One of the things we love to do here at Crews Control is showcase talent and creativity. Express KCS provides amazing creative services, and I had a chat with Client Services Director Neil Storer about Express KCS and how companies can utilize their services.
Starting off, when did the idea for a business like Express KCS come about?
Express KCS began in the 1970s, providing high-end production services to international agencies and brands operating within India. We were the first company in India to offer digitized typesetting and went on to be the sub-continent’s first digital imaging services provider. At the time, our unique combination of technology and skills was a draw for multinationals who were then opening their doors in India.
Ironically, with the advent of reliable and fast broadband connectivity, our geographical location, which was once a business barrier, became a major competitive advantage. We could often turn around overseas clients’ projects overnight and have them ready for first thing the next morning. At the same time, Express KCS experienced high growth and we re-incorporated as a US company. It was around this time that our creative services capabilities expanded to include video and digital.
We pride ourselves on our strong technology platform, most recently evident in our award-winning marketing resource management (MRM) system MediaFerry. It provides our global client base with seamless project and asset management tools and constant access to our highly responsive 24/7 creative and production operations in India. It has also been the gateway for us to expand our video capabilities and facilitate large file transfers.
What are the main areas of services you provide?
How about a graphic?
Here it is:
Can you tell me a little more about MediaFerry and how you incorporate it into your services?
MediaFerry grew from our own internal requirement to request, track, collaborate and proof work across territories, time zones and job functions. After our own usage was so successful, it made sense to roll MediaFerry out to our publishing and corporate clients to connect their workflow to ours.
MediaFerry provides transparency to campaigns, jobs and asset management and ensures quick and secure real-time access to their status.
Today MediaFerry has over 10,000 authorized users using 12 terabytes of live data.
Do you have any other technology services incorporated into your business model?
Yes, we have a number of new technologies that help our clients. These include Linkz for making, managing and monitoring mobile campaigns, SmartDesign print and digital artwork automation as well as interfaces for digital ad publishing (via DFP/DFA for example), tracking and monitoring.
To interface with our clients’ existing technology infrastructure and 3rd party services – such as IBM’s Aspera – we have developed extensive systems integration experience and file transfer optimization capabilities.
Technology and processes have always been central to the way operate and evolve. As a consequence, we are constantly investing in new skills, services, processes and personnel to both accommodate changing clients’ demands and to meet our own internal challenges.
How would a corporate manage work with an off-shore design team?
Although this is not always possible, we typically advise clients to start small at the outset of their offshore relationship. This gives both parties time to get to know each other without the added pressures inherent in larger projects. It also allows us to learn about their brand, brand guidelines, business drivers and preferred working practices — all essential knowledge to support future projects.
Once an understanding is established of the on-going work, we often help build an economic case to justify further use of the offshore team, while defining an optimal workflow and recommending how to assemble the appropriate skills and personalities in the client’s dedicated FTE team.
We recognize that dealing with a remote company in the first instance requires a leap of faith from the corporate. Especially when dealing with a service of a creative nature. Vistaprint, a hugely respected company faced the same challenge, and has the confidence to underpin its service with the following guarantee.
We offer the same guarantee and are proud to say Vistaprint is a long-established EKCS client.
How do you go about creating off-shore design teams for your clients?
This varies from client to client depending on their skills requirements, hours of coverage and turnaround demands. Some representative examples of the nature and variety of the work we produce include Hearst Publishing, which we have a large team of team of fast and dynamic retouchers operating 20 hour per day to handle their global images as they come through in real time. For one of the Big Four accounting firms we have assembled a team of video professionals comprising creative directors, animators and editors, And for a large US insurance company, our team of HTML5 coders and designers fulfil all of their digital advertising and EDM requirements.
What are some examples of how could a corporate company could utilize your services?
The easiest way to answer your question is to look at this from the perspective of everyday typical client engagements. Let’s start with a video scenario: our team can take numerous client supplied user-generated video clips and undertake post production stages – storyboard, edit, colorize, audio selection and mixing, titles, transitions – to create real and engaging content like how-to videos, films for conferences and events or HR onboarding videos. On the digital side, that could entail repurposing a client’s lead communication, say video, into numerous multi-channel and multi-device secondary communications for global roll-out like interactive customer guides, catalogs, lookbooks, infographics, and so on. For a production services scenario, we add capacity to production overspill situation, retouching images from photo shoot; ad adaptations; newsletter design and production; file conversions; web optimizing.
These examples are really just the tip of the iceberg but serve to give an insight of what we do.
What are the ways Express KCS works as an extension of corporate in-house agencies?
A client recently described us their pain-point removers. We liked this as it speaks to our problem-solving approach to business: tailoring our systems and dedicated teams to a client’s unique and changing process-based challenges as opposed to just providing a quick-fix transactional service. Understanding our clients’ pain-points draws on our workflow, systems and supply-chain capabilities and overlays them on our comprehensive creative services capabilities. This is why the process management and dedicated resource components of our integrated service bring so much value to our clients
Do you have any case studies that you can share?
We have many great case studies, most can be found at our website. If someone is looking for a specific solution case study please feel free to contact me!
Thank you so much for your time, Neil!