How much of your budget ends up in your content?
It’s a key question for many comms professionals. Current options, whether in-house or external, come with pros and cons. In-house teams can produce a lot of film at low cost, but the pay-off is headcount that many CFOs discourage. External partners provide flexibility, but they have to cover overheads through higher production budgets.
When you look at Zing Productions profile, you see a third way. They have a company structure, but keep overheads low and stay agile to produce more engaging, intelligent visual communications. More of the money shows on the screen and the quality is comparable to bigger players.
Zing’s founder and owner is Sarah Beadsmoore, former Managing Director of Endemol’s Hawkshead Television. She knew that having a bigger team meant higher costs and was determined to give clients something different. Her timing was good – she set up Zing in 2007 just before the global economic crisis put unprecedented pressure on budgets.
‘Zing’ refers to capturing a love of life and passion for the work. This is evident in the work they have produced for clients including Barclays, the NHS, EE and Tesco.
“We think of it as vital communication,” says Beadsmoore. “Vital because it’s important, vital and crucial from an audience perspective, but also full of life and vitality, full of Zing.”
While Zing is not a carbon copy of Hawkshead, there are similarities in the kinds of projects Zing has completed and the company ethos. The main difference, according to Beadsmoore, is that because Zing is a smaller company, she can maintain complete control of projects from the start of the creative process, right through to delivery.
In line with Beadsmoore’s work throughout her career, Zing focuses on emotional and human stories. “We’re known for our documentaries that come down to getting that human aspect. Our job is to take the fear away and that comes across on the screen,” she says.
Beadsmoore describes Zing as a trusted pair of hands that tackles every project with integrity, a respect for the brief, and the ability to deliver value for every client. She adds: “Creativity is at the heart of everything we do – we’re film makers and storytellers after all. Clients trust that we will have the integrity to come up with something that’s going to work for them, and not be afraid to push back if it’s appropriate.” By working with Zing, clients know that their project will be delivered on time and on budget.
Research the audience
Zing has a laser-focus on target audience research that helps them get under the skin of new clients and new projects right from the start. “We do a lot of research upfront to try to understand the audience, to find out what they know, what they think, and what they feel.”
They’re not afraid to question what the client wants in order to get the best end result, making sure everything has a value and is worth watching from an audience perspective.
Zing manage client expectations through healthy, respectful and flexible relationships. Honesty and openness in the relationship regarding time and budget is achieved because Beadsmoore sees every project through from start to finish.
Time poor audiences
Beadsmoore recognises the big changes that have occurred in the industry. Because people are much more time-poor, she says that content needs to be sharper, shorter and have a value that engages people in a different way. “The fundamental thing is what’s in it for the target audience. Respecting other people’s time and making sure the end result has an emotional or thematic pull has to be the priority. It’s all about people.”
Ultimately, Zing maintains low overheads and create audience-first, intelligent, visual communications. This, along with a core focus on respecting the audience, helps Zing stand out in a crowded market place. Zing remains competitive, nimble and reactive in an ever-growing and fast-paced field.
Zing are featured in Moving Image Directory, the unique invitation-only list of verified brand film specialists.