2021 Henry Stewart Festival of Creative Operations Panelists on “Hot House, In-House or No House”
Last week, Atellio’s CEO, Nick Gubbins participated in a panel at Henry Stewart’s Festival of Creative Operations entitled, “Hot House, In-House or No House” on the topic of where, how, and with whom creative content is generated in a world of exploding demand yet limited resources, time and most notably, in-person proximity that had been the norm prior to March 2020. Nick was joined by panelists representing industries where digital content is most in demand: Todd Challe from Coach, Brian Galvin from globaledit, Jiva Smith from Peacock at NBCUniversal, and moderated by James Sanderson from ICP.
While demand surged for brands to produce digital content to meet post-pandemic consumption patterns, teams are no longer producing under the same roof or exclusively with expert account teams at their advertising agencies. Creative operations have increasingly become global, working with highly distributed creative specialists. Brands contract directly with an extended network of content contributors that extend their in-house talent and agencies with freelancers, offshore partners, customers and beyond. As James Sanderson said, “Everyone is a global brand because they can work broadly.”
The panel shared examples of how their organizations were evolving the traditional content creation and delivery models to support this exponential growth. Todd Challe shared how Coach has evolved to meet the content needs by leveraging offshore resources and the distributed Coach community, “Five years ago, we were producing 10-20 images a season and now it is 200 images a month to support the content for existing and new channels. This growth will not plateau but the way we create the content will change as a result of limited resources. We’re using more user-generated content, getting content from store associates, and exploring ways of creating outside of the norm.”
The conversation included a poll asking participants how many days they anticipate spending in the office by this time next year. Only 3% of the respondents intended to return to the 5-day office schedule by next year while over 50% indicated that they planned to work 1 day or less a week in office.
For employees, this aligns to a January 2021 US Remote Work Survey published by PWC. PWC’s poll found that the return to office expectations starkly differed between executive leadership and employees. Despite overwhelming agreement that distributed work was productive, most leaders do expect a return to the office. This may contribute to the ‘great employment shuffle’ that is underway as content creators have proven they can create great work from anywhere and seek the opportunity to maintain the flexibility, lack of commute, etc. There was also a question of whether the gig economy would continue to grow as creators choose independent work. Either way, the data strongly supports that hybrid work is likely here to stay.
This led to discussing the role of technology and process in creative work.
“Technology is disrupting the most repetitive work. Global brands are replacing manual, repetitive work with tech or robots,” Brian Galvin added.
Nick Gubbins described technology as “the great enabler” of this brave new world of creative content. “Software like Atellio are building up new pathways that enable teams that would not be connected to work together. People who might not be in the same place can collaborate, allowing them to create content much more seamlessly with one another.”
Todd Challe observed, “The process isn’t changing. How we’re communicating is changing. What is the point of bringing people into the office when half of the staff are sitting in the same conference room and they’re each looking at zoom. From a cultural standpoint, this is not really achieving what we want it to achieve. Technology needs to catch up. Remote shooting, editing, markups and releasing files, we have that process down.”
Jiva Smith from Peacock/NBCUniversal said, “I believe the onsite thing still has a place and the benefit of proximity with the magic-making that goes on in the creative process is still there, but there has been a profound shift as companies are truly embracing the cloud. If you told me editors would be working from their garage on high speed, high function, virtual machine solutions 5 years ago I would have said, ‘no way!’ I would question whether big businesses would use the cloud, but the whole Covid scenario presented this silver lining that allowed an understanding of how dynamic things can be from anywhere. Software companies are incentivized to make that possible.”