互动中国专访: 再谈数字创意制造业的新生态 对话B-Reel联合创始人兼首席创意总监 Petter Westlund —— 探秘顶级数字制造工场

编者语:

我们对于数字广告制作执行新生态这一话题的关注并没有结束,对B -Reel这家“传奇”制造工坊的探索还在继续深入。 接着前两篇对B-Reel代表性人物Riccardo以及团队成员的专访之后,我们又有了进一步的疑问和好奇:在一个缺乏行业合理规范的数字广告环境中,如何保持制作方的权利和独立性?如何以制作方的角色去融入项目的创意到执行全过程?如何定义制作团队的形态与理念?如何管理一群整天充满奇思妙想的技术型Geeks,把大家揉合成一股紧密的绳?如何最大程度地发挥制作团队中不同角色的优势? 哪一种组织管理方式更适合制作团队?……  今天,我们用一个更为整体的视角,对话顶级制造工坊B-Reel的始作俑者之一:B-Reel联合创始人兼首席创意总监Petter Westlund.

B-Reel, 全球顶尖的创意制造工场,获奖数几乎与产出同量(B-Reel Awards), 更是TheFWA上无可争议的王者(Profile: Top 100 most awarded).
Petter Westlund: B-Reel & B-Reel Films联合创始人,B-Reel首席创意总监。毕业于斯德哥尔摩大学行为科学(Behavior Science)、设计与工程技术三门专业,毕业后就进入数字广告行业至今,在B-Reel之前,曾就职于纽约的代理商Media Farm以及斯德哥尔摩的PR代理公司JBAB。1999年,与另两位合伙人共同成立B-Reel,故事就此展开。
采访&文字&翻译: Vivian Peng@DamnDigital
(原创内容, 转载请务必注明来自DamnDigital)

写在采访前面的话

就在上两篇采访刚刚结束至今为止,我们又看到B-Reel的项目名列中多了不少优秀的新作,包括Magnum Pleasure Hunt 2Hitchhike with a LikeGoogle Maps Cube Game…… 目前B-Reel在全球拥有四大分公司: 瑞士斯德哥尔摩,英国伦敦,美国纽约,以及洛杉矶,共有120名左右的员工。旗下拥有两大事业部门:B-Reel Production以及B-Reel Films。 但就在我们制作本期采访的过程中,又意外得知了一个让我们意外却又在意料之中的消息:B-Reel宣布成立全新的事业部门——B-Reel Products ,是的,他们要进军产品开发和制造领域了。可这并不算那么意外,B-Reel早就已经拥有不少可以称之为产品的作品了,Mind Scalextric脑控赛车都是最典型的例子。从初期内部的研究开发,到产品成型、内部测试,直到应用于项目实践,B-Reel足具备了产品制造的能力。其实,所有制作公司,包括国内不少团队,何尝不是同样具备这样的能力呢?关键在于,想不想和怎么做。

B-Reel Project: http://www.b-reel.com/digital/projects/
对于B-Reel的优秀我们不需要再多赘述。不得不说的是,B -Reel是一家让我们意外的制作公司,在此之前,我们并不会真正去思考,数字广告制作方究竟对于一个项目能有多少价值,制作方对于创意代理商,Leading代理商,客户来说,价值可以发挥到多大的程度? 数字广告让一群深谙技术又懂广告,但一直处于项目光彩背后的制作团队逐渐走到了前台,可是,具体该怎样走?究竟是否存在一种能够复制或是能够借鉴的成功运作模式?多大程度上可以为我们自己所用?我们是否可以从中借鉴些什么?
希望以下的对话能够帮助我们找到部分的答案.

