STRATEGY

How to make filmed content worth making.


For businesses and organisations, the demand for filmed content has grown exponentially in recent times.
But it’s a challenge to get content “right”: to meet the demand in terms of volume, but also deliver content that is relevant and valuable to audiences – and which delivers value to the client commissioning the work.
It’s a challenge compounded by a reduced degree of certainty of success, thanks to the fragmentation of the media environment and radical changes in audience behaviours, all of which places ever-increasing pressure on budgets.
So, how can you ensure the investment you make is worthwhile?
We believe the answer lies in taking an holistic approach to filmed content, underpinned by creative excellence and best-practice production methodologies.
This starts with identifying all external and internal touch-points for which video is commissioned within an organisation, and reviewing the content for quality and consistency of execution, opportunities for re-purposing, financial outlay, and the investment of time and head-hours in its creation.

Utilising our proprietary strategic framework, we then develop a plan with stretch across channels and through tiers, which spreads the total investment over a program of content, over a period of time.
We feel this is the best way to deliver maximum value, in terms of the quality of execution, reaching and connecting with the right audience, and which provides tangible and intangible bang-for-buck.
In short, it’s how we help clients make filmed content worth making.

Andrew Marsh is the principal of Marshlandia.

STRATEGY

Five questions to ask when investing in filmed content


– If your organisation is investing in filmed content at scale, is the best investment of your time in finding the cheapest production partner, or formulating the smartest strategy?

– When you’re commissioning a filmed content project, is “how much is this going to cost?” the best way to start the conversation, or is there a smarter way?

– When you’re considering a partner for your filmed content program, is your above-the-line agency your best option, or could an agile specialist be a smarter way to go?

– When you’re thinking about what you want your filmed content to do, is “go viral” the only benchmark that matters, or are there more measures of success you should consider?

– Is going low-budget for a single-channel piece of filmed content the best way to maximise your ROI, or is an holistic approach to a program of work that considers every channel a smarter way?

Utilising our proprietary strategic framework, we can develop a content plan with stretch across channels and through tiers, which spreads your total investment over a program of content, over a period of time.
We feel this is the best way to deliver maximum value, in terms of the quality of execution, reaching and connecting with the right audience, and which provides tangible and intangible bang-for-buck.

Andrew Marsh is the principal of Marshlandia.

STORIES TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Common Ground


Living in Australia these days, you could be forgiven for thinking everything’s gone to the dogs.
There seems to be a pervasive sense that we are not as safe as we once were, back in an idyllic past when the “Great Australian Dream” was a quarter acre block, you could play cricket in the street and all the neighbours would look out for each other’s kids.
Nowadays, the neighbours could be predators, or, worse still, TERRORISTS!
Populist politics and an increasingly desperate, intrusive media fan the flames of our fear by framing complex issues of race, religion, identity – even love – in simplistic, “black and white” terms, to be digested as slogans, sound bites and tweets by an audience increasingly conditioned to consume more and question less.
Divisions abound, between left and right; “traditional” Australian culture vs. the “scourge” of multiculturalism; along morphing gender lines.
Sure, we have issues, some major, but is the fear and divisiveness representative of the reality of Australian life for most of us?
Or, could it be that, rather than living in fear, we might just be able to celebrate that, for the most part, the great experiment of inclusiveness – of race, religion, gender and sexuality – in Australia is, in fact, an imperfect, outrageous success?
“COMMON GROUND” is a digital short-form documentary series that will explore these questions.
Our first “mini-doco” shows how a community sports club in Sydney’s Inner West provides a focal point for an evolving, increasingly diverse community.
See it here –

But to continue, we need your help…
If you know of anyone who has a great story to tell about living in harmony, overcoming barriers or changing perceptions, we’d love to hear about them.
It could be that art, sport, music, food, fashion, basket-weaving or sheer necessity has been the catalyst for acceptance.
Maybe it’s inter-generational change, where the youngsters can teach their parents a thing or two about peaceful co-existence, that has led to understanding.
Or perhaps our inherent egalitarianism and tolerance of difference just shines through.
Yes, there are stories about the failings in our society, but we feel the mass media gives them plenty of coverage, so we’re not looking for those.
Rather, we’re hoping to re-dress the balance a little, and show that there is plenty to be pretty bloody happy about and grateful for in living in this great land.
If you have any suggestions for story subjects, please email them to hello@marshlandia.co.

