1 month ago

Ask SPRING Episode 2 with Jack and Tom

Tom Bird
Jack Threlfall
In this episode of Ask SPRING, Jack and Tom are discussing How to build an adaptable and effective creative marketing production strategy.

Introducing the second full length vide in our Ask SPRING series. In this discussion, Jack Threlfall, head of content writing at SPRING Production, and Tom Bird, strategic partnership director at SPRING Production, delve deep into the complexities of the ever-changing marketing landscape.

Prepare to be filled with knowledge based on decades of experience.  Discover the secrets to navigating breakthrough technologies, shifting strategic thinking, and unpredictable market dynamics that promise to revolutionize content creation while posing potential disruptions to even the most well-laid plans.

Join Jack and Tom as they unravel the multifaceted nature of the marketing industry, where constant change and increased complexity are the new normal. Uncover the keys to future-proofing your creative production strategy and streamlining processes to avoid waste and inefficiency.

Through their insightful conversation, you’ll gain knowledge on how to create an agile, adaptable, and resilient approach to content creation. Learn how to leverage the power of strategic partnerships, foster collaboration, and embrace technology and automation to drive successful outcomes.

This video is for marketing professionals and business leaders seeking to stay ahead of the curve and achieve sustainable success in an ever-evolving industry. Get ready to be inspired, informed, and equipped with the tools and insights needed to transform your creative production strategy. Tune in now to unlock the secrets to future-proofing your marketing production approach and unleash your brand’s full potential.

Welcome back to Ask SPRING, the podcast that brings clarity to the complex world of marketing production. Uh, I’m Jack Threlfall, uh, I’m head of content at SPRING Production and your host. Uh, in today’s episode, we’re gonna explore what it takes for brands to plan a strong, adaptable, and effective creative marketing production strategy. Why might you ask? Well, it’s no secret that our industry is constantly changing breakthroughs in technology, shifts in strategic thinking and unpredictable swings in market dynamics.  All these uncontrollable forces can both promise to revolutionize how we create content and disrupt even our best laid plans. And of course, with every change comes increased complexity. Establishing a setup that’s agile and resilient enough to navigate these dynamic changes is often a really monumental task.  So how do you future proof your creative production strategy? How do you streamline your processes to avoid waste inefficiency? And what does it really take to create an agile, adaptable, and resilient approach to content creation? Well here were the answers to all those questions and a lot more is our strategic partnership director Tom Bird. Tom, it’s a real pleasure to have you here today. I’ve been really looking forward to this conversation.


Do you wanna kick us?



Thanks, Jack. Um, yeah, Tom Bird, um, strategic partnership director joined SPRING back in July of last year. Really exciting times in the creative production space, um, which I’m sure we’ll talk more about in this conversation. Um, yeah, just helping our clients, making, starting to make big impressions in the UK market, um, bringing on board new clients and helping them navigate the noise around creative production at the moment.


So, yeah, excited to chat more.


Awesome. I mean, so before we start, I mean, I wondered why this idea of future proofing your creative production strategy has become so relevant. I mean, I know that you recently wrote an article for SPRING production on the topic, and if anybody hasn’t read it, you definitely should check out on our LinkedIn page. Um, what was it that got you interested in the idea?


Well,  as I said about the noise, I mean there’s so much out there at the moment, you know, whether it’s tech, ai, budget constraints, um, for some, and the years got off to quite a slow start and.  Since the article went live, you know, we’ve had so many more questions and inquiries about the subject that we, we talked about.


You know, it’s a bit of a moving feast at the moment. Um, but we are helping our clients navigate through the noise and, and hopefully making it less of a daunting experience for ’em, basically.



Cool. Well, I think, I think it’s pretty important to kind of start from the beginning with the, with this whole discussion, but I’ll ask the simple question, which probably has a long answer. Um, but when a business is planning for the future.  We live in such a kind of, you know, dynamic and evolving time at the moment. How, how do they approach it? How should they plan their kind of creative production strategy? Where do they start?


Well, there’s no  easy answer to this. I mean,  if you take a step back, um, for a moment. It’s.  You know, You can’t predict the unseen. And, and we really need to get back to basics a little bit here. ’cause there there’s no silver bullet as everybody knows, um, uh, to come to the rescue. And I think that we need to understand what our clients are, are basically looking for, um, amidst this ev ever changing sort of market landscape.


I mean.  You know, budgets as mentioned earlier, are getting cut and, and constantly questioned. Um, we need to be clearer about what our goal is. You know, what, what, what, what, What the North Star is we’re gunning for because, you know, we need to future proof. We need a future proof program for content that is relevant, it’s compliant, it’s engaging, it’s personable.


