Veejo is 7 this month, and when I struck out back in 2008 video production seemed like a much easier market to be in, even with clouds of impending economic doom hanging like widows weeds on the near horizon. Video had emerged from the dark ages and was becoming a must-have in the marketing plans of most organisations, and there weren’t many good middle of the market companies out there either, which gave me a nice little niche to slip into with Veejo. How that all changed with the DSLR, cheap desktop editing software and ubiquitous fibre broadband.

Now it seems as if every student leaving university starts up a production company as a gap year project, rates have plummeted and prima facie content quality hasn’t necessarily followed that downwards spiral because the amazing cinematic effects of lights, sliders and full frame cameras are very good at making pigs ears look like silk purses. But mine is not to lament, there’s no point crying over the market. We have to look forwards and one of the ways we’re doing that is by exploring opportunities in collective working, white-labelling and retainer work.

Day to day it’s impossible for me to compete on the kind of low rates offered by some of our competitors and still position Veejo as a credible reservoir of expertise and quality. But what we can do is look at how we can add value, and one great way is to embed ourselves into client teams on a medium and long term basis. Last year we spent six months on retainer with one of our major clients. They were releasing two new products, were launching graduate and internship schemes and had a requirement for a number of videos for social media and the web. Our time with them brought immense benefits to both sides :

  1. Being able to project turnover for six months  gave us the ability to configure considerably reduced production rates and we were able to drop our day rate by almost 40%.
  1. It meant that we could really get to know their team and forward plan alongside their project milestones. They could call us up and throw work at us for the three days every week we were exclusively working for them.
  1. Which all meant that  economies of scale sent productivity through the roof. We created a dozen or more PR videos, marketing videos and graduate recruitment videos for our client in that six month period at a cost far less than if we had been treating each one as an individual project.
  1. We still made our margins over the time period, and the client was delighted. Happy days.

We’d love to expand on this for other clients, adding greater strategy design into the mix at the beginning of the process and planning 6-12 month video campaigns with weekly or monthly drip feeds of content. It’s what I love about running a business and one of the creative challenges that excites me the most –  how can we come up with answers to market challenges that add value to both our clients and ourselves? Sometimes outside forces push you into far better ways of working.

Have a great weekend – Chris