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Managing Marketing: The New Role of Transcreation

PHIL_MICHAEL_SGK

Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by TrinityP3 Founder and Global CEO, Darren Woolley. Each podcast is a conversation with a thought-leader, professional or practitioner of marketing and communications on the issues, insights and opportunities in the marketing management category. Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media and commercial communications professionals.

Philip Hwang is the APAC Head of Strategy and Michael Vaudrey is the APAC Head of Transcreation at SGK, a global brand experience company. They discuss the role of transcreation globally and the complex market drivers that make transcreation an increasingly important capability for brands. They share the importance of culture in developing and maintaining collaboration between the various partners and vendors involved in marketing today and talk about what it takes to deliver against the expectations of quality, cost and time.

You can listen to the podcast here:

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Transcription:

Darren:

Welcome to Managing Marketing, a weekly podcast where we discuss the issues and opportunities facing marketing, media, and advertising with industry thought leaders and practitioners. Today, I’m sitting down with the APAC Head of Strategy at SGK, Phil Hwang. Welcome, Phil.

Phil:

Hi, Darren. It’s so good seeing you and chatting with you.

Darren:

Well, it’s good to have you here. And you’re also joined by the Regional Head of Transcreation at SGK, Michael Vaudrey. Welcome, Michael.

Michael:

Hey Darren. Great to see you.

Darren:

Well, you’re a bit further away, Michael. You’re based in Singapore. Is that right?

Michael:

I’m in Singapore. Yeah, a Brit. You can probably tell by the accent, but yeah, based in Singapore these days.

Darren:

Yeah. An Englishman in Asia, as they say. Now, look, I’ll start with you, Michael. Transcreation, it’s a word that’s been around for several decades and it’s particularly out of the UK and Europe. But do you have a fairly sort of easy definition that people could relate to?

Michael:

So, transcreation came about as a term that we use to rename our adaptive offering because it was really growing to become more than just adaptive design. We were moving into digital spaces and obviously, the marketplaces and touchpoints of the work that we produce are evolving all of the time.

So, transcreation just became a really nice overall term to describe anything that’s adaptive design, visualisation, retouch, 3D imagery, animation, all these types of digital touchpoints that we work towards. And it just captures all that. So, there’s no real simple way to describe it. It just means the stuff that fits in the middle, I suppose.

So, our transcreation team sits slap in the middle of what is our deployment and our technical services, and in between our creative services as well. So, we’re the bridge in between those two, I suppose. That’s the simplest way to put it. We bridge that gap between bringing more technical services to our creative side and bringing more creative services to our technical side.

Darren:

Because I was always interested that it seemed to have evolved out of the UK and Europe because they were talking about we’ve got to not just translate into another language. It’s transcreate into the culture of each of those countries. And I always thought because from my perspective, growing up in Australia, Europe feels relatively homogenous culturally.

I know that’s going to offend some people, but you come to Asia and then you have real diversity. I mean it’s not just different currencies, different languages ─ like Thailand, I think they have over 30 different dialects in Thailand. If you are going to test a transcreation business, it would have to be Asia, wouldn’t it?

Michael:

Absolutely. And that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing within SGK and the launch of this idea is happening in Asia because of that diversity and those real regional nuances within the area. Like you said, Thailand is completely different to Cambodia, which is different to Singapore and different to China.

And we’ve created a really diverse team as well, which panders to that situation. So, where we’re very aware that there’s lots of differences and lots of local knowledge and nuance that’s needed there. So, we’re trying to tailor our solution to fit the client’s needs in all of these different locations. So, the word “transcreation” covers that one.

Darren:

And Phil, as a strategist, it must be fascinating developing or working with brand strategies because I know a lot of global clients like to come up with a strategic platform that they feel that they can just roll out globally, but you must see that same challenge of diversity when you’re working with strategies, right?

Phil:

Yeah, exactly. So, actually to speak to both of your questions, it’s funny because I come from the verbal side of the business. I work obviously with strategy, work with language. Coming from the copy and verbal writing side, transcreation as a concept, I’ve been familiar with it for quite some time because whenever you’re going between languages, you’re reflecting the cultural nuance.

