Opinion: Storytelling + Technology – a winning combination for brands in 2021?

Lakshmi Rebecca on storytelling and technology

Lakshmi Rebecca from Red Bangle sheds light on how technology can be an enabler for storytelling for brands during the changing times.

What’s storytelling got to do with technology? A LOT – especially if it is in the format of a video.

From an ad film to a documentary, even a corporate film or an explainer – making a video involves many moving parts. The number of people involved ranges anywhere between a few people to a few hundred people – coming together to create something awesome. Each individual brings a specific skill set: a researcher, a scriptwriter, a director, a music composer, an editor – these are just a few examples. And every video is about collaboration – at micro and macro levels.

So, when you talk about technology that enables the video production process and various levels of collaboration: the discussion doesn’t need to start and stop around a movie like Baahubali – where production was distributed between specialist studios across geographies. I believe that technology that enables storytelling can trickle down to every video a business ever makes. And it can be about:

  • Crowd-sourcing specialist crews
  • Democratization of project assets
  • Enabling creativity and creative direction
  • Streamlining commerce
  • Process efficiencies, and more.

Understanding the Problem: The Client Perspective

With close to a million minutes of video crossing the Internet per second, growth-focused brands are investing in video-driven communications like never before. From brand marketing, pre-sales, and public relations to talent acquisition, organizational development, and even board meetings: 81% of businesses today use video to fuel their communication engine.

But when it comes to creating videos across formats and geographies: these enterprises hit a wall.

The video market – like the erstwhile cab and hotel market – is highly unorganized with a wide range of format-focused and location-specific small and medium service providers. While being boutique works beautifully for the creative folks, this ecosystem poses a challenge to large enterprises who need videos across locations and formats, and to communications teams who are constantly pressed for time.

Technology as a Unifier

Pre-production

Businesses have been working in an agency-vacuum: big-picture thinking around aligning marketing objectives to video formats and budget spends has typically been one-sided. This creates a gap between strategy and creative execution. A technology unifier that bridges this gap – centralizing assets such as research and benchmarking dockets, creative briefs, and production plans, could be a game-changer.

Production

While companies such as the Colorado-based Crew Connection and the Florida-based ProductionHub bridge the gap between one-off video projects and finding specialist consultants to execute them, enterprise customers operate at economies of scale. Curation is always going to be a real-time challenge. There is also the added problem of clarity with regards to tech-riders and spec sheets.

Outlining equipment lists, location-specific documentation, ensuring the production effort is aligned to the overall project purpose, and more – information exchange has historically happened in silos.

Post Production

There’s another critical piece of the puzzle. A large quantum of information exchange happens at the edit table. As crazy as it may sound – I have personally seen briefs change while a project is nearing the finish line. The medium for this information exchange – back and forth over mails and calls – is a problem that’s worth solving for.

Shotgun By Autodesk and Cage are fantastic examples of production management solutions that are making a difference in this space.

Also read: Opinion: The time for regional content & creators is now and here

Let’s Put This into Context

Let’s take, for instance, an enterprise that needs 10 different videos for marketing their latest SAAS product. These would vary across genres, formats, and geographies. This business would require a team that tackles a lot of different pain points, ranging from brand-alignment, business and communications understanding, creative quality control to project management, a curated network of crews, and more.

A busy marketing manager is not going to want to sit and pick the right crew for the next shoot or even the right scriptwriter for the next video. But they would be happy to pay the right price for professional production and project management at scale.

Video production was always highly collaborative. The right technology can bring in a lot of efficiencies, and solve a bunch of different problems. Some of these are:

  • Discoverability: It takes a lot of time to find the right creative people and bring a team together to create something new. Technology can help curate and connect the right creatives with the right opportunity and offer brands a wide variety of creatives to work basis – format, mood, genre, industry, and location.
  • Reviews: Cloud-based solutions can make the life of every editor and every reviewer easier. There are some great cloud review tools. For e.g., Frame.io and Lookat.io
  • File Management: Whether it’s the video production teams or the brands commissioning videos, a collaborative cloud storage solution such as The Adobe Experience Manager Assets can streamline asset exchange – saving time, effort, and capital.
  • Commerce: With dozens of individuals and small studios collaborating on a single video project for one enterprise – figuring the commerce piece and payment processes is important. There are usually many bills to deal with on any given project. The technology could help the creative folks focus on the execution and get paid on time – without follow-ups needed; and help the two-sided marketplace function efficiently at scale.
  • Production Workflow Management: Remember when I referred to videos as an amalgamation of various moving parts? I wasn’t just talking about visuals and music. I was also referring to the many people whose expertise is required to create one video. Scheduling all of these people, bringing them all together in the same place, across locations and time zones, getting them the documentation required for a shoot, etc. can be an absolute nightmare if there isn’t one centralized platform that allows all these functions.

While we’ve made significant strides in building a platform that plugs a huge gap in the market, I believe we have a long journey ahead of us – fortifying technology and introducing newer features as times change. So, here’s to revolutionizing storytelling – one byte at a time.

This article piece is authored by Lakshmi Rebecca, Co-Founder, and Chief Video Partner, Red Bangle.


Comments