Market Insight and Study Tours

Case Studies

Click on the links to read more about the projects:

Industry Tour

Engaging Values

Integrating events & media

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Developing Co-Productions


Industry Tour

The client
A values-led film production company based in the Baltics which was seeking to open new markets into SMEs. (work ongoing)

What were the goals for the group?
• Research concepts for extending an existing brand, storyline or characters across multiple technology platforms and geographic territories;
• Develop skills partnerships to support delivery of compelling storytelling that makes the most of digital technology.

What happened?
Contented worked with the production company’s managing director to set a brief and select a multidisciplinary creative team from the UK.

They carried out desk research and attended a series of workshops, facilitated by Contented, where they shared findings and focused their personal responses into a creative proposal. They agreed an overarching metaphor for an environmental story they wanted to tell in order to engage business and academic investors in tackling a perceived shortage of digital skills across the EU. They planned a two-week research trip to the target country, contacting diplomatic, business and personal networks in the UK and abroad, and set up a number of key interviews. Once there, they responded to opportunities as a discovery process, attending an energy conference, digital Expo and audio-visual industry market, gathering intelligence and meeting local suppliers. Meanwhile, they followed their story across the country, identifying film locations, interviewees and sponsors from businesses and universities. This work is ongoing.

The team uncovered new perspectives on how British companies were responding to the digital skills shortage and even what it meant to be a British citizen of Europe. They generated a proposal for a campaign documentary to illustrate the extent to which different people across the region were making a living in sympathy with their environment. Details of the production are confidential but it was designed in a way that engages communities in developing digital skills through generating content. The team continued to work on these ideas back in the home country, pitching the documentary to broadcasters at international film festival s and working with UK partners to develop a skills bid to the European Commission. The project is currently in pre-production.
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Digital Storytelling

The client
A values-led adventure company based in the Spanish Pyrenees seeking new ways to communicate to audiences

What were the goals for the group?
Research ways of digital storytelling. How do we engage our existing audiences in our services without ‘selling’ to them?
How can we use digital media to capture and share transformational experiences? How are other organisations operating and ensuring activities don’t harm the environment?

What happened?
Contented worked with the Director of the adventure company to set a brief and select a multidisciplinary creative team from the UK.
They carried out desk research and attended a series of workshops, facilitated by Contented, where they shared findings and focused their personal responses into a creative proposal. They agreed a overarching metaphor for a transformational story they wanted to tell in order to engage like-minded people and create a more sophisticated engagement strategy through visual communications. They planned a two-week research trip to the adventure centre in the Pyrenees, contacting other values-led businesses and social enterprises in the region, setting up interviews and location shoots.

The  company director participated in their activities to develop his own insights and feed into his marketing plan.

The team explored ideas and methodologies around digital storytelling as well as conventional marketing techniques and decided to create an artistic response to a classic marketing brief. The team captured the video and stills footage which was edited during the two-week research trip.

The company then used this to review its marketing plan.

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Integrating events & media

A UK-based trade company facilitating investment in East Africa.

EU Horizon2020 Themes:
ICT; Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry; Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies.

What were goals for individuals/group?
The brief was to create and deploy content to promote an international executive conference on agriculture, in a way that reflected the client’s interest in strategic Corporate Responsibility.

What happened?
We undertook an initial review and analysis of the social and environmental landscape in the target country, Uganda, and facilitated a workshop with the company to present our findings and identify their priorities. We noted the policy drivers of sustainable agriculture and skills for employability and entrepreneurship and designed into our production a knowledge-transfer partnership with a local camera crew and editor to develop their skills. This would serve as a pilot for a future EU-Africa project with Contented, the client and a local partner to be identified.

We created alongside the conference an optional industry study tour for delegates around key locations in the capital and countryside. This was to explore the challenges and successes of the agriculture sector in transforming itself to reduce negative impacts on local communities and the environment. We then wrote a treatment for a short documentary film weaving interviews with key ministers, business and community leaders, with footage filmed at locations on the study tour. This was to highlight the challenges, illustrate how foreign investors might address them, and shine a light on innovation.

This project is currently in post-production but some stills and clips have been released for illustrative purposes. The pilot content has become part of a wider cross-platform project we have developed with major regional partners, including an SME and university. This consortium is seeking private and public finance in Africa and Europe.

