What’s the Point of Post?
The inner workings of post production is something that may elude the less technically minded of us. There's a lot going on behind the scenes. In this quick Q&A, co-founder & CEO of PostAds Group John Lipuma shares how the company is helping marketers get to grips with post production.
Q> Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: What does PostAds Group do?
JL> We are an advertising post production consultancy for global marketers. We help marketers identify inefficiencies in their video content production supply chains; once we assess their ‘current state’, we then implement new workflow and technology solutions so that non-working dollars formerly spent within those supply chains can be reallocated for more creative and media.
Q> Post production describes a great number of vastly different disciplines that can often overlap. With so many facets to post production, can you really make it simpler?
JL> Well that’s the point exactly – with the proliferation of video content required for TV, social media, digital campaigns, websites, cinemas, etc. – the legacy platforms of a TV-only world no longer apply. Marketers and ad agencies must create new post production platforms to support the new realities of the marketplace. David Rolfe of BBDO-New York has written about this idea of ‘Infinite production’, where content is now being produced in hours and days instead of weeks and months, and there’s an infinite ecosystem of content. Marketers, agencies and suppliers are playing catch-up to the demand - so having a post production strategy and infrastructure is a necessity and no longer just a ‘nice to have’.
Q> Why do you think post production has become so complicated for marketers?
JL> It’s a combination of two things; firstly marketers need their assets to be utilized globally (not just domestically) and secondly, they are coming out of production shoots with such a dizzying set of video deliverables (TVCs, pre-roll, web videos, social media, educational content, long-form, international versions, etc.), that they are maximizing every bit of video content that’s been created, and that’s all post production. So it’s a bit like fixing a plane in the air – the agencies and suppliers are too busy landing the plane to look at the overall process and ask, ‘Is this how I would design my post production platform if we were starting from scratch?’ To carry on the aviation analogy, PostAds Group is the team of engineers on the ground redesigning the latest model aircraft so that travelers aren’t stuck flying old broken planes hoping they hold up long enough to get to the destination in one piece.
Q> Post production covers so many important processes, why do you think it is being overlooked?
JL> Marketers are heavily focused on creative, media and production – those are the ‘Big 3’. Post production is far less visible to the marketer – it’s something that happens behind the scenes with agencies as a ‘back-office’ function, like The Great Oz behind the curtain. So traditionally it’s been overlooked, but that’s all beginning to change. I’d like to think PostAds Group has something to do with that. When we started the company in 2007, we were the first advertising consultancy to focus exclusively on post production as its own discipline. It had been lumped together with production, but we carved out post production as an area to be dealt with and respected for its own challenges, nuances and expertise.
Q> If post production is such an integral part of the entire production process, why do you think you’re the only consultancy that is tackling these inefficiencies?
JL> For starters post production in and of itself is very much a niche area of the business. It’s also a technology-based sector, so there’s constantly new and better ways of doing things. So unless you truly focus just on this particular area as a vocation, to live and breathe it every day, there’s no way to become an expert in the field. This has played to our strength as a consultancy – it’s hard for others, say procurement people or production consultants whose core competencies are in non-post areas, to ‘go to school’ on post production on the fly and pose as experts. Marketers are very good at separating fact from fiction in that regard. I love the famous quote from Ernest Hemingway, “the truth has a certain ring to it.” Marketers who work with us and experience our work product know that PostAds Group is the genuine article in the post world.
Q> It seems that you work more closely with the ad agencies rather than the brands, and yet your client is always the brand, do you see this changing any time soon?
JL> So far we’ve only ever worked directly with brands, that’s true. The main reason is that global marketers tend to work with a large roster of agencies that handle different brands and respective creative assignments – so the natural relationship is for a marketer to hire PostAds Group to work across the entirety of their agency roster. But certainly if an ad agency or agency holding company wanted to hire PostAds Group to create a post production strategy and implementation across their full roster of brands, that would be an enlightened thing to do and would set them apart as a leaner, more efficient competitor.
Q> You’re fast-approaching your 10-year anniversary, why do you think PostAds Group has been such a success?
JL> As with all successful entrepreneurial ventures, so much has to do with good fortune and good timing. We started the company when the ad world was transitioning from standard-definition to HD production – so the need for PostAds Group was there from the beginning. The industry has continued to evolve along with us, transitioning from shooting on film to shooting digitally; repurposing of global assets and adapting content internationally; new post production technologies and supplier mergers and acquisitions; marketers and agencies building in-house post capability. These are all disruptive forces in the world of post production and we’ve been fortunate to have won the trust of marketers over the years in helping to navigate these important changes.
Q> But as you’ve said – these are legacy processes and it’s tough to implement change. Have you met much resistance from agencies and suppliers?
JL> In the early days of PostAds Group there was of course some natural resistance to change and fear of the unknown. But as founders we had actually come from the supply side, so we did have existing relationships that helped in getting a ‘fair day in court’ with agencies and suppliers. And very quickly it became apparent to all parties that there was merit in our mission and an acknowledgement that marketers had every right to take an active interest in how their post production supply chains worked. The agencies and suppliers know we are honest brokers and in fact many have become great collaborators with us. The marketer is our mutual client and benefactor after all.
Q> It may be difficult to predict in a fast-evolving industry, but what do you think the future holds for PostAds Group?
JL> Well we’ve been around long enough now that we’re no longer a start-up or a fledgling business – the future is that of a maturing company. Our growth has been both vertical and horizontal; that is, vertically our practice areas have grown beyond TV and into newer platforms such as online, social media, mobile and digital cinemas; and horizontally from North America into international markets across Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Whether it’s our motion picture clients or brand advertisers, they are all increasing their volume of video production and finishing content across a growing network of post production entities all over the world. In many ways the need for a global post production consultancy has never been more relevant.