KatieFarmer_Gravity Road_inhouse production

Future of production

The Future lies in being Creatively ambitious and collaborative

A future enabled by technology is endless, says Gravity Road's global head of production. But to build for next-gen audiences production will need to work in a collaborative, playful way

By Katie Farmer

As production becomes central to any agency output, the possibilities for what we producers can make - enabled by technology - is endless. And ultimately, the agencies that empower the makers are the ones who will benefit through new growth and capabilities.

Having run production units both client side (for Charlotte Tilbury/AllSaints) and agency side studios, I’ve had experience of many different models, and right now these models are becoming more dynamic than ever, as evidenced by the IPA Integrated Production group that I’m a part of, we’re taking steps to make IPA resources and networks more adaptable, with changing platforms and technology often becoming the preference of deliverable over traditional TV.

It’s important to immediately address that in this economic climate, most moves are made to create efficiencies, including ‘better, faster, cheaper’. By having an entire facility focused on production, the making - the why as well as the how - giving production the space, the finance and the autonomy to create, which is where you get the best out of producers. Furthermore you are able to be specific enough to ensure you’re meeting the specified requirements of the project, in the most effective way and with AI tools beginning to be integrated into production capabilities it’s an exciting time!

There are so many different types of in-house production companies being established or integrated into agencies and they all fulfil a space which their parent agency has identified as an opportunity for added value for their clients. When it comes to asset production and delivery, cutting out the large majority of traditional client services roles, definitely makes for a more agile and cost effective model. Production working directly with client - cutting out most of the levels of hierarchy, billing and process traditional agencies often live by. As an additional benefit, an agency using an in-house facility is often able to avoid the triple bidding process, having usually already been interrogated and secured by procurement. Having said that, it’s important to remember that brand in-house agencies usually come with an established finance/legal/PR departments, which makes these cuts in other areas possible.

The fact is, brands are doing it very successfully through in-house models. If they find and can keep hold of the right team, or work with a partner to build it, they will ultimately save themselves time and money by cutting out client services and remaining in creative control of their brand.

At Gravity Road, we are agile enough to be able to run as both an integrated agency and also a stand alone production company, “Next Gen Labs”.

The in-house ‘Labs’ for us is a future-facing direct response to client requirements for fast turn around, TikTok style content, which is often described as ‘Lo-fi’ but is regularly paired with an integrated approach where it compliments the craft of our more immersive pieces.

We empower brands to have an always-on culture with their direct audience, by focusing on fast turnaround, authentic, often creator content lead content. We work with our in-house experts across AI,VR,AR and creative directors at large, from both niche communities and those with universal reach help us to create authentic, pointy and platform-specific work, for example our recent multi-award winning gaming partnership with McCain and Roblox, which highlighted sustainable farming practices.

We have established relationships with production creators all over the globe (as well with sister companies like MoFilm and Collectively) who can bounce content in and out of the agency in a matter of days. We always ensure the creative integrity and quality is kept by nurturing relationships with creators and and creatives who are at the top of their game: those who are well versed and experienced in their audience and what they want to see and those who share their authentic voice, thoughts and values with our clients.

Next Gen Labs works in a collaborative, playful way, to encourage curiosity and we invest a great deal of time in nurturing those relationships outside of client briefs, in direct partnership with our in-house CD’s who are immersed in the brand, we’ve been able to create brilliant, original, authentic content, at scale, across platforms, that works.

Being agile enough to be able to service clients globally in this way, without being limited by traditional agency process, enables us to ensure we’re always at the forefront of new technology and creative innovation, so we’re never just creating in the space for the sake of it, we’re always pushing boundaries and helping our clients expand across platform for maximum value add.

Katie Farmer is the global head of production at Gravity Road


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