So, on the visual side, as a company, like how we’ve actually also evolved, even the nomenclature of calling it transcreation, has also been a journey because as Michael said, right now, under our transcreation banner, we actually do quite a few things. We optimise assets, we adapt assets, we localise assets. We also realise them.

And we’ve seen the types of work that we do just grow mainly because of the media landscape that we operate in now. So, whereas before, we just call this is an adaptation, this is adaptive, but then that banner and that umbrella has actually grown. And we wanted to recognise that whenever you port or bring an idea or a visual or a creative across platforms or to a different target audience, it does require more thought than even the word of adaptive themes to give.

There is another level and another nuance of creation, which we do think the word transcreation brings to the table now.

So, on a strategy front, yeah, I think it’s a very interesting balancing act that can actually still be quite fun in the sense of how do you create and maintain these global planks, but then in each local market level that you can still interpret this specific cultural nuance differently. Because as we all know, all sorts of messaging, you can dial up or dial down specific interpretations of concepts and ideas.

And that that’s where a lot of my work lies, which is not just to create a lot of the central platforms or positioning or planks, but a lot of times, if we’re working in a localisation perspective that we can take what global brands have as a central concept and then basically reinterpret it slightly differently to what the local audience needs.

Darren:

And the other thing I’ve noticed, because when we talk about transcreation, most people immediately think of global or regional projects. But in many ways the service ─ and Michael, you described it before, how you sit in the middle; that’s also becoming increasingly important for brands that operate within one market because the volume of content that most brands are producing these days means that often agencies or other suppliers really struggle with being able scale to meet those needs, don’t they?

Michael:

That’s right, yeah. So, that’s what we offer differently as SG. Like I say, we have this holistic view of the whole thing and transcreation fits right in the middle of that. So, the idea of taking our creative concepts and the word scalable was a great one, really.

Taking that through and knowing when to break away from the creative concept and look at a more speed, cost-efficient and just regionally nuanced way of approaching that roll out across different skews, different platforms, different media touchpoints ─ all these different things.

And like you say, the initial concept from a creative idea and scaling that out into real world deliverables is the area that transcreation excels really.

Darren:

Because we’ve noticed in the last 20 years when we do our work with brands and looking at their outputs that they have for marketing communications, back in around 2004, 2005, the average brand was producing around 200 pieces of work. And now, I think it was 2019 was the last time we looked at all the of data ─ we stopped counting at about 3 to 5,000.

Phil, what is it that’s driving this from your perspective? Why have we had more than a tenfold increase in content creation over a sort of 15-year period?

Phil:

Definitely just the fact that we live in an omnichannel world. There’s so many platforms to be on; programmatic targeting really led to hyper-personalised comms. So, all of this leads to both complexity and I would say opportunity because we all want our messages and our ideas to be able to be landed hyper-personalised.

Because it speaks better to the audience on the platform and the language to their personal preference or consumer or shopping preference. And that’s really the driver of all of this.

Darren:

I’d like to think that was true, but I don’t see a lot of brands actually achieving hyper-personalisation. What I do see is a lot of the social media channels and digital channels being ferocious consumers of content. If I made a TV ad and I spent hundreds of thousand or even millions of dollars, I would get a year, at least, if not two years. Now, I produce a video, I’m getting a week before I have to update it. Haven’t we really moved into a world that’s just consuming content with an appetite that’s almost impossible to feed?

Phil:

Yeah, I think it’s definitely both. And I think that’s why … can’t remember if I did say we all aim to be hyper-personalised. So, I think that’s a really long journey, right? It’s one of those marketing holy grails. So, it is both.

And the fact that you have so many different formats and forms of content living across platforms; you have short form, you have long form, you have native. So, the number of places where you can consume content is of course multiplied. And then times that with the programmatic ability to try and personalise it, I think it is both.

Darren:

Yeah, Michael?

Michael:

I think it’s about reactivity in the marketplace as well. Brands want to be reactive. They want to look at what’s happening in the world and what’s happening in terms of even events and things like that different times of the year. And they want to tailor their marketing concept to that vision. And they want to tailor the things that we deliver to that.

