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What is Decoupling in Brand Video Production?

Posted by Barb Kittridge on September 30, 2022

Decoupling in video production is a technical term for a very simple concept. Basically, companies are breaking the coupling between creative ideation and the actual filming of their video content. In a traditional agency model, both of these jobs are handled under the same roof. In a decoupled production, however, the two are discrete processes.

Customer demand for polished digital content is at an all-time high and consumption of video content is a key way to connect with brands. In this climate, businesses have decided en masse to decouple their creative and production elements.

It’s worth asking what goes into this process — and what exactly these businesses are getting out of it. With this knowledge in hand, you can decide whether it’s time to decouple your own video creation process.

What is Decoupling Between Companies and Their Creative Agencies?

To understand decoupling, it’s important to go back to a more traditional model of creative resource use: the agency model. When companies work with a single creative agency, everything is under a single roof.

From idea generation and development to filming, localization and distribution, full-service agencies handle every part of video production. Decoupling means going in the opposite direction treating each of those responsibilities as a discrete entity.

As the Spectra agency blog explains, production can be described as a “garden and factory” business process. These related terms describe the two sides of content generation: The garden is the creative space where ideas are generated, and the factory is the reliable unit of the company that turns those concepts into finished deliverables.

In a decoupled model, ideas for content can come from any department. That may still mean using an agency, or it could also entail having concepts come from the marketing team, international offices or third parties. Any of these departments can serve as the proverbial garden.

As for the factory, companies can choose from a few different options. Organizations with the scale to build out their own departments and the will to take complete control over their resource use and strategic execution can bring video production in house. Other businesses can pair up with reliable third parties that can create an inventory of consistent videos to their specifications.

Why is Decoupling so Prominent Now?

One follow-up question about the decision to decouple video production’s creative and technical elements is: why now? Why have businesses chosen to end their all-in-one agency relationships and take a more direct hand in their video asset production?

With the high costs of video production there are considerable potential agency revenue and client costs involved. Companies may want to take advantage of increasing their margins and decreasing marketing costs by exploring alternative models of creative production. Incite noted that by putting in the effort to decouple the elements of video creation, businesses can shave up to 20% from their digital marketing budgets — an opportunity leaders are happy to seize.

One critical reason why this is happening now is that creative agencies are becoming more amenable to the idea of giving up control of production and strictly remaining on the “ideas” side of the fence. As production professional Nick Page pointed out on his LinkedIn blog, the agency mindset has changed, overcoming “initial resistance.” Now, these companies are focusing on their core competency of being a “garden” for ideas, while production happens elsewhere.

cta 1 What is Decoupling

What’s the Impact of Decoupling on Video Content Production?

Decoupling wouldn’t be worth doing unless it had a tangible effect on the way companies produce videos. Organizations that have already reached the decoupling point and moved in the opposite direction from coupled content generation have found a new set of best practices and outcomes.

The differences between decoupled and coupled creative production affect two key areas — the “garden” of conceptualization and the “factory” of content production.

Part 1: The Ideas

Ideas are the heart of video content, and they originate from anywhere — at least in decoupled production, they do. This new freedom to take concepts from internal teams can have a major positive impact on the form that content takes, provided businesses cast a wide enough net.

This may mean working with regional teams in secondary or emerging markets to generate content that is specifically designed to target local audiences. This is a great way to make sure audience-specific videos are created with sensitivity and relevance. If every idea for a global company comes from the same centralized agency, such nuance might be lost.

Part 2: The Production

The actual creation of video content in a decoupled model can be reassigned to a trusted third-party video production house, or businesses can take it fully in-house. As the IPV blog explained, several major companies are taking the latter route. Inspired by early success stories like Red Bull and GoPro, these businesses are eager to generate an inventory of videos that closely align with their brand messaging.

Whether a company opens an in-house studio or hires a third party, that greater degree of control and oversight is an important part of decoupling. Outside of the opaque all-in-one agency model, businesses can enforce consistent branding and take control of overall video quality, affecting both creative execution and technical details. This can be enough to offset the relative efficiency of working with a single agency.

How Can You Create an Ideal Decoupled Video Production Department?

The process of creating your own video production arm, whether you’re working with a partner or opening a studio under your roof, requires dedication and focus. To reach a comfortable decoupling point, your business should be ready to create content that will meet customer demand and expectations — and today’s audiences are more concerned than ever with the idea of high-quality brand video.

For direction on how to reach these elevated standards, you can turn to expert consultants from the world of corporate video and content creation. These professionals can match your brand’s needs with the best practices of high-quality video filming, editing, post production, localization and more.

This is one way in which Crews Control can help your company step into the modern world of content creation, away from the coupled agency model, while retaining efficiency and keeping lead time low.

Download our production decoupling ebook to learn more about this major shift in digital marketing strategy and resource use or, to find out how to craft your own decoupled video program, reach out to our consultants.

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