We recently held a video content workshop which helped brands tackle how to put a watertight strategy together. One of the most interesting questions to come out of the session was what our biggest mistakes on set have been and what we learnt from them.
It’s funny because celebrating failure and showing vulnerability is something we believe all brands need to embrace in today’s world, so this was a great reminder of how we can do the same. Below are just a few of our biggest learnings from some of the most challenging shoots we’ve worked on:
The one where the stakeholders weren’t involved in the whole process
We once worked on a project which, let’s just say, was a bit out there creatively. We got sign off from the dept in charge and rightly or wrongly, we assumed this was all that was needed. Trouble was, as we found out in post-production, there was an entire senior team who hadn’t been taken through the creative but whose opinion mattered.
Luckily we managed to rectify the issues, however the project was delayed and it ended up costing unnecessary time and money.
What we learned: Always ensure your key stakeholders have been properly briefed and sign off on the concept. Best case scenario, you should organise a workshop to run through all the elements of what’s being proposed. At the very least, take time to consider whose opinion is going to matter and speak to them before you head into production.
The one where timings were thrown out the window
We once worked on a very big campaign with a client who had a launch date 6 months from when the project commenced. We’d agreed to a broad timing plan, highlighting roles and responsibilities, yet with no immediate pressure to sign off on certain elements for the film we’d been briefed to produce, priorities changed and in all honesty, we didn’t feel it was fair to push back.
Critically, this changed the scope of the campaign, the budget and ultimate delivery. It also meant us mucking about our really talented freelance team who we’d hired to work the job. Everyone left feeling if we’d all have controlled things at the beginning, it would have made for a much more successful project.
What we learned: It is everyones responsibility to commit to a strict timing plan. Of course there can be some flexibility. However, being strict with delivery schedules and feedback rounds prevents unnecessarily uncomfortable conversations later down the line.
The one where the audience wasn’t central to the story
One of our first major brand gigs we ever did as Mattr, we were asked to create a film to celebrate a new product launch. The team in charge gave us a creative brief, we put together a beautiful film about craft with a classical track in the background, but it was only after the film was created that we were told the content wasn’t at all right for the audience we were speaking to...”these aren’t artists we’re talking to guys, these are teenage boy racers”. A bodge job and drum and bass track later, we actually ended up creating one of the best performing campaigns of the year BUT this was very very lucky and it could have gone horribly wrong.
What we learned: ALWAYS interrogate a brief. Even if it has been written up for you, don’t just rely on what you’re being told...get to the bottom of who you’re meant to be creating this film for and only then come up with your ideas.
The one where the platforms weren’t considered
We often work with clients who want to create multi-platform campaigns. The trouble is unless you’re told specifically about the platforms you’re creating the content for, it’s not going to work as hard as it could do for you.
We learnt this the hard way when a client decided to repurpose a campaign on multiple platforms beyond the scope of the brief. Low and behold the content didn’t perform as well here as on the channels we had planned for, yet the client believed this indicated the channel’s weren’t appropriate to work on again, not that the content that lived on it wasn’t right.
What we learned: Research every single platform you can see your content sitting on and create ideas bespoke for that platform. And try to create general guidelines to stick to, that way your money will work harder.
Ahhh, that felt good. It’s nice to share bad experiences and turn them into positive lessons…
If you agree and want to do the same with likeminded people, you should check out BRAND, BITCH & BREKKIE. Our regular therapy session for brand marketers who wish to share their wins and losses on the road to building brands that matter.
Until next time!