expected to create content faster, at the same high quality of what’s always been expected and be able to put it into the different types of media channels we’re using today. 

Linear production models are outdated

Traditional creative models, which allowed brands to produce a handful of large pieces of content in a calendar year, are no longer scalable. Many internal marketing teams lack the capability to produce that content and those same limitations restrict the amount that can be outsourced. The linear production process for content takes too long and is expensive. In traditional methods, brands may not finalise a brief with an agency for three weeks, whereas modern agency models can see the final assets produced within this same period. 

Marketers have traditionally partnered with agencies to produce content for their campaigns. But in 2019, the relationship between brands and consumers is far more complex, and therefore for brands and agencies too. A one-off promotional campaign is incapable of retaining an audience’s attention over the long-term. One-off ads are not effective tactics in digital marketing.

The challenge for brands is how to produce custom content at scale without breaking the budget. Demands for content continuously outweigh internal capabilities, often requiring brands to leverage agencies to scale production. Unfortunately, as demands for more content rise, so too does the amount of time, resources, and money marketers must spend to manage the production of all that content.

The changes to traditional marketing models open doors to those agencies which can deliver high-quality, powerful creative content, in a variety of formats, all under one roof. A smartly integrated agency will help save the brand money, automatically making them a preferred choice. 

Agencies can offset and combat some of the costs and challenges of producing multiple variations and volumes of content for a brand by offering more services and incorporating more agile solutions into their creative processes, making the agency an attractive partner for brands. 

Agile working for content creation

Implementing an agile way of working can help improve the overall productivity of content creation, allowing agencies to deliver to brands faster and more consistently. Agile is iterative and encourages creativity. Without needing to spend too long on a single idea, an agile approach allows agencies to constantly ship and create and test new ideas – the benefit is it means agencies can constantly learn whilst working and understand as the process grows where to invest more money. Technology has come a long way in supporting content creation platforms to produce more content at faster, scalable, and more affordable rates.

Tap into a global network

In order for a traditional London agency to create a global brand campaign for a client, it may require teams to be sent across the globe to capture content as defined in the campaign brief. The costs induced from flights and accommodation alone can mean agencies spend a substantial proportion of their budget before the shoot even begins. The infamous downfall of Fyre Festival was significantly impacted by the cost of the creation of the promotional video. The team flew out the whole crew to the Bahamas and blew their budget on models, yachts and extravagant parties. Shutterstock created its own mock promo video at a fraction of the price, costing just $2062 and taking just a day to produce. The video highlights to agencies a far more affordable and feasible way of creating branded content, without the need of sending people to the location and without the overall impact being disturbed. 

For agencies to thrive in 2019 and into the future, they need to tap into and collaborate with a global network of creatives situated in locations around the world, in an agile manner. Partnering with international photographers, videographers and creative professionals helps manage costs and reduces the time needed to create content, as they are already in the market and quickly fulfil the brief. As a result, agencies can reallocate the budget and resources to produce even more seasonal or promotional content for a client. A more agile approach enables agencies to streamline the workflow of any project 

Agencies must adapt and evolve in order to help brands work at scale. The highly debated ‘death of the agency’ doesn’t need to become a reality if they can adjust to a more modern model of working that the ever-changing world demands.

 

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Grant Munro

Grant Munro

    Grant is the senior vice president of Shutterstock Custom (formerly CEO of ​Flashstock Technology), a custom content creation platform for the world’s leading brands. In his role as CEO and co-founder of Flashstock, Grant has helped more than 250 enterprise marketing teams, including AB InBev, L'Oréal, Nestlé, and McDonald's amongst many others change the way they think, develop, and source creative content at scale. Grant and his team has built a new breed of technology in the Content-as-a-Service category that leverages a global marketplace with SaaS-enabled capabilities. He has worked with a number of brands in a senior capacity including Coca-Cola, JP Morgan Chase, and Amway.

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