Media and Entertainment brands are in a unique position in that they have a never-ending pool of content to promote. As streaming services and content platforms become more mature, they are also facing more competition. It’s not enough to just create a platform and hope people decide to subscribe (CNN+ comes to mind). One of the keys to subscriber success is a content strategy that reaches audiences in their own native environment.
“Native” means something different to every person – it can be a social media site, a Smart TV, or a gaming device. The number of platforms to promote this content is ever-increasing, the specs to deliver that content are ever-changing and there is no standardization in sight. So how does a brand not only keep up but win this growing space without a growing budget? Simplify and scale.
To scale efficiently while maintaining brand consistency is not as hard as you may think but creating an Always On content program does require some upfront planning. I have had the benefit of working with a variety of media and entertainment partners along various stages of their journey. These three components have been the differentiators in accelerating their growth:
DOCUMENT: Brand guidelines and templates
The more marketers there are, the more of a need to have a creative touchstone as the single source of truth against which decisions are made. Beyond logo treatments, fonts, and color guidelines, developing a standard for when, where and how to use buttons, CTAs, value propositions, title treatments, etc. all come into play when trying to create a consistent and unified representation of your brand. Some initial testing can help define what becomes your best-in-class design and creating pre-approved template references for each platform significantly reduces the time spent on production itself. Deviations should be the exception, and when they become the norm, it’s time to update your guidelines.
DAM: Production-ready asset library
One of the best ways to maximize continuity and keep costs down is leveraging the same key art across platforms and deliverables. Having hi-res, layered .psd files provides the most flexibility and the least amount of editing effort when manipulating title treatments, characters, and images to fill up each container most effectively. A DAM (Digital Asset Management) platform is the best way to store and share these high-quality assets, providing the right amount of governance and ease of searchability, so that multiple parties can be working from the same master files. Storing your final, retouched artwork also enables re-use, eliminating unnecessary re-work.
DEPLOY: Core plus more
It’s no longer in-house, out-of-house, near or off-shore – successful brands leverage a combination of all with clearly defined tasks and responsibilities for each. Having a dedicated “core team” based on your minimum anticipated volumes and an on-demand “more team” for peaks of activity is the most cost-efficient way to protect for quality control, planned and ad-hoc activity.
- Planned activity with lead time lends itself to an offshore model – low-touch, high volume, follow the sun turn-around.
- High-profile and real-time content, such as movie premieres or sporting events, often has lots of stakeholders and last-minute changes. Having in-house or in-time zone resources is key to making those deadlines achievable.
- A Production Manager is your brand guardian and QA expert, to coordinate across all streams, working “native” in your existing workflow and delivery systems.
True scale is only achievable when you simplify your ecosystem. There will always be changing variables, but control what you can control and do more than just keep up. Some purposeful planning with ongoing performance analysis and optimization helps media and entertainment brands win the content game.
Kristen Martini, Senior Client Partner