So, I think the reason the volumes of content and volumes of deliverables have skyrocketed is like Phil said, the channels that people are consuming, this content has increased. And like you noted, the lifecycle of these things is actually very short and brands want to be super reactive.

Darren:

Because I’ve noticed that agencies culturally really struggle with scaling and this is a generalisation. I know I’ve heard recently in the last 12 months that some are investing in robotics and AI and things like that, trying to automate the production to somehow play in this space.

But I think no matter what technology, it actually requires a cultural adjustment, the traditional role of an agency was almost like the old-fashioned craft workshop where you put a group of craftsmen on to build one thing and they would spend lots of time making it perfect and adjusting it, which is what we see with creative people in agencies. The whole way through the process, they’re constantly there tinkering and providing feedback.

Now, that’s fine if I’m producing one, but if I’m producing a thousand, isn’t it a completely different cultural and mindset, which goes to the whole production process, Michael?

Michael:

It is, it is. And this is why we talk about this sweet spot in between production and creative. And that’s really where it is. The skill of transcreation and the skill of adaptive and to be able to just hit things at volume is to have a real understanding of packaging. And to always look back at that creative vision that streams down from the top, from the creative idea and the skills of the guys … like I say this idea of technical skills with a creative edge, rather than creative skills with a technical edge, that’s probably more where we sit. And that enables us to create real world designs that work principle, producible. Phil?

Darren:

Yeah, Phil, because you said you are mainly focused on the verbal side, that’s strategy and creative. So, how does that fit in?

Phil:

Yeah, I do have to say we still also stand for craft. Don’t get us wrong. We do have top creative teams. It’s just that we’ve learned how to have different teams complement each other. So, previously, whenever we sit down with a client, we have what we call like the holy ─ not holy. Okay, I can’t put that word out there. But like the trinity of-

Darren:

Oh, thank you, thank you.

Phil:

Yes, the Trinity of, of course always creative strategy and account servicing at the table. And we’re all coworking, but then … the fourth leg is equally important for just production. So, we do prefer to be honing our craft on the idea, on the strength of the idea. But then being able to translate that with production planning at the table into multiple formats.

So, we’ve actually started working a lot more in terms of thinking more in terms of asset maps, in terms of toolkits, it’s not a singular visual necessarily. It’s always a toolkit of parts that come together still to form a really strong idea and that toolkit of parts, whether it’s visual assets, sonic assets, messaging assets, it can be remixed in different ways.

So, I don’t think it’s necessarily mutually exclusive. But we have different tribes and experts that complement each other.

Darren:

Because I’ve just noticed that a lot of marketers will have their origination agency. They have research companies, strategists, creatives that will do the sort of big idea. But there’s a point where suddenly that goes from the single big idea and the fact that it’s called a big idea, makes it singular.

But then when you’ve got to execute that over thousands and thousands of different outputs to different audiences, different media channels, isn’t this where the logistics come in, Michael?

Michael:

It is. And it’s like you say, how do you manage that volume through, how do you … like I mentioned earlier, this idea, that you take this big idea and you give it a bit more firepower from the business, more boots on the ground with that creative vision and that technical knowledge to push these things through into real world translations, not only in language, but in terms of skews, different touchpoints, media channels, all that type of stuff.

The idea is always the core. But the support of the team moving this through the business and into production is really important as well. And this is what Phil built on there as well. The idea of SGK is that it’s a collaborative process. This is all about collaboration. Our transcreation teams don’t sit as a silo. We sit as a part and extension of our creative teams, an extension of our production teams. So, that collaboration through the business really helps to streamline and make things just flow easier for clients really. And that’s the goal of those really, to make life easier for the clients.

Darren:

So, I’d imagine that you also collaborate with clients, other suppliers as well. I mean, this is not just … and that would be for me, the big difference.

Michael:

We do. So, not only does it flow through from SGK creative; we also pick up and collaborate with lots of different agencies and businesses across the world, suppliers from printers at the right side of the business, up to ad agencies and lots of different disciplines that clients really want this holistic view of all of these different agencies to just play well together. And we do that and we do it all the time.

