Creative logistics company Extreme Reach, which last year combined with Adstream, may have been founded almost 15 years ago, but it feels like it has always known what was coming.
Every move Extreme Reach has made, every service it has developed and sharpened, is designed to simplify the tangled complexity of producing, delivering and tracking creative work in today’s layered industry.
“It's extremely complex,” says Wayne Cunningham, Extreme Reach’s State Manager for South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
“You know, it's been a long time since the good old days of having a campaign consisting of TV, radio and print.”
Last month, things got even more complex as Netflix announced a new, more affordable subscription option to be supported by advertising. This, according to Wayne, is just the latest seismic shift in an ever-moving landscape of audience pathways that creative and communication businesses must navigate.
The purpose of Extreme Reach is to make every part of that navigation, and the processes around it, smoother.
“The easiest way to think about it is that we have a connectivity suite,” says Wayne.
“We're the connection point – we can connect advertising content to the end user via publishers and broadcasters, but we can also connect brands to their agencies, and connect agencies to their production partners. Or, if you look at it from a global point of view, if you've got agencies that are operating in different jurisdictions we can connect their workflow so they work closer together.”
The pace of change in advertising does not exclude anyone – it is as accelerated for Extreme Reach as it is for those the company works with. Wayne says the company is constantly in conversation with people at the coalface of the industry to ensure it has solutions for new challenges as they arise.
This human approach, in tandem with Extreme Reach’s top-flight automation software for processes like initial broadcast quality checks, means the company is successfully treading the fine line between embracing the potential of the future and remembering the lessons of the past.
“We recognize that not all agencies are the same,” says Wayne. “One of the things that we have built into our systems is flexibility – so we have very specific workflows for particular agencies, we can place orders for people manually, and our human intervention is able to ensure quality… sometimes [solely] software-based systems aren't able to pick up things that humans can.”
As a company that is always looking forward, Extreme Reach is well positioned to predict the next big trends that will upend the industry.
On the horizon, Wayne sees that there may - as long prophesied - indeed by robots coming for our jobs . But, he’s quick to point out that the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data could be more about adding to the advertising worker’s toolkit than obliterating their role entirely.
“Already AI is producing quality creative material,” says Wayne. “This is early. Five or ten years down the track, how is that going to develop and how is that going to change the model?
“The other thing is data. I think there is there is a huge overlook in the collection of data at the creative level.
“I think that is part of the reason that you've seen over the last few years a trend for brands to bring creative and media in-house. I think a lot of that is to do with the lack of visibility… and if agencies can start to demonstrate, ‘we have data that reflects the efficiency of our operation’… that is a huge advantage.
"You'll start to see those agency partners and brand partnerships start to really solidify.”
It’s this focus on enabling better work that unifies all of Extreme Reach’s broad service offerings, and a key reason in the company’s decision to continue supporting the AADC.
They understand that the work, in all of its glorious complexity, is worthwhile.