What’s the difference between a liking something on Facebook and being a Belieber? One involves obsessive dedication, almost unquestionably loyalty, and probably some uncontrollable squealing. The other requires a half second, a nonchalant click and a yawn.
To help brands bridge that divide, music exec and talent manager Scooter Braun has teamed with agency BBH to launch a new company called The Creative Studio (TCS), that aims to create quality content with the production values, speed and economies of scale synonymous with the entertainment industry.
“I started with music but I’m truly in the multimedia branding business,” says Braun, who manages Justin Bieber, Psy, and Carly Rae Jepsen, among others. “We decided to start this new company, a studio, and an opportunity for me to work with best in class storytellers. And it gives those storytellers an opportunity to create IP and own it. What we bring to them, and their clients, we can lend expertise in fandom and brand loyalty. Entertainment beats advertising, so brands and agencies need to be in the entertainment business.”
Pelle Sjoenell, chief creative officer of BBH Los Angeles, says brands are trying to tap into the kind of loyalty entertainment can inspire. “Brands are absolutely looking for ways to create fan bases,” says Sjoenell. “A fan is someone who gives parts of their life to something and Scooter has created this with artists.”
“Brands today need loyalty and that takes long-term planning,” says Braun. “It’s about making sure messaging is consistent and there’s a plan to it.”
The partnership grew out of work BBH Los Angeles had done with Braun’s SB Projects on launching and marketing Justin Bieber’s fragrances Girlfriend and The Key. Braun says he partnered with the agency to bring his expertise to consumer brands and also work with BBH to launch new brands.
“What we’re doing is going in the direction the business needs to go, which is making a higher level of quality content,” says Braun. “It’s not about music people and brand people, it’s about creative people who want to make cool shit and that’s what this company is about.”
At launch, TCS will create content for clients, including music videos, commercial work, B-roll and marketing/promo videos, with an ultimate goal to become a robust studio that can make anything, including long-form content and original IP such as TV properties and feature films.
Sjoenell says the new company allows the agency to move at the speed of culture, rather than at the pace of the marketing cycle. “We’ll still work on client briefs, but also create IP to invite brands to partner on,” says Sjoenell. “Innovation in advertising has slowed down because we’re sitting at the end of a decision pyramid. We need to get ahead of that, creating things ourselves. I work on briefs where I know it’s going to be a year before it’s launched. How do I have an impact on culture like Scooter does if I have to wait a year?”
Another advantage Braun sees in working with brands is the lack of human unpredictability. “In music management I build brands, but those brands are people who at any moment can flip the script on me,” says Braun. “That prepares me for working with consumer brands. It’s almost easier without the human factor.”