Darren:

Yeah, because that’s one of the things that I’ve constantly run into is clients will get us in because they’ll have a portfolio of agencies for instance. And I remember particularly it was in Malaysia, they had about four or five agencies, but one of them was made the lead agency.

And I think that’s such a dangerous term, “the lead agency” because while the client’s expectation was that they would somehow be a leader in that they would help coordinate the performance and the engagement of all the other agencies in the portfolio, they actually defined it for themselves as they were the gatekeeper.

They would decide who did what, when, how; and there was no collaboration whatsoever. The client was completely blown away when we revealed this to them because of anointing this agency as the lead agency. And it was one of the major creative, global creative agencies. And even the agency was shocked because they just thought being made the leader meant that they got to tell everyone else what to do. I mean, very strange interpretation of leadership. Have you guys come across that?

Phil:

We’ve come across multiple flavours of coworking, which I think quite honestly just reflects the complexity of our landscape and of our industry these days. And we’ve definitely seen some cases like you’ve described. We have, of course, seen other better examples, but there’s always a lot of different dynamics at play.

And one of the key factors and variables is also the client themselves, right? What role… and how strong is their core team to lead this constellation of agencies around them. And that’s where we sometimes see the power dynamic can be either unclear or play out in different ways because there’s a constellation of agencies on one hand, there’s the marketing team on the other, and yeah, there’s capability, there’s interest, there’s ambition and they all have to be communicated differently.

Darren:

And look, some marketers think that the concepts like defining what a leader is, does not even need to be determined. I mean in some ways, the very basics of setting up the format, setting up the rules of engagement among the various agencies, vendors, suppliers, whatever procurement term, is so essential. I mean, do you often find yourselves having to navigate that with both your clients and their agencies?

Michael:

We do. And sometimes, it is a bit of a minefield and I think Phil nailed it with exactly what he said. It depends on the client themselves, how much that client wants to be their own brand guardian dictates out to the rest of the field how they should react as well when the client allows one agency to almost like you say, take the role of the king. It doesn’t necessarily work so well with the other agencies. So, collaboration, I think, is always the key with these sorts of things and leadership from the client as well.

Darren:

Yeah, because one of the issues is the actual term “collaboration,” I think, has been bastardised by the advertising and marketing industry in that people seem to superficially think that it just means cooperating with each other or even coordinating both “co” words. Collaboration actually means to work together for mutual benefit.

And I think that’s the part that’s often forgotten… people throw the word collaboration around as if everyone should know what it means. But unless there’s a clearly defined mutual benefit for all the players, you’re not really collaborating. At best, you’re cooperating with each other. I know that seems like semantics, but often it’s the language that gets in the way of people being able to work well together. Do you agree, Phil?

Phil:

Yeah. And although to that point, even cooperating well, even getting to cooperating can sometimes be a problem. And I think just to throw more complexity into the issue, the different flavours of agencies and teams are multiplying. So, you have your external agencies, you have your different tiered agencies, you have your in-house agencies, you have external creator networks.

So, it is all a glorious beautiful chaos; sometimes in the best of situations, all of the creativity sparks spark off of each other and does what you describe as an ideal vision. I do believe you hinted at this a little bit earlier on in our chat. I do think it’s so important especially in these situations, you think about the attitude and the culture of the agency teams that are coming to the table.

Because if they are open, that’s an attitude thing. An attitude of openness might not have assumed that just because they’re called lead agency, that it means dictating who does what. Obviously, leadership is a very broad term or lead is a very broad concept as well. That might not be the go-to definition. So, I do think it does speak a lot to agency culture and how they view themselves within the industry as well.

Darren:

Well, I have been on the record as saying that if you want cooperation between agencies and production partners and that sort of thing, try and leave the account management team at home. Bring the strategists, the creatives, and the production people together, because most of those people are driven by wanting to come up with the best solution and delivering it as fast as possible.

The poor old account management is responsible for answering to the agency CFO, who’s going to say, “Why didn’t you get more of the client budget?” And so, they become the ones that end up fighting for territory, fighting for budget.

And I think that’s another part that often I’ve found marketers really struggle with, is going into this and defining, this is your part, this is your part, this is your part, so that you take that off the table and get the best of the teams solving your problems. Because ultimately, isn’t that why we’re all in business, to solve our clients’ problems?

