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The New Era of Production Decoupling

26th July 2020
Reading time 3 min

The New Era of Production Decoupling

As production decoupling models progressed, production houses began offering their services directly to clients, arguing that direct collaboration would guarantee centralised management, consistency throughout the brand and measurable efficiency. A critical need in global communications was language services that measured up to demands on a local level, but could also be adapted on a global scale. Thus, “implementation agencies” sprang up to fill this gap. Currently, the relationship between clients, creative agencies and implementation agencies is moving forward. With the need to have “always on” campaigns, the distinction between creative services and production is becoming increasingly obsolete. And since campaigns can now be based on demographics and browsing histories, there is no longer a gap between developing and deploying a campaign.

”There has also been a growing trend in production decoupling regarding how companies collaborate with their branding and creative production agencies.”

A new look for agency’s marketing departments

Additional devices + Multiple media channels + Multiple touch points -> Increased targeting

Additional IT solutions + Real-time data -> Adaptive marketing

Increased content -> Automated mass production

There has also been a growing trend in production decoupling regarding how companies collaborate with their branding and creative production agencies. Decoupling models not only authorise the transfer of media buying to media agencies but production houses have also taken artwork responsibilities from creative agencies. So, today’s decoupling might involve a process where clients employ smaller creative production agencies to work with their main, ideation agency. The smaller agency works alongside the tier-one agency to implement the particulars of every asset, such as dimensions for banner ads, etc. This allows the client to build the best working team in terms of effective planning, strategy, ideation, production and execution.

However, it should be mentioned that this model only works when the smaller agency understands the ins-and-outs of the brand and reflects on the guidelines on a meaningful level. This does not only include setting the logo in the right place, or choosing the right colours, but also putting thought into the style, tone of voice and overall essence of the brand.

Another driver for production decoupling is the fact that brands, these days, need an increasing amount of content. Video, for example, is a key player in consumer engagement and brands are looking to their agencies to deliver more and more meaningful assets. However, budget constraints, being what they are, force brands to create more with less. Innovative solutions, like centralised document management platforms, i.e. “digital asset libraries” for all media – including TV, print, digital, brand guidelines and so on – can offer companies a web-based solution that allows collaboration, efficient production and even copy transcreation. The “people, process and technology” consolidation approach helps to meet cost constraints, brand consistency and speedy distribution on a global scale.

Gone are the days when production departments were tucked away in a basement, far away from clients. Today’s specialist production houses are evolving from simply creating artworks to making sure that all brand assets over print, digital and broadcast are rolled out in target markets quickly, effectively and at the greatest cost per value. This approach also allows clients to directly communicate their own creative ideas, and get them produced and distributed on a global scale.

Clients are demanding more control, efficiency and transparency over their creative campaigns. And because many traditional agency models are bound by vertical organisational silos, internal margins, compensation structures that cater to billable hours over expertise and a “best-in-house” over “best-in-class” approach – they certainly do not give way to transparency expectations from clients. Since creative agencies have not become more agile to clients’ needs, decoupling production has become an inevitable practice.

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