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With the globalization of talent, the future of content is boundaryless

As part of The Drum’s Globalization Deep Dive, India-based brand strategist Ambi Parameswaran looks at the future of content, and how both its creation and consumption is evolving on the back of globalization.

In August 2020, at the height of the pandemic, two Chennai-based filmmakers were deeply troubled by the plight of daily wage film industry workers. All shootings had ground to a halt and no end was in sight. One of them was running a not-for-profit aimed at helping the needy, but the film industry workers needed some special care. They figured out that when restrictions were eased and the shooting of films would be permitted, they should do something for the workers who had been deeply impacted.

This led to the creation of a nine-part miniseries, Navarasa, based on nine universal emotions, which premiered on Netflix on August 6 2021. Leading actors, directors, cinematographers and music directors all gave their time gratis. The stressed film workers were paid their per diem. The surplus created was given to the film industry workers unions, which identified the most affected and ensured that they got their weekly rations. What was also revealing was that on the Netflix platform the series trended for several weeks. Not just in India but across the world. Remember that these stories, scripts and teams were rapidly put together and shooting happened under restricted conditions.

Content has no boundaries now

A series produced in Tamil Nadu is now finding an eager audience in Europe and the US. Movies produced in Malayalam are eagerly watched in numerous countries. In a similar vein, the Spanish language serial Money Heist has become such a cult hit that many brands are planning to ride on this wave in India. The same can be said of the Israeli, Korean and Danish series.

Film industry restrictions have led to a significant change in consumption patterns across the world. New modes of engagement are being worked out not just in the film industry but across all industries. Technology adoption has exploded. What may previously have taken a decade has happened in just a few months. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

How well is the ‘remote working’ working?

The marketing communication industry has been working from home since March 2020. In the not-too-distant past, campaign kickoff meetings used to be held in nice offices or fancy off-site venues. Teams numbering 20 or even 50 were assembled to be briefed. They then had to come back with their ideas in 10 days or less. For one more marathon meeting. All that has not happened in the last 18 months. Teams are working in remote locations.

Ad industry professionals are not sure if the ideation process has benefited from this remote working. The human touch – so essential for the ideation and innovation process – has been missing. And not all team leaders have been able to navigate this new terrain with ease. Those who could engage with their teams in smaller groups have had good results. Those who did not fully understand the need for that extra touch left their teams disoriented. Employee turnover seems to have skyrocketed in several sectors.

Creative benefits of WFH

Not that WFH has not had its benefits. Companies are now trying to identify jobs that could be parcelled out in a ‘project mode’ to distant locations. A client may be in Bangalore, but the analytics team can be based in Gurgaon or Patiala in North India. The key is to figure out what can be remotely located and what needs to be near the field.

As offices start opening up in India, companies are figuring out how to manage the innovation/ideation process yet benefit from the advantages offered by technology. Those that succeed will be those that understand the following well: which jobs can be done on project mode and hence can be packaged and shipped out; where the best talent available is, and how to attract and retain them; what special skills will be needed by team leaders to manage this hybrid workgroup.

Already the creative services industry has figured out a way to access talent from any part of the world. It is not a surprise to hear that for an ad film being made in Chennai, the voice-over artist is based in Denmark. Or for a campaign that needs high-quality illustrations, the artist is based in Nairobi. The age of globalization of talent and globalization of content creators is here. Those that understand and ride this wave will reap rich rewards, just like the producers of Navarasa.

Ambi Parameswaran is a best-selling author, an independent brand strategist and the founder of Brand-Building.com.

For more on how technology and trends are bringing the world together, check out The Drum’s Globalization Deep Dive.

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