Nick Durrant. Image supplied.
The creative marketing world is driven by new impetus derived from the increasing influence of the digital world and creative technologists, according to Nick Durrant, director of Bluegrass Digital.
With regards to what a digital production agency is, Durrant said: “Think of a digital production agency as the equivalent of the video production you would call on to implement TV advertisements as part of an above-the-line campaign.”
He added: “They have a range of specialist technical skills encompassing all things digital, including web, social media, mobile and underlying management technologies.”
Durrant said that while the definition of the role of creative technologists might still be debated by the industry at large, they are playing an important role in terms of digital production. He said this is regardless of whether they are a person with an understanding of the creative strategic process or a creative strategist adept in coding.
According to Durrant the creative technologist is key in matching the appropriate digital technologies with the expected outcome as well as ensuring the implementation achieves the intended outcome.
Regarding the selection of a digital production agency, Durrant said: “It would be easy to think that all digital agencies are on the same footing skills and experience wise. After all, it’s a relatively new field, especially in South Africa. But when choosing a digital production agency, marketers and creative agencies shouldn’t overlook experience, in order to ensure they team up with the best partner for their, and their clients’, needs.”
Durrant said no amount of qualifications, resources, talk, and other “mumbo jumbo” can replace the difficult situations, late nights, changing briefs and client demands than actual experience and international experience is advantageous, particularly if the company in question is vying for a cross-border account.
“Servicing a client abroad requires a strong focus not only on customer service, but also project management. It is important to ensure digital projects are delivered on time and to brief.”
In terms of technical skills, Durrant said: “Accreditation across a range of technologies, and experience in working on the gamut of platforms, from iPhones to Facebook, to the regular desktop web is essential when looking for a partner. Web content management expertise should include key web platforms such as Umbraco, EPiServer and SharePoint.”
He added mobile development experience is also vital.
When seeking out a digital production agency, Durrant said it is important to source one with the relevant knowledge because with tight deadlines and budgets “rabbits need to be pulled out of hats more often than not,” therefore choosing a partner who “has been around the block” a few times, thus having a depth of knowledge to draw on, will be constructive.
“As the digital sun rises, choosing a digital production partner is going to be as important as choosing a video production company has been for ad agencies over the past few decades. The good news is, despite the relative newness of the field, pockets of experience do exist,” he said.