Filmmaking is a team sport and despite it not always being recognised, the client is a fundamental part of that team. So we sat down with a client who has a long history of formulating briefs, judging creative, commissioning production companies, and being present on set to make sure it all goes down right.

Enter left of camera – Sharu Sobie, Marketing Manager at Tiger Brands.

How did your marketing journey begin?

Like a lot of marketers out there, I fell into it. My first qualification was a science one but I knew I didn’t want to end up in that field so I did a business diploma as a bridge and then found myself at a marketing agency. I haven’t looked back.

How important is the role of video content in your marketing strategy? 

It’s critical. In South Africa, TV still remains our widest reaching medium so it goes without say that in an ideal world, every brand should have a TV ad. Unfortunately our budgets don’t always allow for that so we have to use other channels.  The importance of digital video marketing and its relevance is no longer a question. Even if you aren’t in marketing, you know that video is the best performing type of content. As brands, we need to show up authentically and in a relevant way because digital as a channel is in the most personal space of a consumer’s life (their phone) – video is the best way to achieve this.

What affects your decision on which video projects to commission?

The starting point will always be the strategic objective of the campaign and what we are trying to achieve. What is the best way to connect with our audience, how do we translate that to content and on what media platform. After that, it really comes down to the fact that we are governed by a budget and media principles. In my world, 70% of my budget has to go towards paid media support so what is left will decide how we approach the creative.

What do you look for in a treatment from a creator?

I think the most important thing for me is solid understanding of the brand and how they translate that into their vision. There are lots of ways to be creative but if they don’t get the brand or our strategic objectives, it will be difficult to deliver on the brief. 

What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced when commissioning and creating video content for your brands?

Challenges? I work with Filmer, they sort those out ????. (Editor’s note: We didn’t put Sharu up to that)

In all seriousness, traditional production costs are expensive and the reality is budgets aren’t what they used to be anymore. Content also doesn’t have the longevity it used to, especially on digital so it also doesn’t make sense to overinvest in production. This is a very different approach for traditional brands. Content creators are out there making videos on their phones in real time and for brands to be relevant and engaging, we can’t spend 6 months developing and creating campaigns. I also think another significant challenge is finding the balance between hard sell brand advertising and beautiful creative content and I guess that always comes down to a negotiation.

You’ve recently become marketing manager of a major South African brand. What excites you most about this new challenge?

The thing about working on brands is that as a marketer, you are usually only around for a defined period in its existence. The brand (especially in this case) was around even before my grandmother was born and I have no doubt will continue for long after I am gone. I’m excited because for a short time, I get to be part of that journey and hopefully add to its story.

Any advice for clients who want to get the most out of their video content?

I think it’s easy to get caught up in trends or creating something new but at the end of the day, you have to put your brand and consumer first. Make sure you are answering real insights, not opinions in a meaningful way

What is your favourite item on the craft table?

The craft table is a real problem for me – I am such a snacker I could never choose just one thing.