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The Content Director, Imaging Producer relationship. How to make it work.

"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said."

The relationship between Imaging Producer and Content Director is obviously a vital one. If you're not both on the same page, the possibility of things going VERY wrong is real

This article does not set out in any way shape or form to suggest that it should all be one-way traffic, but after 30 years of producing Imaging for some amazing Content Directors, these are my observations of how some of the best approach a relationship with their imaging dude (or dudette)!

1. Let them do the writing (or at least the re-writing)

Let's face it when it comes to commercials for clients, or Scripts for your next

TVC, you trust the professionals. Just because you understand the tactics, doesn't always mean you know the best way to present them. If your Imaging Producer has had any amount of serious experience, they will understand two things. Firstly the best way to present your message, and secondly how to go about it. For the majority of us, we do our best work when we hear the promo before pen even hits paper (sometimes we can even hear the edits).

2. Share your vision with them.

The worst thing an Imaging Producer can hear from you is “I'm not really sure what I want, but I’ll know it when I hear it”.

Would you let your Music Director run riot through the library and schedule on their own "Gut Feel"? Or would you sit with them and run over the song universe with a fine tooth comb and give them a solid understanding of how you want the station to sound.

Well, the same should apply to your imaging guy. When you brief them on a Promo or imaging of any type, let them know what you want to hear. Do you want grabs, do you want it kept short. And don't forget what you DON'T want. This can be just as important as what you want.

3.  Give Them Time.

Surprise surprise a 45-second promo doesn't take 45 seconds to produce. You

need time to write a compelling script, time to get the best read from the voice-over artist, and you certainly need time to crack out a great edit and mix.

I know there will be times when "I need it now" will be unavoidable, but if you were honest, with some planning, you could be giving your Imaging guys a good heads up that's gonna give them some time to prepare.

One of my current clients is a Program Director in Asia, if something big is coming up he'll call me and talk it through days, if not weeks before the brief hits my inbox. By that time, I have scripts in my head, I've researched some great work parts and I'm ready to go. It actually means he gets a faster turn around because the most of the work is done by the time he asks for it.

4. Be clear in your head what you want results you want, and make sure they hear it too.

Let's be honest, we're not talking "I want 100 entries by midday tomorrow",

or "The client expects 10 000 concert tickets sold in the first hour".

What we ARE talking about here is, "I want them to be thinking what the hell was that teaser promo for?" or "Since it's between a couple of songs I want to keep it short, but I also want it to be very edgy".

If you are clear about your vision, we will both be on the same page from the get-go.

5.  What emotion do you want to elicit?

You may think we've answered that above, but leave no stone unturned.

What feeling do you want to leave your listener with? Radio is all about emotion. We are very good at eliciting them. From an emotional phone call with a young Cancer Survivor on the breakfast show to the excited cash winner on the drive show to the laughs with the nights' show. We do it all the time.

But what about in your imaging? "What emotion are we chasing in this piece?" should be the first question every time you're contemplating the next task for your imaging guru.

6.  Treat them right.

George Thorogood said it best "Treat her right", but swap

out the "her" for a "them"... well... You get the idea. You ask a lot of that person (or people) in that dim dark studio making your station sound awesome. So look after them. Give them the afternoon off occasionally if they've been burning the candle at both ends, throw them a couple of tickets to the concert they just built the promo for or even just say "thanks" every now and then. You'll be surprised what a difference it can make.

7.  Give them the right tools.

A builder can't build a house without a hammer. And it's usually not (if ever) the cheapest one in the hardware store. The days of "just get the free version" are long gone. It's a competitive world out there, and without the right tool for the job, you might as well give them a 1/4 tape machine and some splicing tape.

Forcing your production people to create your station’s imaging with out dated or amateur tools just isn’t gonna fly.

8.  Give them a deadline.

This might seem counter-intuitive to point 3, but if you've given them enough

lead time, then as long as your deadline is reasonable, it will work to his/her advantage.

Consider the amount of work that crosses their desk each day. If they're working with your breakfast team as well as imaging the station, their day will be flat out from the moment they walk in the door, to the moment they grab that first beer after work.

A deadline will help them prioritise their day, and make sure that you get the results you want when you want them.

So there you have it, 8 little tips that should ensure the next time you roll out some new imaging on your station it's not just making noise, it's selling your message!

Darren "Robbo" Robertson is available to image your station. To find out more about his Imaging services see his website.

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