Kasumi Mihori and Glenn Bartlett have been charged with scaling Creative Center, Sony’s in-house hybrid agency, into a global in-house creative agency. In the session “Breaking it to Build It” on Wednesday at the Promax Conference 2019 at the J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, the duo set out to share how Sony Entertainment has succeeded by completely disrupting the agency model.
“We’re a global creative in-house agency that supports all of Sony Pictures Television,” said Bartlett, VP, creative, global creative center, Sony Pictures Television. “That’s studio, distribution, franchise, syndication, networks and businesses, which includes all global on-air promotion. We’re charged with streamlining Sony’s network portfolio to embody the philosophy of Sony being a creative entertainment company. We must first and always be thoughtful stewards of the brand.”
For a long time, Sony Pictures Television was more of a business-to-business unit, but is now changing with the times.
“There’s a renewed interest in building a consumer-facing identity for the studio and television properties,” said Mihori, SVP, brand creative, Sony Pictures Television. “Our team at the Creative Center is a highly specialized group of creatives who vary in backgrounds and areas of expertise. We are creative directors, designers, producers, editors and operations. We combine the best practices from the collective agency experience and expertise that we have, and we marry it with studio funding and support. Our mission is to develop strategic solutions that unify Sony’s businesses and move them forward.”
In order to align all of the business units with their goals, Mihori and Bartlett make sure to keenly understand each of their areas of expertise.
“We focus on these three main buckets in regards to our networks business,” said Mihori. “Sony Productions, which is original production and tentpole acquisitions around our [intellectual property], global branding and channel marketing. We’re collaborating with all of Sony in regard to these things we call ‘One Sony’ initiatives. They reach across multiple businesses across Sony Pictures Entertainment as they relate to brands. We try to find opportunities to collaborate and cross-pollinate across the company as much as possible.”
Though the work stretches between the entire company, the team still manages to stay lean.
“The goal is to work as one seamless global team,” said Mihori. “Our main hubs are located in Miami, Los Angeles and Bogota. But we have regional hubs in London, Madrid, Singapore, Seoul, Taiwan, Budapest, Panama and Buenos Aires. That sounds like a massive team, but we operate lean and mean. Part of the selling point is we optimize efficiency. Unlike external agencies, we actually live amongst our brands and businesses. The result is agency-level creative delivered with brand consistency, urgency and fiscal responsibility. To create this new model, we blew up the entire infrastructure that previously existed. This stemmed from a Sony Pictures Entertainment mandate to break down the silos across the company. Our group is a realization of that vision from a creative and strategic standpoint.”
But this is all not just about creative, it’s about moving the business forward.
“Because we have this hybrid agency model, there is an opportunity to use creative as a driver for the business,” said Mihori. “Helping shape the brand from a creative marketing perspective. As creatives in this room, we know that companies who put the brand first and believe in brand breakthrough with great success.”
[Images by Memoryscape]