I recently gave a talk for the members of the video division of the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers or AIPP for short. My talk was ostensibly about creative and how creatives are an increasingly valuable and necessary part of the video production process.
Several members I spoke to on the night asked me, “if creative services are really becoming a larger part of video production, then what is the difference between a production company and an agency?”
It’s a great question to ask and my answer was simple… Not as much as you think.
While many larger agencies still work across multiple formats from print to tv and digital to technology, there are now so many niche agencies that focus on just one speciality field. ‘Digital agencies’ was a term that became popular to describe the multitude of agencies that popped up once the online experience enabled them to.
These agencies became popular with many clients because they specialised solely in the online experience and were therefore considered the experts in the field. This in term lead to them inevitably winning the digital portion of accounts that usually would have been bundled into a client’s relationship with a larger agency.
You now also have experiential agencies, event agencies, design agencies… The list goes on and on.
The fact is, smart video production companies are moving into the same territory that all these other specialists moved into when they moved out of the traditional agency structure and built their own specialist agencies.
The term video agency is going to become more prevalent as those who move into that landscape begin to expand their service offering to give clients the same experience they get at an agency. They will also receive the benefits of a tailored, specific approach to video content that only those from a solid production background can provide.
In the end it comes down to how I summarised my talk on the night – video production is just one small service.
It’s always going to be limited in its growth opportunities and it’s always going to be highly competitive, because on paper as a ‘video production company’ you are just the same as every other company – yes you might have the latest camera, you might have other fancy toys and you may have the latest software – but those things are not a unique point of difference. They are something everyone else can have too.
As a video agency you can transcend that conversation and establish a point of difference based on the quality of your creative and the ideas and strategy that you develop for your clients that go beyond simply producing a video for them.
In the end what would you prefer to be? A limited service provider in the business of video production… Or a fully-fledged creative partner helping your clients develop ideas that connect their companies, brands and organizations to their consumers, customers and audience?
I’d rather be in the business of ideas myself!