It's no surprise that the way people consume content is changing -- young people don't trust old forms of content, and branded content is taking the marketing world by storm. And every brand in the world is trying to capture the interest of the young and the diverse.
With all of this industry disruption, you cannot work with traditionally focused directors who are experts in big-budget commercials, 30-second spots and content intended for a media buy. In this age of emerging platforms, you need a new type of director who can experiment in the same playful ways that consumers now engage with their content.
This new breed of director understands the new tools, platforms and ways of collaborating because that knowledge is what they leveraged to become DIY directors. And, having never known or felt the constraints, regulations and bureaucracy involved in a big shoot, they are familiar with creating content with a certain freedom you don't find in traditional players.
These directors and directorial teams use concept creation, writing, shooting and editing -- employing a formula that entices people to click, watch and tell their friends about the content. Directors for agencies and brands that don't adopt modern methods for this evolving digital media will be left in the dust, and there are several reasons for this.
1. Funny has changed. Humor has evolved, just like taste, morals and everything else in society has. And what people think is funny has changed. While "How I Met Your Mother" is still totally engaging and relevant comedy to some audiences, there are other, mostly younger viewers who connect more with the web series "Between Two Ferns" or the latest Nash Grier Vine. Funny continues to evolve, and the new breed of director understands what is funny enough to drive social conversation.
2. You want views that count. There are views, and then there are views that count. You can get all the views you want, but are they the right views from your target audience? Do those views then lead to sharing? It's the act of spreading that really reflects powerful content. And these new young directors understand what leads to action online.
3. The minority consumer is becoming the majority. We all know that there is a lack of diversity on the creative side of our industry. While decent strides have been made to increase the number of women and multicultural directors, the old system of studios and agents is still heavily tilted toward supporting the success of the white, male directors. And that is not good news for our brand partners, because the buying power is definitely shifting toward the multicultural consumer.
Online hubs like Vine and YouTube remove the barriers of ethnicity and gender that previously existed between a creative and the audience. And considering that many brands count views from the multicultural viewer as the ones they want, they have more chances to work with a more diverse team of directors that might better engage a diverse audience.
4. No more loner couch potatoes. TV is now more social than ever, so we need creatives who are social to the core. People are once again discussing TV shows and debating plots and characters, both at the water cooler at work and online. Consider the finale of "Lost," the "Sopranos" season end or the plot twists on "House of Cards." You need directors who behave in a way that drives conversation and buzz around this content.
5. They launched their careers via YouTube, so they understand YouTube. User-generated content continues to be the favorite, and most trusted, content with young consumers. Thanks to a big effort on YouTube's part to make it a friendlier platform for brands, YouTube will become an even more powerful place for engagement. On YouTube, user-generated videos get 10 times more views than brand-owned content. Modern directors understand the platform, because it's the platform they leveraged to get famous.
6. Micro-content is the new black. Does your creative talent reflect your audience viewing habits? Just as Netflix has changed the way we view long-form content, (who isn't planning on binging on "Orange is the New Black" as soon as it goes live?) Vine-created micro-storytelling and some great creative talent is migrating to that new Wild West of content -- a place where they are unrestricted and can reach their audience directly and through mini-films that speak to the young consumer.
With the growing variety of digital content platforms, from Instagram to YouTube, everyone's a content creator. But with so much content floating around, a new 360-degree approach to directing in advertising is imperative, and some of the most exciting talent may just be found on your computer.