And it’s effective ultimately, and this needs to be done as efficiently as possible, um, and to accommodate any of the shifts and movements that happening in that marketing landscape.  And it’s not rocket science. So, so how difficult can it be? Um,  are we talking about a complete overhaul of how, how a business operates when it comes to marketing production?


Um, or we looking for those quick wins, you know, getting, seizing those, um, last minute opportunities.  There’s many ways you can, can, can look at that. And I think depending on whether a business wants to build an in-house team, um, giving you that ability to pivot quickly, whether it’s bringing in new tech or automation, whether it’s versioning, adaptation, creating fresh content, um, optimizing what you already have  as a term.


An unfortunate term we use is sweating the assets. You know, it’s, it’s looking at how we can we use them as best as possible. And, and that’s comes down to asset reuse.  Is virtual production on the agenda? How do you even attempt to look at AI? You know, I can barely spell it. So, you know, it’s, it’s their own, the overall content experience, um, that on demand content, but how do you approach it from a sustainability perspective and working with the likes of Ad Green, ad net zero, et cetera, and it’s really crucial to get that clear direction and,  and, and, it’s all possible. It’s, you know, all those questions are, and, and challenges are always, you know, that they are doable.


It’s just how best to approach it and, and we work with our clients to kind of help unpick it basically.


Cool. I mean.  There’s so much to take in there already. You know, you’ve kind of touched on so many different kind of questions and kind of ideas that, you know, a business should consider before they even attempt to look at a greater production strategy.






it’s okay, if, if somebody was to come in as a partner, if, if a business was looking for a partner to help them through this, um, first of all, why would they look for a partner, do you think?


Well, I mean, from a production perspective, it’s always. Good to get them involved in, in a, as early as possible. From our perspective, you know, we’ve, we’ve often got involved at the very early stages of an RFI or an RFP to, to support a client in, in what are the key watch outs. You know, they might not necessarily go for us in the end, but, you know, we can act as aspiring partner with our clients when it comes to defining what’s actually needed.


Um, and that’s, that’s where a consultancy capability comes in. Um, or if, is it just bouncing ideas around, you know, it’s, it, it, it’s getting involved at as early as possible to really kind of help navigate. I. The challenges that we, we’ve already mentioned. And I think that,  you know, it, it’s not purely down to how quickly, how fast and how cheap you can do it.


It’s, it’s how quickly can you pivot and, and that ability take into consideration that unknown. You know, when, when there’s so much change happening in the market. Um.  And we often find that true sense of collaboration really, really helps and it helps remove any bottlenecks or confusion when it’s whether other agency from a creative media production perspective, it’s, you know, we’ve seen it all across all these sectors we are working, whether that’s B2B, B2C, healthcare, finance, I’m sure there’s more.


Um, but everyone has different objectives and, and a different approach. And, um, it’s up to brand partners like ourselves to help unearth the true opportunity and, and, and, and value to unlock basically.


Mm-Hmm.  So, of course, like the very idea of having a partner in the first place suggests that  there is so, there’s so much to consider. Um, and it’s really difficult to actually see the wood of the tree sometimes, and. Really kind of like, where are your priorities and, and, and what should you be looking out for?  So with that in mind, kind of what are the kind of core challenges that most businesses face when they’re trying to construct a creative production strategy?


Well.  I mean, the list can go on. Um, but I think some of the key ones that are really resonating with clients on a global and a local scale, um, is where  business units operate independently. Um, you know, that, that, that, That can stuff nice lead to brand inconsistency markets. Markets for example, operating like they have their  own creative, um, freedom on, on a global campaign.


And you need solutions that can cater for this, you know what’s right for that market. Um, can you adapt it from a market nuanced perspective through tech or, or, or, or, or whatever. But  more often than not, when, when that’s happening in market, you know, uh, is a business actually duplicating agency fees, for example, in those markets.


Um, and then also do you get that local market feedback when building into a global campaign.  So that’s, that’s one thing that, that we, we hear a lot about. Um, and where, where we help support our clients. And then there’s that seasonality of requirements when it comes down to resource and the volume act of activity.


Um, there’s that unpredictability, but that bolt on resource that you might need through the peaks and the troughs. Um. And, and also being able to manage that BAU there’s multiple stakeholders and suppliers. There’s all the buzzword bingos that’s going on at the moment. Centralized or decentralized or coupling or recoupling or unconscious, decoupling, um, fancy terms.


But it’s finding that right balance. And I think that, um, you know, building in sort of the BAU whilst trying to get an answer is, is, is half the challenge. And then also do you have any sort of. Structured testing and optimization framework or tools to look at. And then let’s not forget the proliferation of channels, AI data and media integration.


