B randed video content is all the rage– and for good reason. Already accounting for over half of consumer internet traffic, video will be over 80% of the internet as we know it by 2019. Study after study has confirmed that video is undoubtedly the most powerful medium to connect with customers, employees, and investors (a.k.a. everyone who’s anyone to a business). What’s more, as the Association of National Advertisers report on the rise of the in-house agency observed, companies are increasingly bringing creative work, including video production, in-house. Some of the most progressive brands, like Red Bull and Marriott, run full-blown corporate studios. This trend is expected to continue, as marketing leaders cite several factors for the shift; most notably, speed of project turnaround and a desire to own engagement and conversion data surrounding branded video content. So, in essence: content is king, video content is everything, and leading brands who get this are taking video content management inside.
But Wait, There’s a Catch. It’s not easy to create, distribute, repurpose, and manage all that content well. For those outside of IT, there can be a tendency to take empowering technologies for granted and underestimate the enormous challenge of managing video data on the back end (particularly at 4K ultra-HD resolution).
Spoiler alert: unsexy as it sounds, storage infrastructure is at the heart of what can technically make or break a company’s video content program.
For companies bringing all or some video content management in-house, broadening the understanding of what’s involved can help engage IT effectively (added bonus: they’ll appreciate it). So, let’s look at the typical branded video lifecycle (concepting, creating, distributing, and repurposing), including potential IT-related pitfalls within the workflow powering it all.
Stage 1: Concept: Some video campaigns are big deals (complete with star influencers), some may be simple tutorials, and others may be tactical surrounding a promotion or event. During the concept stage, whether the expected turnaround is months or days, the creative team frequently draws on existing content for inspiration. This can turn into way more trouble than it should without a solid data storage infrastructure in place. Why? It has to do with media asset management, or MAM. A good MAM solution basically ensures that all content files, regardless of size or age, are accessible by the right people at the right time. The key word here is accessibility; that simply can’t happen with a broken infrastructure of disconnected hard drives, tape archives, or an aging Storage Area Network (SAN) where creators can’t find what they need when they need it. With the right storage, quickly and easily finding the right files in the MAM across existing and archived content is a breeze.
Stage 2: Creation: This is the most crucial step in the process because it typically involves a group of collaborators working together, quite often under tight timelines.. During filming, editing, and formatting, the group needs to work closely even when geographically dispersed. From ingest to work-in-progress applications through finishing and QA, technical infrastructure makes a world of difference. If the creative team can’t access data in real-time, the typical result is duplicated efforts- expect these challenges to be exacerbated as brands work with more content created outside of the core team (user-generated, employee-generated, agency-generated). Your storage architecture can greatly affect how fast those files are found (whether they’re found at all) by the right users. This is particularly true with high-resolution content like 4K, where typical infrastructure can’t handle the performance and scale needed- resulting in dropped frames and other delays. With purpose-built storage providing the performance required for modern content workflows, collaborators can quickly access, edit, and save critical files in real-time.
Stage 3: Distribution: Though all four stages have fundamentally transformed over the past decade, perhaps none has so much as distribution. With both a proliferation of devices and an expansion of unique channels for content, brands have never before had to be in so many places all at the same time. Many of these devices and channels have their own submission requirements, demanding different file types, video lengths, image quality, and file sizes for each- this means the content team spends time formatting. For the workflow, that means far more transcoding, rendering, and delivery than ever before. Good storage architecture has a catalytic effect on the applications used for these processes, enabling them to function rapidly, and greatly simplifies management of these programs.
Stage 4: Repurposing + Remonetizing: Think about how often and quickly text-based media like blog posts are published, and then used as baselines to form multiple pieces like a tip- sheet or white paper. Video is much more difficult to do well. There are usually more people and more technology involved in bringing video to life, which means more money invested and more pressure. Repurposing – it’s the key to working asset management and remonetization, but it’s often ignored until the content is needed later. To truly empower content repurposing and tap into the “the long tail”, storage infrastructure is again the secret weapon on the IT back end. Increasingly, brands need to repackage older content for everything from documenting milestones or time lapsing to special anniversary footage or a Throwback Thursday. What’s needed is a more active archive containing a true inventory of assets made available for re-use into fresh production workflows as quickly as possible. At the same time, the solution should also be smart enough to move files that are accessed less often to lower-cost, more resilient storage.
Take an Active Role
For marketing leaders, it’s no longer sufficient to defer the decisions of your workflow infrastructure to IT. To win at content management, you need to understand the implication of technology decisions and work hand-in-hand with IT to determine your near-term and long-term needs. Fostering a partnership among marketing and IT, companies that choose the right asset management, workflow, and storage solutions will gain competitive advantage and set themselves up for content success.