Production companies have risen to the challenge of how to produce in a post lockdown world. Institutions and individuals are busy creating and reassessing protocols in order to shoot in the safest possible way. Without a script to produce, however, that knowledge remains useless.
That’s why it’s equally as important for companies to start reassessing their approach to new business. It seems we need to say goodbye to large group screenings and rosé schmoozing for the immediate future and, without the bells and whistles of burgers and booze, production companies are left with the confronting question: why come to us?
It seems we need to say goodbye to large group screenings and rosé schmoozing for the immediate future.
Covid-19 has shifted the conference room to the sofa. It’s removed the setting for traditional methods such as screenings, lunches, festivals and other generic industry schmooze. These physical locations and events previously set the tone. It was familiar ground and agencies/brands were ready to hear you out as you spruiked your wares. Now combine that with nervous clients, furloughed agency staff and fierce competition from the eight-million new production companies that launched in 2019.
Above: After nailing the showreel screening, Sarah could see the joy and admiration on the creatives faces.
Some will continue on their way, using the tried and tested methods of the past. They may in fact double down on their efforts. They will attempt to transfer their current methods online, inviting people to online showreel screenings, Zoom afterworks and perhaps the odd pair of branded slippers (note to self: make branded slippers). Others will pivot to the wonderful world of webinars. Whether their charm and knowledge can transfer from stage to screen will have to be seen.
For many, however, the inability to adapt will expose a key weakness. Left without the safety of a screening room or a semi-formed agency acquaintance, they will be left unable to answer the simple question ‘why should we come to you?’. The answer needs to be more than just ‘our roster’.
New business, or at least a heightened sense of customer service, will be built into everything [smart companies] do.
The smart ones will adapt. Not only will they adjust their message and discover new methods of attracting awareness, but they’ll also adjust the service they provide. They’ll listen to the agencies and brands concerns and respond accordingly.
New business, or at least a heightened sense of customer service, will be built into everything they do. These are the companies that can put aside their ego and make the production an experience, not an end result. These are the producers and directors who understand the value of existing relationships and the importance of nurturing them.
They are the ones who will make new relationships by providing value, and not just branded tote bags.
Searching for the deeper value you can provide to old and new clients can often be a daunting and difficult thing. But is it something that you can afford not to do? There are of course much smaller and easier steps that can be taken along the way to get the ball rolling (that don’t include making branded slippers...).
- Connect. While it’s important to search out new opportunities, look closer to home. Focus on strengthening your existing relationships. These people know you, they trust you and heck they might even like you. It’s important not to exploit or lean on them. But these are the people who you know and can use to figure out what value you can provide them.
- Value. Think hard about the value you can bring to new and existing clients. Going beyond your outstanding roster, what makes you stand out? What help can you provide to your nearest and dearest agencies and brands?
Imagine if production companies approached you highlighting directors and services that spoke to you and your clients immediate needs.
- Production. Your job is not simply to produce. It’s also to provide an experience that makes the agency and client want to come back for more. If your sales and marketing stops at lunch screenings and a round at the pub then you’re doing it wrong.
- Don’t Panic. Short term moves can have long term consequences and the stench of desperation will remain long after we stop WFH. Honesty however is appreciated and can be used to strengthen relationships..
- Look Beyond. Assume you can get a handle on your affairs, what’s your longer term plan to avoid the pain next time? How can you increase board flow? What markets can you be playing in? What new services can you provide? And how can you increase opportunity at minimal expenditure?
Agency folk, imagine if production companies approached you highlighting directors and services that spoke to you and your clients immediate needs. Imagine they had done their homework and were able to draw your eye to relevant and valuable production solutions.
Oh what a world it would be!