You know, it’s, it’s  marrying creativity with production and media. It’s, it’s not an easy fix and it can be quite overwhelming for clients. And I think that if not done properly, transformation of this nature can, can, can sometimes back backfire if you’re not too careful. But it’s not all impossible to resolve.


It’s about finding the right partners, um, who can make the JO journey less daunting. Those that have done it before, um, and. There’s a stat that says, what was it? Um,  was it 30% of marketeers  don’t act? No, no. Was it marketeers only do about 30% of the role they’re supposed to do. And I think, you know, the rest of it’s bogged down in admin or unnecessarily meetings or, or chasing agencies, et cetera.


And are we gonna be creating more work with these transformation programs or bringing efficiency and, and value to the table?  And it’s that constant state of evaluation that we need to look at because, you know, by the time you’ve onboarded new tech, new tools, et cetera, are they, are they outta date? You know, by the time you’ve implemented and mold them out, um, or can you change them and adapt them quickly?


Um, and you just can’t afford to stand still at the moment. And, you know, whether. Whether it’s checking on your agency partnerships, which, you know, how, how does their tech stack map against your tech stack and can integrate with their tech stack and how do you measure what you’re doing? And, um, keeping your finger on the pulse of, of what’s actually happening out there.


We can’t predict.  Um, although a lot of people certainly across LinkedIn are saying they can, um, it’s, it’s how you prepare for it. And, and that’s why  we look at several things when it comes to tech and offshore onshore. It’s that bespoke solution, um, um, versus over the shelf tech that might be worth considering with added flexibility and gives you that ability to pivot.


Of course, and I think that the, something I’m picking out here, Tom, is that I feel like technology is always such a  big consideration. Um, but.  Is the future always about technology or is there other things we should be considering here? Because I feel like the, you look on LinkedIn and everybody talks about AI, everybody talks about the latest technology solution, but  is that really the kind of the, the be all and end all of kind of creative production?


It’s a really interesting debate and you can go on for ages talking about this and, and I think that  one of the key things is, you know, it’s not necessarily just about chasing the new shiny toy.


Look at sawa, the, the open AI that’s come out in the last couple of weeks, or that’s become very much a conversation piece in the next few weeks.


You know, it’s, it’s amazing the quality, but. How, how can you plug it in, you know, it’s not going anywhere, you know, and, and, and getting that balance right. Um, and there’s also legal implications, all that sort of chance. We won’t go down that rabbit hole, but, you know, it’s not going away. We use it. Um, we know clients that don’t want to go near it, you know, more from a regulated perspective, but you can go down a complete kind of worms when it comes down to the AI conversation.


You know, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly. Um, but it’s. It’s around collaboration and, and understanding what’s out there and how it can be used as effectively possible. You know, is it around your content, how you optimize your content? Is it around just improving the process, getting stuff done quicker?


Um, and then where’s the human element in, in all of that, which is, is is part of the big debate. But was that the, um, campaign breakfast briefing a few weeks ago? And Richard, um, Huntington from Saatchi and Saatchi said, you know, it’s, we’re all guilty of getting bored with the latest bit of kit and, you know, it’s like a revolving door when it comes to innovation, but AI’s here to stay. We know that, you know, couple years ago it was, um, NFTs and Web3, then it was ChatGPT, um, and, um, generative AI. And then, you know, what’s the next thing gonna be? And as long as you start thinking about it, building it in where it’s suitable for, for your work, then you need the right partners to figure out how it fits in with your strategy and your plans and what it can actually do for you.


Exactly, and I, I think that’s something that stood out to me. You mentioned a moment ago, uh, about getting the fundamentals right first, and I feel like if you get the fundamentals right, then the technology can kind of sit on top of that, right.


Yeah, absolutely. Because everyone’s chasing after the new, the new shiny toy that was already mentioned, but I think.  Fundamentally, it’s how do you connect the dots? Do you have people on board? You know, you need that trust. When it comes to these new shiny things, how reliable are they? How’s, you know, what’s the security?


There’s, there’s so many factors to consider, um, but you, and you still need that human element. You know, I was involved in a previous company where we did lots of,  um, global campaigns and everything needs to get changed on a local level, even though it went, you know, it was automated. Um, different markets wanting different things, and it, it’s, it’s, it’s getting that. It’s getting that balance right and, and, and onboarding. Right. And, and I think that  the way we, we use our teams, you know, there’s, there’s the talent that can jump on opportunities as they arise. Um, but that ability to pivot when needed, and I think that’s, that’s when sometimes things can bottleneck where people dunno what, what, what, what to do.


