Elie Ohayon, CEO and Founder, Master the Monster.
In recent years, the explosion of social networks and the transformation of media consumption have entirely changed the conditions of expression for brands. In addition, the overwhelming domination of content platforms has transformed consumer demands, causing brands to adapt to this new distribution model.
Qualitative, personalized and on-demand content to be consumed when you want and delivered in free-of-advertising environments have become, if not a norm, at least a new ideal.
I founded my content production company five years ago when I saw an opportunity to help brands deal with the paradigm shift in content creation that went from the need to create four pieces of content for a campaign to 400 or 4000 a year across a diversity of formats (tutorials, documentaries, web series, beauty shots, AR, VR, livestreaming). Today, brands must be able to rely on all forms of content available to engage their various audiences and, most importantly, keep in constant contact with them. Brands must behave as content platforms.
Some companies have been able to adapt to this paradigm shift. Thus, according to the World Federation of Advertisers, more than 50% of major international companies have developed in-house content production capabilities.
Having to produce more content implies more demanding time frames and production capacities while creating varied and quality content requires new expertise. However, I believe the entire creation supply chain can be rethought.
Content Factories: The New Content Production Model
Content factories can take several forms, but the idea behind each organization is simple: to optimize the entire content production chain, from market analysis to content performance measurement, including creation and production, without forgetting control of distribution.
The content factory allows—to varying degrees, depending on the model—the industrialization and concentration of production to feed content (images, videos, webinars, articles, etc.) to all the contact points used by a brand as part of a content marketing strategy.
To know which content factory model to adopt, a brand must take into account several elements:
• Its current production model.
• The degree of maturity of its content supply chain.
• The level of in-house expertise to cover all the content creation needs (motion design, AR, VR, Web3, etc.).
• Team qualification in the management of creative and technological projects.
A brand with a mature content production chain will internalize creative resources to meet its new content needs more efficiently. On the other hand, a brand with fewer tools of its own, less solid processes, or little in-house talent to manage all content-related issues might be better off moving toward a hybrid or turnkey model (i.e., relying on external service providers to cover its new content needs), finding technological solutions from specialists, and developing its content supply chain with them.
When you have less in-house expertise, the most important thing is to clarify your content strategy and editorial line. This is essential to build your content architecture: the different levels of targets—general audience, communities, one-to-one, the quantities and diversity of content you need to deliver and the specific messages to engage these different audiences.
Once you have your content matrix, you can decide whether you want to partner with one content generalist or multiple experts of specific formats. Whatever your choice, your clear editorial line will help you guide your partners and keep the brand consistent.
Using Data To Inform Your Content Factory
Creating a content factory must be articulated with a reflection on how to collect data. For example, according to McKinsey, advertisers who link data and content creation see their revenues grow two times faster than others.
Using the quantity of content produced by a content factory offers advertisers a finer understanding of their audiences, the topics that interest them and make them react, which formats perform best, etc. In a post-cookies-tier context where the use of third-party data has become more complex, content is an essential lever that can no longer be ignored.
Building Your Content Factory
Developing a content factory should not be reduced to a cost optimization operation on content production. Quite the opposite. A truly effective content factory is a long-term investment allowing a brand to increase its production capacities to be more visible and efficient in its market.
The question of financial and human resources must be at the heart of the chosen content factory model. The in-house model is particularly demanding in terms of resources. Internalizing content production can lead to tight deadlines, sometimes requiring a shift in culture and new adapted management. According to In-House Agency Forum, many companies have opted for this model (72%) but face challenges such as insufficient resources and feeling constrained.
The challenge for brands relying on outsourced content is to deliver messages simultaneously at the speed of culture and networks while ensuring all messages comply with the brand strategy and corporate policy. To reach this difficult balance between speed and control, you may need to research the right tech tools for your company to share the content and the validation rules to review it.
The choice to create a content factory should not be made hastily. To be successful, it must meet the content needs of each brand. That’s why there are almost as many ways to organize the content production organization as there are advertisers: from the in-house content factory to the entirely outsourced one.
The challenge for brands is to evaluate their real needs and the human and financial resources they can allocate to such a project to succeed in improving the quality of their content. Because, whatever the type of content factory, the ambition should be to accelerate the brand’s shift to a trustworthy content platform.