Taking a glimpse into an agency production house, we chatted with Emmie Cerow, Director, Content Production, at GMR Marketing about how their integrated approach enables them to create meaningful human experiences.
Could you give us a brief overview of your structure?
GMR is unique in that our production house sits within an agency, so we can act as agency producers or a production company. We have our own in-house directors, DPs, editors and VFX team, but we can crew local anywhere in the country due to our vast network of contacts. This model allows us to flex depending on what the client and creative call for.
How would you describe your company’s POV?
GMR creates unforgettable experiences born of humanity. We make memories that matter. We are known for world-class experiential marketing where the human experience is at the center of all we do.
That mindset translates into the content work we do. The audience is at the center of everything. Our directors and producers are experts at connecting with real people and authentically putting their story in the center of the lens, capturing the heart of specific emotion, emphasizing them powerfully and with intention.
When bringing a concept to life, how do you incorporate your creative style while keeping in mind the client’s vision and brief?
Content is one form of language we use to tell and share the stories we create. Our goal is to use content to attract attention, weaving specific threads of emotion towards those we seek to reach. With content, we engage our audience in a story and inspire them, leaving lasting and memorable connections that have emotional and psychological appeal. With this approach, brands build deeper, genuine connections with their audience. In all the work we do, we take our client’s vision and apply our creativity and empathy that gets to the heart of the story.
In the past few years, a lot has changed rapidly given the pandemic and the worsening effects of climate change. How has the structure of production companies adapted and in what ways has this shifted agency-production relationships?
The pandemic forced the production industry as a whole to re-evaluate our process – an update that was long overdue. Pre-production has always been critical, but the pandemic forced us to be even more exacting with our planning. Agency creative/client/production alignment need to be laser focused before the camera rolls. In addition, our team has become experts in harnessing local talent, which helps unite the concept with the production in a way only local talent can connect with their community.
We have found, and made routine, the use of the technology that joins us digitally. As we move out the pandemic, we are seeing people coming back to set. I love the creative energy having the agency/client on set, but not the carbon footprint. We continue to advocate and push for awareness and continued trust in the technology, so that clients and agency members can remain remote when possible. We can still create a collaborative environment that sparks creativity while having specific people selected to be in person and others virtually connected. The key is making sure the right person is in the right place for that shoot.
More and more we’re seeing production companies have the opportunity to work directly with brands and clients. How do you see this trend evolving?
It is an easy connection when the brand has a strong creative infrastructure. That direct line to the production company creates efficiencies and allows for the client’s voice to be closer to the content. It is a powerful outcome. Where it is not as effective is when a brand is not great at forming their mission and perspective story. The content can fall flat and disengage the end user. Consumers are careful, savvy, and quick to disassociate with a brand that appears to be trying to just sell them something. It is more important than ever for brands to be connected to a mission that has impact on the world and the people in it. While I have seen the connection work, I have also seen it be wasteful. I would urge brands to be thoughtful about what they want to say and spend the time and money to get to the root of the impact they want to have.