And the understanding that technology and evolving processes, you need to build the right kind of relationships with your partners and suppliers. You have partners you can trust.  Um,  and that get it.  Ultimately, and having that ability to test, learn, and iterate the process  find really works best, whether that’s using the technology or not, it’s that test and learn, um, to really gain that confidence in terms of a new approach.


Um, um, but, but ultimately it’s down to that clarity of direction. Um, but all, it is all easier said than done, right? I mean, it’s such a moving beast at the moment, but it’s something we like to help our clients with and help navigate, um, and, and hope, hopefully find it less daunting for sure.


I think, I think you’ve hit on something really important there, Tom. I think that  you mentioned people.  And those relationships,  I’ve, I’ve always found that it’s it’s the people that drive these things, right? That that’s what kind of makes these kind of partnerships and these strategies actually work.


You can have all the kind of solutions off the shelf, bespoke, whatever else in place, but unless you’ve got the right people and the right relationships established, then those solutions are doing nothing but gathering dust on a shelf, right?


Yeah, to a degree. I mean, I don’t envy clients when they have to go through the decision making process. ’cause you’ve got supplier A versus supply B versus supply C versus supply D, all saying they can do things quicker, cheaper, faster. Um, and ultimately, you know,  it’s, it’s down to that, that that human element and, and that relationship and, and, and the people you.


You, you get and you trust and, and the, they’re willing to get into the weeds. You know, our, our teams have run in-House studios. We’ve built DCO campaigns, we’ve worked with different technologies. We work with AI, you know, all that stuff for local global clients. Um, I.  We know how it works, right? And you’ve got a team that knows how it works, but our mantra is we make it work.


And that, and that’s in, that’s in our DNA as a team. And, and that’s down to the people, you know, the devil is in the detail. And having people with the experience,  that ability to pivot, I. Is essential and, and have the finger on the pulse. Um,  and that passion, you know, ultimately for what they do, you know, we we’re con it’s constantly evaluating how we do things.


We test and learn things, uh, our own side and, and, and, and it’s how we can learn and share those learnings with clients to kind of basically get to the most optimum solution. And I think that’s one of the beauties of SPRING and working at SPRING is that,  um.  We’re a bunch of curious minds. You know, we have a team of, um, production experts, content creators,  dreamers, um, uh, we’re not just the doers, you know, the team and our approach is what makes us special, and that helps us learn from each other.


Um, and ultimately our clients benefit from that. And, you know, it’s not the necessarily the newest bit of tech that might be get forgotten tomorrow or next year, but SPRING SPRING’s built on a Danish legacy of adding value and challenging the norm and simplifying the complex. Um, is that a sentence? Um, Danish heritage, um, of efficiency optimizing processes, that obsession with process and fame for its sort of simplified approach  in this ever moving feast and fast paced world of marketing production where technology change changes all the time in the blink of an eye.  It’s the people ultimately behind the process who can truly make the difference.


I mean, tech is obviously a key player in all of this. That’s, you know, and we, we probably will get all replaced by robots at some point, but we’re taking our clients on that journey, um, uh, um, and holding their hand through the process. ’cause it, it’s very daunting.


Yeah,  and I think that  the fact that you, it daunting in the first place. Um. That requires an enormous degree of trust, right? You know, you are, you are, you are managing multimillion pound campaigns or whatever else. You need to be able to trust those people. Yes, the people can have the skill, but unless again, you have that trusted relationship, that’s, that’s not gonna cut it surely.


Yeah, I mean, daunting sounds really negative as well thinking about it. You know, it’s, uh, probably said it about five times already, but, and it, it doesn’t have to be daunting, obviously. Um, but I.  Clients,  our understanding, and, and, and this is just from what we’ve observed, you know, well throughout our various careers, is that clients  and partners want to work with teams they can trust.


And trust is built through  the chemistry, through  delivery, through transparency and ultimately open communication and, um.  You know, you want, you want someone you can pick up the phone to and cry when you’ve got a last minute opportunity or last minute thing you need to get done. Um, and when you know you can rely on per people like that, you, you know, you deliver results, um, and you can navigate things together effectively, and it, it fo fosters that strong foundation, um, for collaboration.


Um.  You know, who do you pick up the phone to when you need a last minute opportunity that might fall out of the SLA? You know, it’s, it’s, it’s having that flexibility and, and we built our reputation with our clients as that safe pair of hands, um, with our off shelf capability, whether it be Vietnam, Poland,  it’s Manchester, technically offshore?


Um, but our clients know have that round the clock capability to pivot and deliver against traditional process or timelines. So, um. You know, it’s not just about providing that service, it’s about actively listening. It’s about empathizing and really tailor terrorizing, tailoring solutions to address specific pain points.