Phil:

Yeah. And I think that’s a great attitude and that goes along with what I was saying, like how do you view your own role if you’re customer centric. If you’re work centric, if it’s the work, the work, the work ─ then you would go in there with the right attitude to foster this type of collaboration and not just cooperation.

Darren:

Yeah. Hey, Michael, I’ve just thought of that old saying; quality cost time; you can have any two. You’d be familiar with that one, wouldn’t you?

Michael:

Very much so, yeah. We live in a world where expectations of quality are very high and expectations of speed are very fast. So, we dance that saying every single day, I think, yeah.

Darren:

Well, so Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital says, “You can have all three now, we’ll give you speed, quality, and low cost.” And in some ways, he’s right in that technology is allowing us to actually meet a lot of those unrealistic expectations by helping to streamline production, isn’t it?

Michael:

Yeah, well, that is the holy grail; fast and cost-effective, and great quality as well. And that’s what we’re targeting really, I suppose, with the transcreation offering to try and find a fast-pace solution for a lot of these things and to try and be as reactive as we can.

Technology definitely lends a hand. And just also looking at the process really helps as well. So, if you think about the brief and the information and collaborating with clients, it is a really important part of the transcreation offering because helping clients to extract the very best information and the very best brief from the start enables us to get things through fast, right first time, and reduces this idea of revision loops and sometimes just slowing things down slightly, and making sure that that information is absolutely crystal from the start, we understand what the client wants to deliver from the project.

What that does is it actually reduces the timeline of the projects because you reduce this back and forward, the idea that the information comes through perfect first time, and we can always try and hit this right first-time target that we’re looking at. That’s the way to get things speedily to market, really, to work as efficiently as we can.

Darren:

And one of the things you said there, Michael, that I just want to pick up on is having a process because often in conversations particularly with creative agencies, when I talk about process, they’ll say, “Yeah, there’s a process, but every project is different. Every project has …”

And so, everything becomes bespoke. It’s almost as if there’s no point where someone steps back and goes, “Well, actually there are certain points along this that are fairly common and we can then optimise that as a process rather than doing it sort of on a bespoke basis every time.”

Michael:

Absolutely. And like we say, the transcreation sits in between production and in between creative. So, we basically steal ideas from both of those sides. We steal that great concepting and the ideas of thinking about things creatively and ultimately, problem-solving is a lot of what adaptive design is taking something that exists in one format and adapting that and translating it to solve a problem of a different layout.

You’re also always thinking about processes, production centres and those sort of technical services, always working terms of very hard structures and a lot of process. And we extract from that the things that work and we can dovetail in with our creative offering as well to basically create the sweet spot with adaptation work.

Darren:

Yeah, just recently I was working with a client and they were explaining to me how the agency introduced a fee for fast-tracking work. And I said, well, if you’ve got a lot of fast-track work, they should design the process to accommodate it. And it wasn’t until I spoke to the agency and they pointed out, well, it’s only fast-tracked because of the lack of client planning, that everything’s at the last minute.

At what point is there an opportunity of really pushing back from a transcreation production point of view back onto clients that part of this is they need to also have their process working well?

Michael:

Yeah, planning is everything. And ultimately, if you think about all of our teams, we have a finite amount of resource. We always want to know what’s coming down the road so that we can make sure exactly, like you say that we tailor our process, we tailor our studio deliverable to hit whatever that client timeline is.

If we know it’s coming, we can prepare for it. If it comes in today and it’s needed in the next two hours, inevitably you need to shift your resources around it. And somebody always loses in that situation. So, good behavior is supportive of the process and this idea of I need this super-fast and I need it now ─ sometimes yes, that is the nature of the industry that we’re in. And moving things around is a part of the daily challenges that we face really.

Phil:

And I do want to jump in and say, there is something very special about SGK, which is we actually have a whole team of workflow consultants doing exactly what you’ve said, which is part of our expansion of not just the trinity, but like with the production being the fourth leg.

So, especially with our larger engagement, client engagements, we do have a consultant run and front to actually design what our workflow would be like with them just so we can mitigate exactly the situation that you’ve just described.

