Back when Chuck Studios didn’t exist and I was still directing actors, it bothered me that I didn’t speak the language that was needed to get those actors to take an Oscar-worthy sip of lemonade. A change of perspective was what I needed. So I enrolled in an acting workshop. It was definitely out of my comfort zone, to say the least. Meandering on a floor in a room somewhere outside Amersfoort, I heard my mother say: ‘Is everything okay son?’. It was, I just wanted to be better.
A couple of years later, for that exact same reason, I went back to school. Since Chuck Studios is focusing more and more on providing strategic services for our food clients, a MiniMBA in Marketing seemed like a perfect starting point for me. The MiniMBA, lead by MarketingWeek columnist Mark Ritson, opened the door for a better understanding of the challenges that lie ahead.
After completing this, I realised I enjoyed this learning so much that I continued with a MiniMBA in Brand Management. So now I am a Brand Manager. Who would have thought? Creators, like directors and photographers, see themselves as idiot savants who you shouldn’t bother with peripheral matters such as budgets and market research.
Pragmatic producers working around these talents are generally project bangers; “what do you want to be delivered and when?”. It seems like not one director or production company owner cares about marketing or brands. Usually, this results in blurting out an obvious gut feeling that positions brand-thinking as the enemy. Which often ends with a disgruntled director shouting, “They’re destroying my whole film!” I’m afraid, quite often, I was that director. My opinion had been ignored so often that there was no other option, but to change.
The life of a marketeer is so much more than just that film. Tactical assets are the end result of a long and wobbly road paved with research, hypotheses, insecurities, resistance, and accountability. If there is one thing, among many other things, I have learned from this MiniMBA: change your perspective.
Creators who claim their seat at the marketing table owe it to their clients to go back to school. Fair enough, reading Byron Sharp‘s ‘How Brands Grow’ is quite a tough read. But do it anyway, because it really is how your client thinks. While you’re at it, carry on with the work of Jenni Romaniuk and Les Binet & Peter Field, look at some case studies of the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) or MarketingWeek and listen to the amazing On Strategy Showcase with Fergus O’Carroll. So please don’t forget dear creators, a great film doesn’t make great advertising. And if they lose, we lose.