Um, and, and IP pivot is a word I keep talking about, but ultimately it’s essential, especially when the market landscape changes on a regular basis. Um, and that that’s all through genuine human interaction and, and relationship building. And  if you are on a journey, you know, we are on that. Journey with you kind of thing.


Um, but you know, it’s about strong relationships and it fosters that sort of, um, environment where creativity, production me, it can thrive, right? And, and, and, and partners feel comfortable sharing ideas, taking risks, and pushing those boundaries. But, um, in that rapidly changing landscape, you know, um,


What about decision making? Tom, do you think


that, what about decision making? So in those, in those processes where you’re, you’re talking about having something you can trust to make the right decisions, um.  How can you ensure that people make those right decisions, do you think?


Well, you can’t ultimately, you know, uh, and, and, and that’s, that’s, that’s what we find.  If, if, if it’s a collaborate, a collaborative effort, you know, decision making needs to happen. It needs to happen before a certain time in the timeline  and. It might be the right decision. It might not be, you know, and, and I think we, we really push test and learn, you know, before things are rolled out.


We, we really push that test and learn mentality  because, you know, we all make mistakes, right? You know, there’s, there’s, there’s some, in some cases, there’s no right or wrong approach to certain things. And, and, and having that ability to tackle. Things, um, on a test, learn and iterate process, you know, you ultimately get to, to, to the optimum solution.


And I think that, you know, having that confidence in people that have been there and done that before, that’s great, but when you’re looking at a, a new client and a new approach and a, and a new requirement, or a new capability even, you know, it’s, it is all going off in a new direction that, that it might be a joint approach.


You know, we might. The, the next form of whatever it is, might need a lot of handholding together and a collaboration to really, to really get there. So I think having, fostering that environment where you have that ability to test, learn, and learn from. I think is critical and I think that, you know, yes, there, there might be the odd decision that here or there that was wrong, but we know what works.


We know what’s worked in the past. Um, and that’s where the unforeseen the future is a difficult game to play because you don’t know where it’s gonna go. So there, there, might at this stage not be a right or wrong approach.


Okay. And I, I think that when you, when you mentioned about  kind of making those right decisions, like  surely businesses are gonna have to consider different technology stacks, uh, to make sure they remain relevant in the long term.  So what kind of criteria should people be looking at when they’re trying to see a way forward with a, with a particular technology solution?


Well, I mean, we’re, we are not a technology business. You know, we’re SPRING is,  um, the infamous terms tech agnostic. Um, but when it comes down to how we operate with our clients, this, this gives us an element of flexibility. You know, we have, we we’re, we’re able to take the pick of the bunch, we pick the right tools that we feel work.


The best possible way for our clients and you know, we have an innovation committee that is constantly evaluating the latest AI gadgets, how they plug into our current ways of working, whether it’s uh, next generation automation tools. You know, our mantra is we make it work and ultimately we know what works and we partner with the best.


We’re working with a and i and automation to help. Deliver our clients in the best way possible. But  you know, we, we, we have that ability to test and learn. We’re not sold into, to one solution. And that’s why we talk a lot about hybrid or bespoke solutions. Um,  sorry, just back to the original question, you know,  what, what considerations are there for, for technology?


I think.  Can it connect with your audience? You know, does it match what you’re trying to do creatively? I think, you know, because there is the old adage of traditionally automation technology for example, was you’ve got a generic global campaign that you just roll out across all markets, but that’s not gonna gonna necessarily work for markets.


And you know, how do you  incorporate data and market feedback when it comes to iterative approaches to their localized content? Um. And does the tech play nice with your tech? Um, and is it easy to, um,  uh, navigate api, API connections and things like that? So, um, and then there’s data and feed and media and all that to consider.


So  ultimately, we’ll. Tech grow with your business? ’cause we, we were kind of in a place a few years ago where we were watching everybody else invest heavily in tech and, and we weren’t gonna do that. We were gonna partner with basically a tech partner that can help us on our journey. And that’s ultimately what we’ve done.


And.  Can it, can that tech handle the demands of the future? Well, we don’t know. We don’t know what the future holds really. And I think having that ability to pivot, um, work with technology, different technology providers, providers to, to, to kind of look at, I think  being able to operate BAU when you’re going through onboarding of a new piece of kit or the latest upgrade or, you know, finding that next thing that you need to do, it’s.


There’s cost associated of course, as well, which, you know, does your volume match that cost or is it just  better to throw it over to your supplier to throw it with the fence to one of their offshore capabilities? And I think  there’s so many other factors that I’m not the expert in, but it’s, there’s things like user friendliness.


You know, we talked about marketeers and, and, and the time that they’re caught up in admin, are we adding another tool to their, um, toolkit? Um, and do you.  You know, does, does it have that security? You know, which is non-negotiable really? Um, um, especially from a regulated industry perspective. So it’s without going down a rabbit hole of technology, um, and what to address.


