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'Production strategy' joins media and brand strategy as a new discipline agencies are adopting.

Posted on July 2, 2020

There’s a New York all-news radio station that tells its listeners, “You give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world.” Well, here at Simian we like to say, “You give us 61 minutes, we’ll show you where production is headed.

That’s how long it’ll take you to watch “Making Sense of Agency Production and Partnerships in 2020,” the global Heads of Production panel discussion video published this week on LBB Online. Produced in partnership with Little Black Book, this Simian-sponsored event takes a look at the evolving role of the agency Chief Production Officer and explores how it’s impacting the way agencies and brands work with independent production and post production vendors. It’s a fascinating conversation that reveals some seismic shifts in the way major advertisers are looking at the making of ad content.

Our panel included Steffen Gentis, Chief Production Officer of BBDO Germany; Kerry Hill, Director of Production, FCB North America; Tanya LeSieur, Head of Production and Associate Partner, MUH-TAY-ZIK / HOF-FER; Sergio Lopez, Chief Production Officer, McCann London and Managing Director, Craft Europe; and Isadora Chesler, Director of Production, RPA.

Expertly moderated by LBB Founder Matt Cooper, the panel took a deep-dive look at how these Heads of Production are dealing with what Sergio Lopez called “the new production ecosystem.” Of particular value to the production and post community is how these executives see their departments – which had already started to evolve significantly even before the pandemic radically altered the advertising landscape – are interacting with their rosters of trusted independent production and post production vendors.

What came out of the panel was the insight that clients are increasingly looking for what several panelists described as ‘production strategy,’ which represents a more holistic view of how a brand’s content is going to get made, versus the more linear approach of ‘storyboard, bid, award, shoot’ that used to be the norm. “That’s where the role of the Chief Production Officer comes in, and where the conversation gets elevated,” Lopez continued.

Once this approach has been established, added FCB’s Kerry Hill, departments often turn to their outside vendors “to help us amplify, extend or build on this,” but by then it’s entirely possible a considerable amount of work has been produced or posted by internal units or teams.

Matt Cooper’s contribution to this dialogue was considerable; more than just posing a series of revealing and relevant questions, and keeping the discussion and viewpoints fresh and varied, he interviewed all of the panelists in advance, making the conversation more compact and allowing the panel to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short period of time. And the video is accompanied by a news story that recaps many of the key points expressed by the panel participants; it’s well worth reading for anyone concerned about where this new production ecosystem is heading.

This LBB/Simian panel is the first in what we plan as a series that will take our Heads of Production Roundtables – we’ve done 10 of them over the past two years in cities across the US – and open them up to a wide audience of viewers, both on the agency and production sides. Future LBB/Simian panels are in the works that will examine this new landscape from the production and post production company POVs, as well as one that will pair production and post company owners and EPs with their agency counterparts – and that one should be interesting!

Simian’s role in sponsoring this content is clear: more than just a video sharing and collaboration service, we’re apostles for working smarter and more efficiently. Our goal is to provide not just the tools to be able to do this, but actionable knowledge and insight as well. We’re proud to play a part in helping make content like this available to the industry, and we welcome comments, suggestions and recommendations.

And for those who feel working smarter is the key to surviving in this new age of partnerships, we have one more bit of insight: try a Simian free trial and see how it helps streamline your workflow, boost your sales capabilities and arm you with more analytics than any other provider. Then let’s talk about how we can apply our ‘Work Simian Smart’ mindset to your company.