August 30, 2021

Team Spotlight: Rob Payne on Next Level Collaboration

Head of Brand Partnerships at The Mill discusses how working more closely with brands and their product teams enables them to get to the best creative.

Technicolor Creative Studios is home to some of the industry’s most talented artists and innovative thought leaders – always willing to share their insights and behind-the-scenes observations from across our global studios.

Rob Payne is Head of Brand Partnerships at The Mill in the UK. Here he discusses what’s next in Next Level collaboration. Specifically, how is Technicolor Creative Studios working more closely with brands and their product teams, and how does this enable them to get the best from their creative brief and achieve their KPIs?

It’s long been acknowledged that the most effective work is the work that gets into culture, generates conversation and creates change. This is the North Star for any client looking to develop impactful work for their brand. That being said, there isn’t one simple, never done before answer on how to achieve this. Instead, it’s about bringing everything we already know together so that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Putting the Client at the Heart of Everything

As an industry, we recognize that our clients will always know more about their brands than we do; yet as creative ‘experts’ the industry often holds the client at arms-length, requesting [just] the problem so that they can deliver the solution. The Mill works the other way around, putting the client at the heart of the process and working collaboratively with them to get to the best solution – using their knowledge to get to standout work that is true and unique to the brand.

Again, as an industry, we understand that the best creative work often takes time; however, all too often the creative and production process is squeezed, making great ideas difficult and costly to execute. Building a relationship with our clients by taking the time to genuinely understand them and their business from the outset of the relationship means taking every opportunity to work with them further upstream, identifying creative opportunities earlier and maximizing the chance for delivering ‘Next Level’ work more consistently and cost effectively.

Working in this way and having input into the strategic side of the project also means that we better understand the client’s business imperatives and what success from their POV looks like. That in turn means that, from the briefing stage, we are working collaboratively to bake these KPIs into every aspect of the project, rather than trying to accommodate them once we get to the production phase.

Working with Brands to Tell Their Story

To generate interest and conversation, communications first and foremost need to tell a story. In today’s world, the ability to tell these stories has never been greater – due in part to the proliferation of media channels now at our disposal. There are now so many different touchpoints to engage with audiences, and though integration is nothing new, it’s often forgotten to take the time to recognize that true integration is not just about creating ‘matching luggage.’ It’s about using channels to their own best advantage to best tell different parts of the story.

The situation is further compounded by the types of channels that are emerging. New creative technologies that drive experience, or data-driven channels that allow us ever more information with which to get to know audiences, are often employed simply because they are the latest thing – and with not enough thought into what part they play in engaging audiences in the strategic message or creative narrative.

Creating Next Level Work You Can Be Proud Of

At The Mill, delivering ‘Next Level’ work with our clients is an amalgamation of all of these points. The outstanding work we pride ourselves on across all of the different channels comes not just from how our artists craft the final product – but from how we work with our client partners to best understand their business, craft the brief, and focus on how and where to tell the most relevant, engaging story.

Learn more about Next Level collaboration at The Mill.