’cause you know, we, we, we’re not the tech experts, but we work with technology that provides the solutions we feel is right for our clients.


Yeah. And I, I think that plays very much into what you’ve been talking about, about the whole pivot


idea you’ve got to be able to be adaptable and flexible and give people that kind of opportunity to choose the right decision, the, the, the right solution for their needs. Um. And I, I think that that kind of leads me nice, nicely into this sort of next idea I wanna talk about Tom.


And that’s when people are trying to choose a solution, a MarTech solution, for example. You know, what is the, kind of the, the benefit of a bespoke be solution compared to an off the off the off the shelf solution. Apologies.


Well, there, there, there, there’s lots of off the shelf solutions that are great and they work and you know, we, we’ve worked with some, we’re working with others and.  You know, some are configurable to client requirements, um, but then you still need that offshore  You know, there’s not a silver bullet to this.


Um, there, there might be people that claim there is and great. But as soon as I see it, I’ll, I’ll let you know. But, um, you know, everyone says they can do things faster and cheaper and um, you know, some cases that’s true, but it’s down to volume requirements becomes.  Can, can you have a very fast and efficient model by looking at some tech, looking at some offshore, looking at some in-house.


You know, it’s, it’s,  if you don’t have the volume, um, what’s, what’s the best mix? And it’s getting that balance right, I think. And that’s why we, we bang on about bespoke solutions. Um, it’s. That cliche analogy of being like a, a well tailored suit, like in my case, needs to be, you know, occasionally adjusted.


But you know, the tailored suit is like a fitted glove. It’s like perfect. Um, and.  When you have off the shelf,  then there’s a bit of bagginess.  That’s totally the wrong analogy, really. But it’s, it’s that it, it doesn’t necessarily fit as well as it possibly could. And I think, um, with clients with unique challenges, aspirations, requirements internally, let alone what they’re trying to push externally.


It’s, it becomes more about precision engineering and some tech can manage that and, and there’s often a, a cost associated with that, but it’s getting, it’s just about getting that balance, um, balance. Right. And, and, and in addition to that, bespoke solutions, I.  Give you that ability to be a bit more agile.


I think, you know, from the experience we’ve had is, and, and you know, we, we, we constantly talk about bespoke solutions and being, test and learn and, and, and iterating the model. It gives you that ability to, to change and, and cutting out the fluff of, um,  you know, what ma matters most.  Um.  It’s, it, it boils down to, you know, we make it work and, and, um,  in the, in, in sort of the business world of today.


Standing out in the, from the crowd is essential, right? And it’s, it’s being able to get things done quicker than your competitors. Um, and those bespoke solutions could potentially be that secret weapon. Um, but  you can have the most beautiful, creative possible. Um, but has it been done? In a way that it is become the most effective as it possibly can be through different technologies.


You know, has it been optimized? How can you build, test and learn methodology to iterate and optimize the creative,  you know, put that in your process and eat it. I think that, you know, there’s, there’s so many different avenues you can go down and, and I think.  Where we go with our clients is just going back to the original point, really, is going back to those basics.


What are you trying to achieve? And then there might be an off the shelf solution that, that, that fixes that. Right? Um, but.  Off the shelf can give you that added, not, sorry, not off the shelf bespoke can give you that added flexibility. I think that’s the kind of point we’re trying to make because you might not have the volume necessary to kind of automate a whole campaign.


You might still need that, um, market bespoke elements from a campaign that need to be done offshore. You know, there’s so many different ways to do it and, and it’s.  We find that it’s a hybrid of tech offshore nearshore in-house. Um, but it’s ultimately what’s made to measure for those clients and, and, and, and we make it work.


I think, I think something that I’m, I’m taking away from that, Tom. When you talk about, um, these bespoke solutions, it feels very much like a bespoke solution is far more sustainable in the long term. Would you agree?


Um, it feels like that from our experience. I think that, um.  That future proofing, um, is  I, I mean there’s always the latest upgrade or, or latest additional or the 2.0 of, of the, the latest bit of tech that, that we’re never gonna get away from that. I think when I say AI can resolve that for us, but I think that, um, having that.


Ability to be able to maneuver, adjust, and change. That’s, and that’s, you know, once we implement a bespoke solution, it’s not just, right, there you go. It’s constantly reviewing, constantly learning, constantly, um, evolving. And I think that for us is where it works best, um, to ultimately deliver the optimum solution.


And, and, and, and hopefully that leads to, you know, a sustained process that, that companies can build on and, uh, and grow with.


And, and what else do you think kind of  ensures sustainability long term? What are the factors kind of play into that?


