Behind the curtain of video collaboration: Part 1

Melissa Alchimisti

May 22, 2017

As we frequently acknowledge here at Hightail, creative content is a major driver of engagement and growth. So naturally we ourselves are always looking to expand our content library, especially with powerful video material. Having produced a batch of demo and how-to videos recently, we wanted to take a more creative approach on our next project.

After partnering with Social Motion Media (SOMO) for a customer story last year, we realized the agency would be a perfect choice to help us create a short, fun and engaging video that illustrates how our review and approve platform allows marketers and their agencies to streamline the time it takes to produce content, from idea to launch.

Naturally we’re using Hightail to communicate and collaborate on this project and thought that capturing the creative process would be an interesting demonstration of Hightail’s capabilities and benefits. Throughout the lifecycle of this project, we’ll be posting regular updates to our blog, showing you how the project is progressing, seeing where Hightail is helping and getting SOMO’s perspective on the process.

Week 1: The Kickoff

Starting a project is always the most exciting stage. You’ve got so many hopes, dreams and expectations for how it will turn out, especially when you’ve partnered with such a talented agency as SOMO.

We started with a discussion about our target audience and key messages and then start sharing some ideas about creative direction. SOMO dropped some visual references in our project Space.

We like the jungle theme. The world of content production can often feel like a jungle and we love SOMO’s idea to use animal tails to represent the people involved and how the project flows.

The critical creative brief

Having a great creative brief is critical to the success of any project. It’s important to ensure that everyone is on the same page from the very beginning.

Though we had developed a draft of the brief before starting talks with SOMO, it’s continuing to evolve and we’ve started a conversation about it using our Discussions feature (currently in Beta, get in touch if you’d like to try it out).

A creative brief, much like the collaborative products we want to describe in our new video, is a living document that both client and agency should contribute to and not be a set of rules to which SOMO must work.

You’ll find more tips on writing a great creative brief in this post.

SOMO’s standpoint

Now let’s get SOMO’s perspective from Creative Director, Jennifer Mawby and Creative Partner, Mark Glover Masterson.

“When SOMO first started talking to Hightail about a creative video, it was obvious that we would be using a Space just for this project. It has helped more than we ever expected in terms of taking the project from idea into action.

After our initial conversation, the Space allowed us to drop in initial ideas and comments (from written comments to visual references) while we were still exploring the vision and the potential for the project. As the approach and the direction started to take shape, we were able to continue working in the same space but begin to add more structured information: e.g. project brief, a rough schedule, and leading up to the creative brief in the same place.

As creative people, we are visual and work best with images compared to lists or paragraphs of text. It’s also true that a picture speaks a thousand words. The visual thumbnails of the content we’ve shared back and forth give us an immediate sense of where we are in the forming up of the creative and also the sense of progression. We don’t need a project plan to immediately sense where we are in the process and what needs to happen next. We can use project plans for more formal conversations but keep everyone on track at a glance.

The comments feature has been helpful to work through edits and consensus on the documents we’ve created and shared for the more formal parts of organizing the required work. The document owner/author can then quickly create a new version and also alert the team when that new version is ready.

We’ve confirmed we are all on the same page with the Project Brief, and our next step as an agency is to draft and share the Creative Brief in order to clearly outline to our client how we will take the aims and ideas into an engaging and fun video. We are all looking forward to the next step.”

Follow the Hightail/SOMO project Space to see all the latest developments in this video collaboration. Next week on the blog, we’ll review the development of the creative brief and see if we get a final version signed off. See you then.