What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Shortly after we wrapped shooting, NEXT went through a round of layoffs where they got rid of 40% of the company, including the creative team. We ended up leaving before the commercials were finished. I’ve been told that the CEO and VP of marketing were quite happy with it and felt like it came out pretty well. However, the problem was that we were the people who were going to promote the spots, so I don’t think they’ve actually utilized the spots beyond posting them on YouTube. My plan was to use them in our growth marketing strategy, campaign ideation, and social media, but the company decided to scale their business down dramatically. I think they’ve stepped back on trying to have a brand.
How did VeracityColab perform from a project management standpoint?
I would say that it was pretty good. They were very thorough. We had a very long email thread that occasionally got a little hard to follow, but I wouldn't fault them for that. I'd say they were very good at listening; if I needed to ask a question again that I couldn't find, they were really quick to help point to the solution.
They were good about trying to mitigate any miscommunication, and being someone that really applied a similar amount of effort toward preventing that as well, I think we made a very effective team. Prior to my joining the team and taking over the contract, I know that they had a harder time because they were unable to communicate what they really wanted. We were also able to kind of get rid of some noise and people that didn't need to be in the conversation. By the time that I got in and course-corrected, we were able to really effectively move this project along at a much faster pace, and they were excellent at understanding what I was looking for and what we needed.
What did you find most impressive about them?
I've been on a few projects like this before. If we needed more funding to get a broader vision brought to life but were met with resistance from the business, VeracityColab was pretty good about trying to make sure that the client left happy. It did take a little bit of ideation, and I felt like between Max and I working creatively together, we were able to solve this. Rather than immediately suggesting cost cuts, they’d have us look at what mattered most to us.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I was a vocal supporter and proponent of them at NEXT, but I can tell you that there were a handful of people that had a different experience or felt that it could have been a little smoother and quicker. I know that when they came back and asked for a revised budget, some people felt caught off guard since we were already investing so much money. I would say the reason why this hit NEXT so hard is because they were asking for an additional $50,000–$70,000.
One of my colleagues who worked with us on the project and has a tremendous amount of experience in video production felt that there was opportunity for them to be a little bit more effective with the organization from start to finish. I understand when you're in a creative role and you have a lot of clients, there are so many different things, and different clients have different priorities, so I understood and tried to maintain a bit more vocal support. I think that they did try to do their best with what they could perceive as the needs and the challenges of the situation. NEXT was not an easy client, and I tried very hard to make us a really nice and palatable working partner. I think that that came through, and I think that's why we got the good work that we did.
I did not love the stylist or the makeup artist that were hired; I felt like they were a little too inexperienced and or on the lower end of what I was expecting. The stylist only brought one shoe option that never would’ve worked for a trucker, and the stylist brought clothes that looked way too cheap for the shipper. There was something in there that worked, but it was very close call where I felt almost uncomfortable with the way that it was going. If I'm going to put on a production of $110,000, I want TV-grade styling. The stylist and makeup artist weren’t bad, but they didn't understand the concept well enough, and that meant that I didn't necessarily get the exact look that I wanted. I got enough, but I felt like we could have been a little closer. My colleague also told me that they didn’t give many music options. Those details – like the styling, makeup, and music – really separate an extremely good commercial and one that feels small-scale.
Any advice for potential customers?
I would say you need to know what you're doing. You cannot not be a good creative director and hire this agency because, while they have a creative director there, if you don't know what you want out of it or you don't understand creative direction, you're going to go in circles. They'll interpret a lot of potentially wrong ideas if you're not guiding them correctly and really sharing enough insights. I know it was really helpful to them that I relayed all of the most important information as it pertained to our demographic.
If you don't have a good creative director working with you, and you try to hire them to do it all, you might take a longer time to get to the end result than if you have someone that understands what you're really trying to do. I would also say that communication and organization are key here. When it comes to a project of this scale, there's so much work that comes.
I think there were some constraints within the business. If they are looking to get on the next level and become top of mind, then I think they have an opportunity based on who they are as people. I really, really enjoyed working with them as a team. If they're looking to get to a premiere level, it's in those details.