Um,  there’s a few things I think that, that, um,  with.  It, it really depends on, on, on how things are implemented. And I think that from our perspective, what we’ve seen is, you know, there’s, there’s that ability to, um, pivot on, on the production process. Whether that’s any of the, the key things we’ve already mentioned.


There’s transparency of what’s happening where within the process, you know, some clients don’t care how things are done, they just want it done, you know, and I think that for us, um,  being able to take new solutions, um, new proposals to clients in terms of how we can improve on process and use different elements of that hybrid solution, I think that, you know, ultimately.


Collaboration with the client can help drive that sustainability. That hasn’t really answered your question. Sorry. I’m waffling a little bit.


It has. And I, I think that you’re kind of, you’re pointing out some, some interesting kind of elements. I just put you on the spot a little bit, but feel that you you mentioned the kind of transparency and I think that transparency between suppliers and partners  is, is, as you say, a really impart important part of creating sustainable production strategy and.  How does that work then? Like how do you ensure that happens? Because you, you, you kind of alluded to the fact that it might not be the case at all


Well, I mean, yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s a bit of a, a, a sweeping statement on my part. I think transparency is critical for any client, agency, partner, relationship, and, um, I think that  I. It’s about fostering that culture. You know, it’s like, where’s work being done? Are you paying for where the work’s being, being done?


I think clear communication is obviously key for that sort of thing, and I think that, you know, we’ve all been there where we’re expecting a delivery deadline and it’s either been done offshore and it’s not gonna get delivered on time. And we’ve been told that it hasn’t, is gonna get delivered on time.


And you know, this is not a SPRING, by the way. Um, and, um, it’s, it’s. Managing expectations for us is key. And, uh, you know, that’s another people piece, but, um,  it’s, that’s  clear communication,  um, and  really understanding each other because, you know, if you can find the right partnership language,  you know, you, I mean, you’re only as good as your last job, but you know, if, if, if you’re sharing the same values.


We’re doing great work.  Um,  you know, that, that ultimately is, is for me, sort of the key piece to, to, to transparency, collaboration, you know, that openness to suppliers and partners. Our willingness to kind of, you know, we have got an open door policy when it comes to working with our clients, media agencies, creative agencies.


You know, we are not trying to land grab other activity. It’s just, you know, we are there to partner. You know, that triage of, uh, creative media and production, but also.  You know, how can we collectively do things quicker, faster, cheaper? Um, and it’s that transparent part of the process that if we learn from it, we make things cheaper, faster.


Um, um, then, you know, ultimately the client benefits from that. And, and it’s, it’s transparency about  the nitty gritty of the details around process, um, performance metrics and, and give a, give a better understanding of where.  Where partners fit into that process and, and I think that,  you know, if work’s being done offshore, then pay for where the work’s being done.


If, if we’re making cost savings, then we can share those cost savings and, you know, that transparency you could go on. I, I think, you know, fair and ethical practices and continuous improvement feedback and all that sort of stuff,  you know, by embracing that transparent approach  then, you know, you’re learning off each other as well.


You know, it’s, I can remember I had a client. Where, um,  where I went, I mean this is going back, this is showing how old I am, but I went over with a color proof to get signed off. I had to walk over the road, um, and I got told to shush and, um, because they had a sign over the desk saying, please don’t speak to me.


And they to say I never went back. But there was just a lack of understanding of what was happening and when, and you know, it’s.  It is not a one and done deal. Transparency. It’s a journey of constant refinement. And, and I think by listening and learning, um, and adapting together, you kind of, you kind of get that thriving relationship and, and, and, and I think that’s so key for, for any relationship.


Agreed. And I, I think something that would help a lot of people, um, in this, in this kind of position is to understand  kind of. Pitfalls about navigating a complex production kind of process. Um, what would they be? Kind of, what, what should people look out for and kind of avoid?


Um.  I’m doing it now, I’m overthinking it. And it’s, um,  it’s, uh,  what we do is not rocket science. And, and I think,  you know, ultimately what we do is we make stuff right. Uh, and, and.  And if you, if you break it down to the basics, keep it simple, you know, cut through the noise, cut through the buzzwords, get your agency partners, production partners, whatever,  to come to you with, with, with solutions, you know, it’s,  we could bang on about all the latest tech and AI and the things that are covering everyone’s social and LinkedIn posts at the moment.


But  back to basics about, you know, what we’re trying to do and, and, and, and how can we test and learn and iterate, you know, that’s the bit that we really like to push for. Um.  It’s choosing the right partners, you know, in some cases might not be us, but, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s seeking partners that truly understand your business.


And I think, you know, whether that’s shared values goals, by aligning with  people that, and businesses that speak your language partners you can trust, you know, you set yourself up from success from the get go really.  And then there’s balancing getting that balance right with humans and technology and.


