We have been providing production consulting advice since we started in 2000. In that time we have assessed, managed, negotiated and reviewed production both in Australia and New Zealand, but also around the world and especially in Asia-Pacific.
These productions have included, television, print and increasingly major digital projects, but it is interesting that most of the concerns are in regards to television production.
And even more interesting is that in that time often the biggest concerns are, initially at least, from the marketer, many who have had previously poor experience with arrogant and aggressive consultants hell bent on delivering saving at any cost.
It is for this reason that the same three concerns seem to rise every time. They are legitimate reasons that go to the heart of the marketer / agency relationship, so I thought it worthwhile sharing these.
MARKETER: We rely on our creative agencies for their expertise on production. If we engage a consultant, won’t it cause tension with them?
TRINITYP3: The role of the production consultant is not to take over the agency’s production function, but to provide independent third party production advice with the focus clearly on allowing the agency to produce the outcomes agreed with the marketers in relation to quality and quantity.
The production consultant is not engaged to critique or provide feedback on the creative concept, but to work with the agency to identify areas for production cost efficiency. In our experience, the earlier the production consultant is consulted in the process, preferably at the briefing stage, the greater the effectiveness and the minimum of potential friction.
MARKETER: What if the agency doesn’t agree with the consultant? We can’t just up and change creative agency so we’d be stuck?
TRINITYP3: The ultimate decision is always with the marketer. The agency may present one point of view or one approach and the consultant may present an alternative approach. The marketer is then in an informed position to make a decision.
It is important to note that while TrinityP3 does not want to be remunerated on savings, we are happy to have our performance assessed based on the cost efficiencies and saving we deliver over the term of the engagement. On some productions there may be no cost reductions because they are already cost effective, but our involvement provides surety. With other productions there may be significant cost reductions. Therefore performance must be seen in the balance over all productions rather then on a project by project basis.
Of course, if the marketer decides not to take the advice we provide, that is certainly their right. But TrinityP3 can not be held accountable to the cost performance in these circumstances.
MARKETER: We have a preferred director so how can a consultant help if we don’t want to change director so can’t change the production house?
TRINITYP3: Having a preferred director can be an excellent idea. But it is also a very good reason for engaging a production consultant. With a preferred supplier you no longer have the competitive process of testing either their costs or the efficacy of their methodology in market.
This is where the production consultant, as an independent third party, can provide a surety that the director and their costs and methodology are complying with industry practice and the marketer is getting the best value possible.
This role is often difficult for the agency as they have a closer and more dependent relationship, which can preclude them from professionally challenging the process rigorously enough to ensure compliance.
So Marketers, these are the main concerns we hear and address. But ultimately the proof is the on-going relationships we have with our clients.
But if you have a concern about engaging an advertising production consultant, share it here as a comment and let me see if I can address it.