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Outcomes & challenges:
Project Risk and Impact Assessments were pushed into the higher quartile, mainly because of the nature of the stakeholders and dependencies on suppliers and learners working in Uganda, including cultural differences in attitudes to deadlines and quality. This required significant additional management resources.

The poor level of broadband infrastructure has been a major obstacle to collaboration between Europe and Africa. Footage from a day’s shooting can take all night to download and tariffs make even local conference calls expensive. As a result, the director had to make additional visits to the country, increasing the carbon and financial cost and we sought support from telecoms and travel industries to supplement the budget.

With our trained-up crew, we planned to repeat this during a longer conference and study-tour ,with a fast-turnaround edit of clips and cross-platform promotion. The financial downturn has caused the client to delay this until 2015.

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Cross-media Co-Production

The client: a Polish film company seeking to develop innovative co-productions with the UK.

Horizons 2020 themes: making the UK a magnet for innovation in Europe

What were the goals for the group?

  • Create concepts to help existing projects develop their audiences through transmedia storytelling, making innovative use of archive;
  • Support transnational and inter-regional co-operation, crowd-funding and business growth by shining a spotlight on common stories.

What happened?

Contented worked with the production company’s managing director and the BBC to set a brief and select a multidisciplinary creative team from the UK. Delegates attended a series of presentations on storytelling and archive and a workshop to respond to the brief and co-create initial ideas. Each also identified a wider soft skill they wanted to develop.

The team carried out desk-based research before travelling to Poland, where they spent a week travelling and interviewing to develop their ideas. They wrote and submitted a treatment with log-line, sample images, budget and financial plan. Delegates used a storytelling framework to create a private reflective blog about their own ups and down throughout the processes and progress in developing their skills.

Projects  were then shortlisted for a free pass to present to a panel of advisors from Canada, Poland and the UK and the producers of 12 TV/film projects already being prepared for investment – from Europe, the Middle East and North America.

Three concepts were chosen by the panel: a historical animation aimed at children, a digital social interaction methodology and a comedy situation drama. Conversations were facilitated with the projects throughout the week to explore connections and cultivate networks, with one-on-one consultations from the panel members and Contented advisors. Finally, projects were pitched to an international panel of 24 from broadcasters and film commissioners across Europe, with Q&A and feedback.

Contented and the partners are now incubating three of the projects.
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Innovation Adventure

The client: a vocational university from the UK.

What were the goals for the group?

  • Understand the opportunities for their expertise and local businesses in the context of the latest thinking on urban and economic development.
  • Create a collaborative concept for a new funding proposal that would engage the many stakeholders, making personal contact to potential international partners.

What happened?

We guided a small group of researchers and business managers from UK around an expo and trade show in Barcelona, supported by input from our own technical experts and contacts and those of our partners.

The interest was in smart technology as applied to a city environment with the intention of stimulating ideas.

We supported them through daily workshops to plan their meetings, develop their insights and communicate them to internal teams and external markets using digital media.

In this case, they filmed interviews and working demonstrators in several locations.

Participants valued the introductions to potential contacts, practical advice and new ways of thinking, as well as new tools for sharing their knowledge in interesting ways.

It could have been anywhere from Birmingham to Brussels. It could have been biogas in Belfast or Brno. What we endeavour to create is an atmosphere that sparks creative learning within businesses. Whilst we create a structured background in a low-intensity environment, participants are free to explore new potentials for their organisations.

We can do this for individuals, small groups or teams, at a range of venues  across a spectrum of technical areas.

This has proved really valuable to our clients, as people return home and translate their new-found enthusiasm to their colleagues.

The whole process includes communications management, taking on some of the burden of recording experiences and following up on meetings, such as an opening workshop to set strategic objectives and target resources, and a closing workshop to reflect on the experience, value and next steps.

Outcomes  & Challenges

We researched a large amount of online materials and a database of key contacts, whom we contacted on their behalf.  We followed up on their behalf with a thank-you with agreed actions, generating an action plan and updated database.

Participants gained new insights and captured them on digital media. They used these to:

  • update their colleagues back home on a daily basis, generating interest in learning following their return;
  • bring their presentations to life, including audiovisual interviews with proposed partners;
  • provide the marketing department with rich content that could be used to help raise the international profile of the university and support student recruitment.

Afterwards, we created a promotional video according to their branding guidelines and supported them in presenting to the Local Enterprise Partnership.

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