You know, it’s a changing, it’s game, changing what’s happening out there at the moment, but don’t let it overshadow what you are trying to do and get out the door. And there is that temptation to, to chase the latest tech. And in some instances it might be the right thing to do. You know, we’re all starting to get on the AI bandwagon.


Everyone’s part of the journey, but you need to stay grounded in, in solving real problems for now, and also fostering growth. Otherwise you can get too distracted. And, and I think that for me.  That’s what a lot of the noise is about at the moment. You know, there’s constantly some big event around how to implement AI and bring it into your business and all that sort of stuff, which is all very useful.


And you know, we, we are doing that already, but  it’s keeping it simple and, and balancing tech with purpose, I think. Um, and being able to reflect and adapt and, um, yeah, simplifying the complex basically.


Yeah,  agreed.  And I think that as we come kind of towards the end of this conversation, Tom, uh, I’ve been taking notes, uh, and I think there’s a couple of things that we’d like to summarize. So overall, if we’re, if we’re trying to create a future proofed, uh, creative production strategy going forward, what would be the top five, uh, kind of points that people need to consider?


Five. Um,  five. So, um.  We’ve talked about embracing technology and automation. I think that’s,  that’s a given, you know, an AI comes into that and you know, it’s not going away. And, and it’s something we’re constantly evaluating how we’re doing it, how are we approaching it, how we can share that with our clients.


Um.  And also investing in talent. You know, the talent, it’s the people that, that make the difference and  don’t overlook the importance, investing in your people in terms of their capabilities and what, what they can do. And, and having that versatile workforce of, that have that passion for, for what you do as a business.


And,  um.  Can, you know, wanna grab the next big, big, big thing and, and, and wanna explore things. You know, we, we have, I mentioned it earlier, we have an innovation committee where people are constantly sharing new things, new,  you know, some of the most craziest things that, that just, you just think, well, how does it actually apply to us?


You know, but it’s just good to see what’s out there. Um, and  the team is the sort of the biggest asset. So I think investing in talent development is key. Um.  Um, fostering strategic partnerships, I think, you know, we have strategic partners with tech partners, um, um, which, you know, helps from a collaboration perspective, but also bringing in the right people at the right time to certain conversations.


And it helps to stay ahead of the curve ’cause we can then pick who we want to partner with. Um, and that brings  for us greater value to our clients.  Um, and then that ability to test and learn that continuous experimentation, whether it be through kit, new kit.  Technology, et cetera, or whether it would just be a new approach to processes or, you know, just, just trying out different campaigns and things like that.


You know, it’s that test and learn mentality that, um, help improve what you do and, and I think that ultimately can help deliver the, the results you need.  And then sort of the big piece is, is, you know, similar to the sort of the strategic partnerships is, um,  um, collaboration.  You know, that, that ultimately is, is that that sharing with agency partners, you know, when brand agency partners come together, you could, you cannot beat that, that, that sense of collaboration.


And we’re all on the same page, we’re all going the same direction, we’re all talking the same language. And I think, you know, that does isn’t always the case. And it’s like one person throws it over the fence to the next person, to the next person. But, you know, breaking down some of those core principles that I’ve sort of outlined,  you know, it’s.


It’s, it’s really, you’ll be well equipped to navigate sort of that complexity of the create production landscape and, and, and, and drive that success and, and for the future.  But, but you know, a lot of clients know this. You know, they, they just, they just need that partner who can make it work.


Yeah, absolutely. And I think then  if we can just leave it on, one final question I’ve got for you to,  if, if there was one piece of advice you could give to somebody that is worried about their creative production strategy.  What would you, what would you, why, what advice would you give them?


Give me a call.


Ultimately, yeah, but don’t panic and don’t knee jerk either, because there’s so many things out there that, you know, take a step back. It’s so easy to say when you’re thick of the day to day, you know, there’s so much else going on and so much else to consider. You know, people have talked to me and said, right, we need to look at this.


We need to look at this. And it’s like, brilliant. You know, we’re there when you are ready. You know, don’t rush into it. I think it’s is, is what I’m trying to articulate, but not very well.


I think you did, Tom. I think on that note, we can, we can kind of draw this into a close.


Um,  I’ve been, Jack fell for, he’s been Tom Bird. Uh, and  we’ve been aspiring, uh, see you soon.


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About me

I write about topics such as technology, business development future proofing businesses.

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Tom Bird

Client Strategic Partnership Director

Marketing Sales

About me

I write about topics such as content creation, content writing, AI, UX and much much more.

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Jack Threlfall

Head of Content Writing

Content Writing Creative Marketing