For today’s ‘Day in the Life’, we hear from the two co-founder’s of We Generate – a creative marketing and talent representation agency – Luka Zak and Joshua Brandon. Here’s some insight into their company, and how their day-to-day working lives have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
Joshua: I am the co-founder and COO of a creative marketing and talent representation agency called We Generate. Luka is my business partner and co-founder/CCO. The agency has worked in various areas such as telecoms, food & beverage and ecommerce but we have quite a specific focus on digital marketing in the music industry.
We help artists, record labels, managers, agents and promoters set up a digital strategy which helps deliver their marketing objectives. Recent campaigns have been across all different platforms and for a variety of artists. Electronic acts like Tiesto, Hip Hop acts like Da Baby, Singer/songwriters like Olivia Rodrigo, big pop acts such as Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth and Justin Bieber, through to development acts across all genres.
Talk us through a typical day…
Luka: We believe discovering a routine that enables you to find your peak productivity is paramount. For me it is a mixture of mental and physical exercises first thing in the morning, before we switch on or even think about anything work related. Having a clear mind and feeling energised is a great platform to tackle what is usually a very full on work day.
With the office closed, we begin the work day with a team call, kicking off the meeting with a status update on all the active campaigns. That’s a good opportunity to share the content successes we’ve had. If there are any concerns, or issues we’ve run into, we can then collectively tackle those. By this point everyones in their flow and it’s a good time for us to have a morning brainstorm on creatives for prospective work.
Following the team call, we usually have a management catch up on anything relevant there; finance, strategy, outstanding issues. We find getting it done like that means the rest of the day is just focused on action – we’re not a meeting-heavy business. We have a lot of pitching and constant communication with our network which spans hundreds of creators and publishers, so we need to ensure that meetings are productive and efficient. Results are what keep us all busy and what we love. So most of our day is, rightfully, focused on getting the job done.
How do you maintain an effective work/life balance?
Joshua: This one is hard. Especially with a small team like we have everyone is constantly at capacity, but we all learned the hard way in our old job running the businesses we did before. You’re of no help to anyone when you’re burnt out and unable to focus properly. So we try and support each other as much as possible and are getting better at picking the right campaigns. For us, it’s not a case of accepting anything. We have to really feel it will work, that we’ll add value that the client will genuinely notice making a difference to their own business. It has to be that way.
We take that level of honesty quite seriously. We can’t play a numbers game or not be trying our absolute hardest to deliver an ROI and have noticed that doing the jobs that we enjoy and are good at gives us not only positive results but also makes the work environment that much more positive. The working hours become a lot more enjoyable after that. It takes time to get there though and we’re doing our best to keep improving things for both Luka and myself and the amazing team we’re very lucky to have.
How has strategy changed at your company?
Joshua: We set out to create a publishing company when we first started, that shifted through various different things until we landed on the digital strategy and content services we provide now. When we were involved in just a few accounts it was a very very different model. Now we work with so many accounts and influencers, giving us a much more diverse range of revenue streams. This presents a completely different ambition in becoming more of an end-to-end solution for all things digital; virtual, IP, rights management and ownership, marketing, management.
It’s not a process that happens overnight, you have to earn the trust in each of those respective sectors before you can credibly evolve into others. The number one thing, is making sure our clients interest is the number one priority, making sure their spend is delivering on their KPIs. If we can continue to do that, we will naturally evolve into the full solution which we believe we are on the way to doing.
How has customer behaviour (or your clients’ customer behaviour) changed during the pandemic?
Luka: Customer behaviour is constantly changing; irrespective of pandemics, political unrest, emergence of new social platforms. That’s such a key part of our role, we need to be ahead of the curve, monitor those consumer changes through cultural trends. Being more specific to the pandemic, customer behaviour has changed in the sense that there’s more activity. The publishers and creators engagement have increased exponentially simply down to the fact that more people are online.
In regards to our clients, we’d probably say their expectations have changed but we’ve really welcomed that. When we first started it was a bit of an unknown space and everyone was feeling their way through it. It meant the pages were a final thought to a campaign. Now what we do, it’s often leading the campaigns. Additionally it’s not just the campaigns but the signing and creative process too. So we’re a lot more involved, which is amazing as that was the ambition from the start. We knew that this space was a huge opportunity for artists to engage with millions of existing and new fans at a cost effective rate which many other forms of marketing cant compete with. With that comes a lot more pressure though. Clients want to see an ROI for as effective an investment as possible, no wastage. The attribution element of what we do is a complicated and arduous process as there’s still relatively little data to substantiate where this form of marketing sits on the marketing funnel. However, the more campaigns we run, the more data we can glean and therefore start to edge closer and closer towards figuring out how the optimum social cross platform campaign is structured. This becomes more and more valuable for our clients and is a one of the objectives that governs all we do, we want to help our clients find out how we can deliver attribution for every campaign.
What do you predict for the future?
Joshua: As the dust settles on a strange couple of years for the world, everything will catch up with digital marketing’s leaps forward and a continued increase in investment going into the area. Which will mean it continues to grow, attract smart, distributive people into it and it will become more and more an everyday part of our lives. Virtual developments like VR performances, AR, AI, in game personalised advertising, these are just at the start of where they are going to get to. Once all of the entertainment worlds truly collide it is going to be ridiculous. So much opportunity, so much fun to be had pushing it all forward and being in amongst it. We’re definitely excited for what’s to come.
What advice would you give a marketer right now?
Luka: Marketer is obviously quite a broad term but if we relate it to digital marketing, it’s a really exciting time right now. If you think back five years ago, the landscape was a lot smaller and there was a much bigger barrier to entry. Now with so many new platforms with millions and millions of global users, bringing more talent and creators, there’s more scope to carve out very successful careers as a social marketer.
Social media is complicated, constant changing algorithms, new features, new trends, overnight stars created off the back of one big video. So you have to have your finger on the pulse, know the nuts of bolts and be an expert across the social landscape. If you can do that, there’s opportunities ahead.