Simian Provides Creative Companies with a Better Way to Make Sales, Produce Work and Stay Organized
(February 05, 2013)
Over the past several years, Simian has quietly led a revolution that is changing the way that creative companies run their businesses. Its media management platform, used by scores of production companies, advertising agencies, music houses, visual effect providers and others, consists of an all-in-one toolset for carrying out such tasks as distributing sales reels, managing websites, creating business presentations and organizing media libraries. With cutting edge features such as video analytics previously available only to Fortune 500 companies, the Simian platform is helping companies work smarter in ways that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.
Simian introduced its platform in 2008 as a way to help creative companies manage their growing libraries of video and other media files. Its creators combined their expertise in software development, web design, branding, graphic design and content management, with in-depth research into the business practices of potential users.
"We spent a lot of time with production companies, talking to them about the features they needed," recalls Simian co-founder Jay Brooks. "And we continue to listen to our clients. We ask them what they need. We also try to understand what they need but don't know they need and extrapolate on that."
One of the early innovations of the Simian platform was a radically new approach to the way companies build, manage and distribute sales reels. Previously, if a production company were bidding on an advertising project, it might embed a standard director's reel into an email, or simply attached a QuickTime file. Simian made it possible to build custom reels on the fly and package several reels into a single email.
"Say you're bidding on a Kellogg's commercial and you have three directors whom you feel are qualified," explains Simian co-founder Brian Atton. "Simian would allow you to package all three reels into a single presentation so that the agency producer can jump from one to the next. Rather than inundating your contact with separate emails, they have it all in one place."
Even more impressive is Simian's analytics feature which allows users to track sales reels and other media. Users can tell if a particular recipient has opened an email and/or forwarded it to colleagues. They also know which spots the recipient watched, and if they watched the whole video and how many times.
That, notes Atton, allows companies to fine-tune their sales pitch. "They know what spots the recipient is interested in and so when they follow up, they know what questions to ask," he says. Atton adds that Simian is planning to introduce a new "heat maps" feature that will let users know if recipients are interested in particular scenes within a video. "You might learn that they are interested in a car crash because they watched it seven times."
Two years ago, in another industry first, Simian developed a feature that allows users to quickly create microsites. Microsites can be employed in variety of ways including for sales presentations and project management. Virtually any type of content can be added to a site from show reels, casting videos and review media to contact sheets and storyboards, all with sophisticated commenting, approval, permission and password features.
Simian includes a variety of templates that can be customized with the user's branding. "Some clients use the sites as a pitch deck, others as a capabilities presentation," notes Brooks. "Either way, they make an awesome impression."
One client created a microsite to showcase work it had done on the film Ted with all of the content based on the film's teddy bear main character. "We often see applications that we hadn't thought of," Brooks says. "That's cool."
The true power of the Simian platform is in the way it integrates a broad range of functions through a single interface. The same portal that allows users to build sales reels, also allows them to manage website content. Companies can change or add new video content to their site in just a few keystrokes.
"Simian has a built-in content management system," Atton explains. "You can use it to update your blog or your website. You can add a director to the website and attach a reel."
Simian has just released a new version of the platform that includes a state-of-the-art video player. It provides seamless compatibility with various web browsers as well as with the mobile devices and tablets that more and more professionals are using for screening. A future version will include cloud-based media management tools that will make media assets even more accessible and easier to manage.
With creative companies facing tighter budgets, stricter deadlines and stiffer competition, any tool that helps them work smarter and more efficiently is going to receive a warm welcome. And that, says Brooks, is what Simian does. "We are the only company that offers this suite of products," he says. "Companies were looking for a better solution and that's what we delivered."
Simian(tm) takes the business of managing digital media to the next level with an innovative workflow and ideation platform designed by industry leaders for industry leaders. Simian's streamlined, yet highly flexible platform has set the industry standard for online media sharing and workflow solutions for creative companies.