Darren:

Phil’s seeing a room full of Six Sigma black belts beating the crap out of the creatives and everyone else says, “Don’t do it that way, chop, chop, chop.”

Phil:

I’ll be honest, I do call them respectfully our Six Sigma ninjas.

Darren:

Well, and that’s what I love about the fact that Six Sigma embraced the idea of the martial arts belt. So, once you’re a black belt, no one messes with you.

Phil:

Yeah. And I think on that note, I mean, we’re talking about quality, speed and cost. I think there’s many ways to get to that holy grail. Obviously, technology is super important. So, we do have … our data pipes are all integrated and all that. The process part, as we’ve mentioned, which is the workflow part.

But I think also where historically, maybe other agencies maybe have had a harder time adapting, it’s just how comfortable they are to having different business models or like cost and creative and production centres right.

By now, I think we know that as we cascade work through this pyramid of different-tiered layer work that you also need to actually innovate on your business model front and your team structure front. So, we actually have multiple ways of interacting and working with clients on site, near site, offsite. And that’s also really matched with how all of our teams can hence hit different criteria of the sweet spot of quality cost, and speed at different tiers of creative production level.

Darren:

Yeah. Look, it’s interesting from my perspective, because I’m sitting in the industry, I’m watching companies like SGK come from a … I think you guys were primarily a packaging production company, but you moved into broader design and printing, and now, you’re offering full service.

We are also seeing the big holding companies that own advertising agencies, they have started … or started years ago, creating their own production specialists to do the same sort of thing. And even some of the print companies got together and started … everyone sort of moved into this centre. But what I notice is that each one brings a different culture based on the heritage of where they’ve come from.

And each of those cultures has different strengths and weaknesses around the way they work. I saw the same thing years ago with digital. When digital … we’re talking the early 2000s, but there was Avenue A | Razorfish (God, that’s a blast from the past), a design company that moved into digital. R/GA was a sort of film production company that moved into digital.

And then there were others like Sapient, they were a technology company and each of those had different cultures. I think origins and foundations of all companies have a profound impact. Howwould you define SGK as the sort of culture, the foundation that you guys bring?

Phil:

I would say openness quite honestly. We’re very landed people. You can say that does come from our production heritage in the sense that if you imagine our different tribes, we have the creative, we have the production, the strategists, we also have Six Sigma ninjas in the mix; that we’re really all about being able to openly and practically find the ways to get where we need to go fast.

Sorry, I’m thinking in Chinese at the same time in my head. Sometimes my brain splits. Yeah, it’s a very collaborative culture above anything else I’d say.

Darren:

Michael?

Michael:

I agree. We’re a very solution-based business and you just demonstrated the evolution of SGK over the years and we’re a very adaptive company and we move with the ebb and flow of the industry and we’re always looking at what the next client challenge is and what areas we diversify into and what is the right space within our business that we need to fulfill and grow to move into. So, that’s the ethos of the business really to evolve.

Darren:

I mean, I have to say production for me has always attracted people that sort of go, “Alright, what do you want? Okay, let me get back to you on the best way to do it. And by the way, if it’s not here on Tuesday at 10 o’clock, it’s not going to happen.”

There’s a real pragmatism that comes from production. And I think it’s because it’s just a discipline of delivery, delivery, delivery. I’ve got to hit the times, I’ve got to coordinate all the parts to come together, which you don’t necessarily see from other perspectives or different cultural approaches to this area.

Michael:

I think it’s the ownership of the deadline, isn’t it? Production, they know they’ve got that hard line in the sand. That thing is going to print on that day and it has to deliver at that time. So, they can tell the hard line and they can almost say to the client, “Listen, if you need to hit that, we need to do this.” And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It brings visibility of the process to the client and it helps them to understand what we need from their side to help them achieve their goals.

Darren:

And also, there’s the opportunity then of bringing that so that when the creative comes in … because creative people are not necessarily thinking within the realms of what’s actually achievable. But when you bring the two together, it can actually create magic because it may not be readily obvious how to make an idea come to fruition. But great production people actually step up to that challenge and still work within the framework of quality, cost, time. And if they can deliver it on budget and on time, then they’re happy.

