Video production is a potentially lucrative and rewarding sector. Video content is a key part of our digital landscape, and businesses are keen to include it as part of their marketing, training, and overall branding efforts. Not to mention that to punch through the noise of the competition, there are opportunities to be creative.
Our accessible technological age has also meant that creating small and startup video production agencies are a valid prospect. With knowledge, a flexible approach to production business strategy, and relatively little capital, you can make an impact on the industry. Indeed, boutique production companies are capable of being successful by specializing in a niche area of production. However, that doesn’t mean to say that small production companies shouldn’t be taking tips from the big houses.
You’ll find that many of the elements that help to make the top studios successful can be transferred to a smaller scale. By examining some of the key principles that keep larger agencies on top, you can better understand how you can adjust and implement them for your own needs. These best practices have often been instrumental in getting the big players where they are today and keeping them at the top of their game. Perhaps they can do the same for you. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Most of us can shoot a simple video on our smartphones. However, this doesn’t often make for a necessarily watchable or professional product. This isn’t a tech issue, either. The reason clients choose to hire video production agencies isn’t because studios have access to better video equipment. It’s because production professionals have the expertise to make something great. From creative writers to producers who are organizational ninjas, the best agencies are largely where they are because they commit time and capital to creating the best teams.
Bear in mind that there are long-held societal misconceptions that a fancy 4-year degree is an indicator of talent and practical ability. Yet the truth is this has more to do with a prejudice against blue-collar jobs in favor of C-suite professions. As such, it isn’t particularly relevant to video production hiring. While production is not exactly a trade in the traditional sense, top production companies recognize that there should be a similar emphasis on favoring candidates who have gained real-world practical experience or are willing to engage in hands-on training.
Conducting regular talent searches outside of the usual industry job listing sites is also common among top production agencies. Editors, animators, designers, camera operators are increasingly showcasing their personal projects on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Taking time to search relevant hashtags on these platforms can provide opportunities for agencies to scout fresh voices who have diverse perspectives. Many also implement internship schemes to nurture talent, while passing on the high standards of their business.
A focus on talent is not just about acquisition, but also retention. After all, there is no shortage of agencies out there. Golden Wolf, an animation production agency with offices in London and New York, believes that its employees can only do their best work in an inspiring work environment, with a close-knit family culture. It’s important to invest not just in the technical needs of your staff, but also the mental and emotional aspects that will empower them to thrive.
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The top video production agencies are more than just tools of the marketing and creative industries. They are teams of skilled craftspeople who understand the technical and theoretical grammar of their craft. They use this to take a specific message and communicate it through an engaging storytelling process. The most effective studios tend to apply this principle to everything they do.
So, what do we mean by storytelling? Well, it’s more than applying a traditional narrative to the videos that agencies are creating. It’s understanding that clients — whether these are big brands, or mom-and-pop stores — have unique fingerprints. As such, this needs to be a part of the product you create. Any advert, training video, or viral content needs to not just serve the intentions of the project, but also to tell a piece of the client’s story, too. Focus in this area is important because when done well, it demonstrates that the video production agency has taken the time to understand who the client is and that these important aspects of their identity are being respected. Caring about the client is a key trait of excellent customer service, and attention here can lead to positive reviews and feedback that the next potential client will notice.
It’s equally important to note that top video production companies also devote time and energy to telling their own stories. After all, what’s the use of engaging in a narrative-rich medium if you don’t also use it to build your own brand? This is usually applicable to most of the methods that production companies use to gain the best leads. Social media is a good venue for behind-the-scenes videos, and interviews that give insights into the people who creatively and technically contribute to projects. The website can be used to showcase a portfolio of works — both commissioned and proprietary — that help to show off the agency’s unique visual and technical perspectives. This continued commitment to storytelling is useful in improving general awareness of what it is you do, and why businesses should hire you.
Pipeline for Efficiency
Even small video productions have multiple moving parts at any given time. As such, top video production agencies tend to reach the pinnacle of the industry and stay there because they have efficient organizational processes in place. This pipeline doesn’t just take into account production itself, either. The standardized workflow runs from client contact, all the way through to post-delivery reporting.
It’s important to note that while the pipeline should be robust, there is a definite need to be flexible. After all, each client’s needs will be different, and as such the elements of the pipeline will be dependent upon the project. That said, there are limited variables, and the ability to slot elements in and out of the process as needed should be built into its design in any case. In fact, one of the tasks you should be undertaking before you start your company is market research. This can not only help to influence the direction of your business, but also give you insights into what the various needs of your clients will be, and help you design your pipeline accordingly.
The key to any efficient pipeline is the right leadership. Producers in the top video production agencies are skilled project managers. They are involved at almost every stage of the pipeline: making certain the team is operating on time and on budget while liaising with the client to ensure a smooth, stress-free collaboration. One of their most important roles is to help the pipeline adjust when challenges arise, and as such it’s vital to bring on leaders who are not just efficient and organized, but agile.
Video production is an opportunity to bring creative visual concepts to commercial spaces. But it’s not always easy. New agencies and start-ups should look to common practices of top firms — discover and nurture great talent, always be telling a story, and strive for efficiency. These aspects are often scalable, and can be implemented during your early days of business, and nurtured on your road to success.