When the world of content creation-like the rest of the planet-goes into generational levels of disarray, we do what anyone searching for deeper truths would do: we place a call to friend-of-the-pod Clair Carter-Ginn. A partner at Forecast Agency, Clair is an industry veteran who's given so much of her career to understanding how studio teams function and where they can improve, so there's no one more qualified to discuss the current moment of our post-pandemic rebuild.
In her latest chat with The Creative Operations Podcast's host, Daniel Jester, Clair gets into three main insights about the industry's COVID-19 aftermath leading to lasting change.
Want the entire conversation between Clair and Daniel? Stream this episode of The E-Commerce Content Creation Podcast on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website. For Clair's top three ways that recent events have made lasting changes in the content industry, read on.
Focus on Agility Continues From Near-Term Thinking into Strategy Mindset
At the height of the pandemic, studio teams heard the word again and again, "agility." It was pounded into us. A return to work in the crisis era required a make-it-work mentality, and a general agnosticism toward traditional titles, hierarchies, and workflows. Survival was a success. The constant need for creative workarounds meant that many decisions, from business to creative, were driven by near-term thinking.
But with post-pandemic operations stabilizing, it's time to re-engage long-term strategies, Clair says. "Certainly people are shopping, as we all know, and they want that content back again," she says. "I think we've all been creating what we need to get things up on the websites. It really has been focused on the selling and less of the telling, to go back to sort of an old school phrase from my advertising days."
That return, if not rise, of consumer demand for content, makes now the perfect time for studios to cast new vision in their long-term production strategies and to decide which agile methods from the pandemic days can drive efficiency in days ahead.
"It's exciting," Clair says, "because I think leadership from the studio standpoint really has the opportunity now to say, 'Alright, the teams are back in some capacity. We figured out how we need to get the work done day to day. Now I can step back and think about how we can move forward.'"
For transformation to happen as your studio's day-day-to operations continue, you'll need a diligent team that remains focused while your leaders go about determining the strategic vision going forward. "Studio leadership can now step into looking less at the day to day, more at the month to month and hopefully year to year. What's coming down the pipeline six months from now as much as what our teams are focusing on, what's on deck six days from now," Clair says.
One way teams will strategize for the future is by reckoning with the recent past and creating contingency plans for any future disasters. With the experience of witnessing a shutdown still clearly on everyone's minds, studio teams can decide how they'd handle future closures and acquire the resources needed to remain operational, Daniel says. It might be a case of, "'We don't know what we're going to need these resources for, but we want to be able to be adaptable,'" he says.
What discussions are happening in your studio to discuss long-term strategies? Which of your studio's pandemic-era workarounds will stick around in your future work?
Expect Your Agile Future to Include Remote Work and Multiple Locations
"We've seen increased open-mindedness within a lot of organizations to having remote workers and to having multiple locations for content creation," Clair says. "I think that is one of my favorite things that's come out of this, the fact that leadership understands we can get it done in a remote capacity and we can get it done in multiple locations, and we can create beautiful work."
It's a good thing leadership gets it, because the team's expectation of remote work wasn't going to dwindle, Daniel points out. "People want to work remotely. They know that it can work now. I'm certainly an advocate for it. I've recaptured a lot of hours of my life back that I could spend with my children by not having to commute and by being able to work remotely."
He says it's not without risks, though, particularly with communication, Daniel says. "It just means that being strategic upfront really, really becomes so much more important."
Keep Up the Good Talk
Speaking of communication, it's the third insight Clair has for the future of content production: "we're speaking with our colleagues and clients regularly and effectively."
"With the increased communication and collaboration tools we've bought into, whether it's something more formalized, like a tool, or whether it's picking up the phone and saying, 'Can we have a conversation via a video chat,' or whether it's actually getting together in person-I think that there is this camaraderie that is different than it was before," Clair says.
It's going to take more ongoing collaborative connections to manage the multisite and remote future of the industry since more studio locations mean more handoffs of both physical goods and digital assets.
"This also forces us to build these communication lines into our process and allow for things like better handoff from production to post-production and better reviewing of images," Daniel says.
How is your studio communicating now, and which communication tools will you need to keep in place for your multisite, remote future? Thinking beyond your organization, how does your communication with stakeholders or clients look different from your pre-pandemic relationships?
Want the loaded conversation with Clair, rife with talk of New York honking, Minneapolis expressways, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sharon Stone, and Star Trek? Stream The Creative Operations Podcast on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.