Michael:

I agree. And from the production side of our business, we are almost slaves to the creative and the production side. Their whole point is not to find the easy way. Challenge ─ let’s make printers work a little harder. Let’s see if we can push this brief, this creative, brilliant creative concept to come down from our studios. How can we make that work? What are the challenges to actually push everybody to be a little bit better? Not just to rest on our laurels, and that’s something that we definitely push for in SGK, yeah.

Phil:

I think that bridging role of smart production planning, that in between phase is so important for that because we’re trying to blend the phases more and more, so that the production thinking is introduced higher up and earlier in our creative thinking. So, it’s not just a straight handoff, we’re trying to sit down at the table together and think, okay, this creative idea, we can split the frames this way, we can shoot it. We can divide up the layers this way.

So, I mentioned our toolkit and asset map principle where we’re always thinking in sets. And this goes even to copy and messaging. So, we’re sitting earlier and we’re putting production planning earlier at the table with creative, so we can deconstruct the best way to still keep the most core and most potent part of the creative idea while letting us maximise production speed and value and volume.

Darren:

Yeah. Look, I really I got to appreciate production years ago when I was a copywriter, I was working with an art director. His name was Trevor Smith and we had a real estate client, a big commercial and industrial real estate client. We had a factory that was an old Sanitarium foods factory, where they made Weetabix.

And instead of doing the full page seller shimmed dye-cut brochure that they wanted (they wanted a thousand of them) ─ we actually redesigned the Weetabix box with the brochure on it, and then contacted the client, selling it and said, “Can you fill it?” So, it was a really interesting challenge. We had to produce only a thousand of these and then give it to Sanitarium to actually then put it on their production line and fill.

Seeing the effort that all of the production people, both at Sanitarium, at the printers and everyone, would go to because they were excited about the idea of actually doing a real estate brochure that looked like a box of Weetabix, breakfast cereal, was just fantastic, the amount of effort. And clients often say to me, “How can we get more value out of our agencies?” It’s give them big, hairy challenges and let them just go for it as far as coming up with solutions.

I think ultimately that’s what attracts people to this industry. I mean, you two, is that what attracted you to this category? Because we could all be doing something much easier.

Phil:

Yeah, I think our industry right now is very complicated, very fast moving and it’s always glass half full, half empty. If you feel like you can thrive on complexity and uncertainty, I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be in marketing, I suppose. So, yes, it is trying to solve all of these jigsaw puzzles about how do you put the people and the tribes and the team together for the best creative result and the best market result and the best client result. That’s exciting.

Darren:

Yeah. Michael?

Michael:

I suppose for me, it always came just from a love of brands and a love of great design and always from my dad’s family, I’ve got history of being in the creative industries. And just that translated into packaging for me and the love of the big brands that are out there in the marketplace and the things that you see wondering around the supermarket and just being involved with that and some of the great campaigns that you get to be involved with such a lot of diversity when you’re involved with packaging.

And like we’ve talked about now, we’re moving into digital and into all these different spaces and you really get to see the cradle to grave, I suppose, of the product going through. And I just love all that.

Darren:

Yeah, fantastic. Look guys, thank you very much. Thank you, Phil Hwang and Michael Vaudrey. It’s been great having this conversation. I really appreciate you making the time.

Phil:

Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.

Michael:

Thanks for the opportunity, Darren. Cheers.

Darren:

No, look just one last question before you go, and that is you must have seen some really silly requests come through. What was the worst request that’s actually hit your desk?

Ideal for marketers, advertisers, media, and commercial communications professionals, Managing Marketing is a podcast hosted by Darren Woolley and special guests. Find all the episodes here

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    Darren is considered a thought leader on all aspects of marketing management. A Problem Solver, Negotiator, Founder & Global CEO of TrinityP3 - Marketing Management Consultants, founding member of the Marketing FIRST Forum and Author. He is also a Past-Chair of the Australian Marketing Institute, Ex-Medical Scientist and Ex-Creative Director. And in his spare time he sleeps. Darren's Bio Here Email: darren@trinityp3.com

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