The Things We Make Podcast Recap: Episode 11-13
The ever-evolving world of marketing and advertising is full of award-winning individuals with amazing stories to share. In this edition of The Things We Make Podcast recap, we talk about the multi-faceted industry from storytelling, branding, and creative production.
In the past, The Things We Make Podcast has put a spotlight on the creative individuals behind the world’s favorite campaigns. Since June, we’ve had the pleasure of talking to branding maven Marie Pavlich, multi-talented creative Marc Calamia, and award-winning strategist and storyteller Ryan McDaid.
Every episode is full of quirky stories, useful insights, and career advice that’ll help keep you inspired! Here’s a rundown of what went down in the latest episodes of The Things We Make Podcast.
Marie’s solid background in branding began during the infancy of interactive entertainment as she helped creatives develop entertainment properties that stood out. She bounced from agency to agency, handling brands like Kraft, and Nestle. After leaving the agency world, Marie founded Focus & Flow Branding where she helps SMEs develop their brand. Her work is focused on demystifying the complexities of branding for startups.
“The biggest issue is not taking the time to just write down and put some words around what their brand is. Oftentimes when smaller brands are starting, the person who is starting the brand kind of is the brand whether it’s a product or a service. Their personality, the things they like, they encompass the brand. They make good gut decisions, they know who the brand is but if they don’t take the time to say, ‘okay, if I were going to define what my top three values are they would be x, y, & z. If I was going to define what my audience is, it would be this. If I was going to define how I’m different, what my point of differentiation is from all of my competitors, it’s this.’ So that’s one of the biggest issues. The second one is the point of differentiation. People just often don’t take the time to think about what they’re offering is, [and how it’s] different from the other people that are offering that thing. Oftentimes, it’s more intangible than anything else. Because there are x amount of speaking coaches but if you understand how your point of view is unique, it’s a lot easier to talk about yourself to the media and your marketing materials.
There are so many different ways that your product can differentiate and the best way to get to that is just to understand who else is out there. Spend the time to do some research.”
Listen to the episode:
From performing on a world stage to shooting hot dogs into space, Marc has had four different careers since he was 20. His first career in performing arts led him totour the world as a Broadway performer and a ballet dancer. He eventually made the jump to the film industry where he produced a handful of independent movies. Eventually, Marcfound himself in the world of TV and digital video entertainment before beginning his career in advertising.
“The thing that’s most important to me always has been not being beholden to what was already done, or what the boundaries were, or what we’ve been told is possible. So many people stop short of the idea because they can’t get outside of that box. If they hadn’t seen it, they wouldn’t think it was possible. I’ve always started and ended the creation process by pushing beyond what we thought was possible and it’s served me well. That’s something that, now I realize, it’s integral to what I do. There are many things we tried on that side that didn’t work. I remember a creative director asking me, I want a mariachi band to have jet packs and fly up out of a pond and land on the surface of the ground there in front of us and play us a song. Well, there’s a way we can do that, but maybe not with jet packs. Maybe there’s a way. I can think there are some cables that might create the same movement. Right away, I’m predisposed to thinking that I know where the boundaries probably are, but let’s just keep pushing the idea until we find a way that isn’t restricted.”
Listen to the episode:
In the early stages of his career, Ryan taught screenwriting at the New York Film Academy. Eventually, he sought to expand his knowledge of storytelling beyond the confines of academia. He sought storytelling skills beyond his theoretical knowledge as he wanted to move culture through stories. Later, he made the jump to the advertising agency world where he worked with brands like Oreo, Canon, IHOP, Ancestry.com, and Hennessy.
“The biggest thing with both advertising and writing in general is you need to know what your central idea is. You need to know what that major tension is in the story that you are constantly working to resolve. In advertising, that often comes from the consumer. What’s their need? What’s that thing that you’re trying to solve in their life with your product. And in the story, that’s the larger conflict that’s occurring in your script. Knowing that central idea, and knowing where the tension is in it, I think that’s always the starting block for any project whether it’s advertising or writing.
The big mistake that brands often make is that when picking an archetype, they think of themselves as the protagonist of the story. What they’re forgetting is that brands aren’t the hero of the story, the protagonist is the consumer.”
Listen to the episode: