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Top 5 Essential Assets Production Companies Need to Provide to Marketing Departments.

It's not good enough to just create great content or entertainment; you need to be able to articulate your creative vision. Generally speaking, if you have sold your show, content, or film to a network, site, or studio; it is now their responsibility to launch and promote your production. It all sounds good; until you see the creative.

In recent years, what has now become the norm is to downsize internal marketing and creative departments. Key executives are still responsible for massive workload with dozens of simultaneous shows or products to promote with half the resources, time, and budget. It is also not uncommon that marketing and development departments may still be operating in communication silos.

Despite the ease of information transactions, it is safer to assume the marketing executives have NOT had exposure to all of the production assets; or have been downloaded on the direction you have already provided to the programming or development executives months ago.

The difference between a great launch campaign; and one that leaves you kicking yourself in disbelief, may come down to the production company itself and the information it provides upfront. Take the time to do your own Brand Discovery and develop a comprehensive Branding Brief.

Shows, series, theatrical releases; they are all products in need of raising awareness, solid positioning, competitive distinctions, and the right environment to build traction. While it would be unrealistic to assume you can control the creative campaign execution; as the production company you can provide incredible strategic insight and direction upfront.

BEFORE you sit in front of the executives who control how your story is ultimately told; be prepared to come to the kickoff meeting with a well defined brand that goes beyond a sizzle reel or summary. Make sure you provide these essential assets.

1. A Branding Brief. This is arguably the most important piece of information; it serves as the roadmap defining everything from what the show is and the intention; to the emotional descriptors, voice and tone. If you are not a marketer; find one that can help guide you through the discovery process.

2. Brand Guidelines. Whether the campaign is produced in-house or by a creative agency; it is essential to include any style-guides or brand guardrails that need to be considered. The creative team is oftentimes not present at the kickoff meetings; put all brand essentials into a written document. Does a sponsor need to be included; are there mandatory legal marks, or any topics or specific areas to avoid? Take a stab at providing key information into a Creative Brief; it saves time and provides a proverbial checklist to avoid mistakes.

3. Build a List of Deliverables/Assets. Chances are the campaign strategy will include promotional tactics across multi-platforms; this requires communication upfront on both sides to gain the appropriate assets from your crew and meet deadlines often occurring before production wraps. Social media requires stories to be told in shorter durations; PR may require exclusive footage or interviews, promo may need talent to do one-liners/wild-lines; print campaigns require talent availability and shoots; and sales may require presentation materials for customized pitches. While talented marketing departments can engineer creative magic; it works best with planning.

4. Production Timelines and Shoot Dates. Yes, marketing will need to be on-set. Work it into the actual production and set aside time to accommodate any press, promotional shoots or interviews. Be open to extending the production schedule if they are willing to foot the bill. Avoid surprises and always ask what formats are needed to avoid re-delivering assets.

5. A List of Contacts, Location/Times, and Any Other Pertinent Information. The basics don't require much more than that; but if your leading lady doesn't want anyone to make eye contact, this would be good info to provide.

Know your Brand. Ask Questions. Define Roles; including what role your internal marketing team will play to avoid an overlap in outreach. Creative is subjective, and you may or may not have input on the backend; if you collaborate and have provide the essentials upfront, the probability for great creative increases.

Lorey Zlotnick is an award-winning brand marketing veteran, speaker, and start-up launch specialist. As the SVP of Marketing, she has strategically launched, built, re-branded, and managed global iconic sports, entertainment, media, and tech brands for the NFL, FOX, Disney, SONY, Los Angeles Times, eCompanies, and NewsCorp.

Zlotnick is currently the CMO + Brand Architect of Zequity Marketing where she guides companies, start-ups, production companies, and creative agencies through all phases of strategic branding and culture.

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