Thanks!

Andrew Marsh is the principal of Marshlandia.

BETTER OUT THAN IN

Is what matters most to your brand what matters most?


Brand storytelling has always been full of “you had to be there” moments – stories with meaning to the teller, but which struggle to resonate with their intended audience.
In the traditional media environment, such failures of relevance could be offset to some degree by repetition – hammering away break-after-break at a captive audience via linear TV broadcasts; presenting your case every day in the daily newspapers; bombarding commuters on their way home with incessant radio placements.
Eventually, with deep enough pockets, a brand could figure on at least some of their messaging sinking in.
How things have changed, huh?
In the disrupted media world, with so many touchpoints and so distracted an audience, no brand can bank on repetition even happening, let alone delivering a measurable degree of effectiveness.
As we know, the power is – literally – in the hands of the audience, who have the choice to consume and share content where, when and how they want.
Or not.
In such a fickle environment, there are no ironclad guarantees of success. For every viral sensation, there are thousands of forgotten stories, often representing a large investment of time, money and hard work in their creation.
Which is why relevance is so critical when you do catch an eyeball – you might only get one shot, so you better make it count.
As marketers and creators, we owe it to the audience to make it a guiding principle that the content we deliver speaks firstly, if not solely, to what matters to them.
That probably doesn’t include a shopping list of features, a re-interpretation of divisional KPI’s, or any other internal priority that matters not one jot to the viewer, but which so often finds itself front and centre when a brand tries to connect with them.
These are the ingredients of a sure-fire “you had to be there” moment, falling flat, dead in the water at the point of delivery.
Ironically, the disruptive technologies that present so many challenges also offer unequalled opportunities for brands to get their content in front of their audience, and the tools to understand what makes them tick.
With such depth of understanding, and in collaboration with expert partners who can use it to define compelling narratives, a brand has all the tools it needs to always deliver content of genuine importance and value to the audience.
In the context of brand storytelling, we think that’s just about the only thing that matters.

Andrew Marsh is the principal of Marshlandia.

BETTER OUT THAN IN

Manifesto


When I resigned from a well-paid, secure, Executive Producer role, to journey back down the uncertain path to start-up land, questions were asked as to my state-of-mind.
And possibly not without reason – it is a huge risk to kick off a new venture with limited capital, a (Sydney-sized) mortgage to pay, and mouths to feed.
But there I was, clocking in at a little over 20 years into my career, master of the “what”, and wondering “why?”
I had developed a fantastic repertoire of skills, and a solid body of work, which I guess most people would be happy with at that juncture.
But, having focussed on doing whatever it took to make a living, accepting any brief that crossed my desk, I had started to question if I could do this kind of thing for the rest of my working days.
The answer was a resounding “no”.
And so, the Marshlandia story began with an end: an end to selling myself short.
And the start of a journey focussed on putting my skills to better use, telling the kind of stories I feel passionate about.
Stories that connect with the heart and mind. That resonate because they reveal something about why we are the way we are, and why we do the things we do. Shaped with narratives intended to enlighten and entertain; coloured with imagery and soundscapes that are evocative and beautifully crafted.
Deserving the best of me – and demanding no less – in their creation.
It is a risky course to chart and, as I write this, there’s a long way to go before I know if it was worth it.
But I reckon, if I can deliver on this promise to myself, my clients and my collaborators, in future years I could be looking back on an outstanding body of work that has truly connected with audiences, delivered many memorable experiences, and that I’ve made a pretty decent living from.
And I won’t be wondering “why” anymore…

Andrew Marsh is the principal of Marshlandia.