Any piece of content for a brand means little if it never manages to connect with its target audience, a statement to ponder in this new interview series from Comcast Technology Solutions and Little Black Book.
Over the course of this series, we’ll be speaking to some of advertising’s most respected production leaders to delve into how emerging themes in production, such as data-fuelled production, more lo-fi shooting technology, remote filming, and evolving feelings towards the value of production all feed into creating content that matters to customers and works for brands.
Today, LBB’s Addison Capper is speaking to Kerry Hill, EVP, director of production for FCB North America, an agency she’s been a part of since 1996.
LBB> Kerry, in your opinion, what kind of role does production play in making a narrative or idea connect with its audience?
Kerry> It’s the role of producers and studio artists to know and understand the audience for every creative idea — ensuring the production approach will drive the expression of the idea. The visual style, language, sound and tempo of the work must connect with the intended audience.
LBB> And how is that role evolving in the age of evermore fragmented media?
Kerry> Production needs to have access to strategic info as well as logistic info — the creative purpose of the work and the role the content plays in the brand’s content system are as important as the deliverables and the due dates. Production needs to understand media, platform function and delivery systems.
LBB> In that constantly shifting media environment, how would you articulate the value of production to a brand?
Kerry> Production efficiency drives brand performance. When production is an integrated partner to the brand’s creative idea and content, the work is produced with the creative details and level of craft necessary to deliver high-performing work.
LBB> From your point of view, what’s the key to crafting content that really connects with people?
Kerry> Respect the audience. Add nuance and detail that’s authentic to the audience, not the creative reel.
LBB> And what kind of role can/should producers and production play in that?
Kerry> Build strong relationships with creatives, planners and account leads. Be inquisitive and embrace learning, in order to contribute an informed perspective, and anticipate what will elevate the work.
LBB> To what extent can data be leveraged to improve production and the impact of the content?
Kerry> Data is jet fuel for a creative idea and helps put a finer point on production decisions — from the partners we hire to the casting, music and voices we choose. Data and insights inform the work and measure its performance.
LBB> With all this in mind, to what extent is production strategic - traditionally it’s the part that comes at the ‘end’ of the agency process, but it seems in many cases production is a valuable voice to have right up top - what are your thoughts/experiences of this?
Kerry> FCB integrates production into the up-front creative development process versus commoditising production as a content machine. Many times, the production approach will inform the creative idea. For example, the use of influencers, content creators, AI generative art, etc. The linear approach to content production does not serve modern ways of producing.
LBB> More generally, can you share an example of a recent project that required the production department to solve a particularly tricky or interesting problem(s)? How did production step up to find and execute the solution in that instance?
Kerry> Every project is ‘tricky’ and ‘interesting’ — whether it’s a brand act, a macro shoot with hundreds of deliverables or a 24-hour turnaround time. FCB’s production model combines agency producers, business affairs, studio artists and tech to consistently overcome production challenges.
LBB> If the perfect CV lands on your desk for a producer, what does it have on it and why?
Kerry> A passion and appreciation for creativity, a work ethic that shows hustle, and experience that demonstrates an ability to learn, grow and explore new ways of working.