 

DM: DamnDigital
P.W.: Mr. Petter Westlund

 

DM: 非常高兴见到您,首先请您给大家介绍下您自己。

P.W. : 自从我接触工作以来,一直喜欢那种拥有来自不同专业领域和工作背景的团队环境. 就像今天B-Reel的情况一样,在任何时候,我都喜欢强调这一点。回首1999年,在我和另两位合伙人,Pelle Nilsson, Anders Wahlquist一起成立了B-Reel至今,一路我们拥有的经验其实很简单: 设计+动画+编程+一个永恒不变的团队理念, 就是这些带领B-Reel走到今天。

 

1. Production: in New Era 数字时代广告制作的新观

 

DM: 媒介,创意/策略,制作,这是数字广告的三大构成支柱。在您看来,作为制作公司,在数字广告中扮演的是怎样的角色,其价值该是什么?

P.W. : 我们认为,数字广告的创意和新的洞察观点常常可以在制作方以及媒介方身上诞生。这是与数字广告行业本身的特性有关的。不同于传统的电视广告,平面广告的制作,也已有一套公认的较为标准普遍的作业与执行流程规范与操作标准,可数字互动广告则更为复杂,我们不认为数字广告的制作会走向和传统一样的一方方向: 固定的模式,与创意相独立并且附属于创意而存在⋯⋯绝不是这样的。数字广告依赖于新技术的应用,无论是创意的过程,或是创意实现的过程,都需要整体的知识实践和相应的迭代。这是一个流动的不可分割的整体。数字广告项目的每一个过程阶段,每一个环节之间的界限业已消弭。

 

DM : 随着电视技术和信息技术的发展,数字营销和互动广告传播迅速崛起,成为品牌营销领域的重要部分。可是,数字媒体本身处于不断快速地变化之中,这种快速变化的大环境是否对于制作方来说意味着更大的挑战呢?

P.W. : 当某个领域本身拥有极快的发展速度,随之而来的一个大问题就是合理标准和规范的缺失。此外,也会带来另一个挑战,就是项目过程中每一个环节由于不同的专业领域而导致的相互不理解,于是整个过程无法紧密地衔接,导致问题重重。这些都是我们眼前所面对的,也是一直以来面对的主要挑战。

但是总的来说,整个行业还是在不断地进步,我们还是比较乐观的。我们看到整个行业都在逐渐地适应数字行业不断变化的特征,并且逐渐地有了较好的解决方案。

 

DM: 有不少比较大型的代理商都会拥有自己的一支制作执行团队,在您看来,作为一家的制作公司存在和作为代理商公司的一个部分,这两种存在形式本质上有什么区别?对B-REEL来说,作为一家整合型专注于数字创意制作执行的公司,与其他存在形式相比有什么明显优势?

P.W. : 在我们看来,根本不存在第二种生存方式。我想问题的关键原因还是在于“专注”二字。Production对于我们来说就像衣食父母,一路走来,都是在这个土壤中获得养分,得以成长,我们立足于Production,这是我们永恒不变的专注领域。如果是在一家大型的综合Agency环境下,我认为很难做到专注,所以,我们希望拥有一个持续专注于这一领域的团队环境, 这能给我们更大的学习与拓展空间。

此外,更重要的是,作为独立的Production公司,我们拥有主动权,有能力为自己争取作为Production在整个项目与权力。对于我们来说,从来不考虑其他的存在形式。

 

 

2. B-Reel: Integrated Production  整合时代下的新型数字制作团队

 

DM: 让我们回到1999年,当时您是抱着怎样的想法和目标成立了B-Reel?从当时直到现在,B-Reel一路走来,您认为收获的最大的经验是什么?

P.W. : 1999年时期的互动广告几乎还处于初生的状态,我和B -Reel另外两个合伙创始人 Anders, Pelle 几乎是不谋而合。我们都觉得应该能创造出一些具有更强体验性,更有影响力的更新鲜有趣的体验型的广告创意。

此外,当时我们非常好奇,如果把影像,动画与互动技术相互结合起来,会不会有新的火花?我们就本着这种探索的心态,一直尝试创造出不一样的作品。这是我们创立B-Reel最初的想法。

我们三个合伙人有各自不同的专业背景和从业经验:Anders有经营企业的经验,Pelle曾从事于影视制作,而我在很早之前就在数字互动广告行业工作了。

不同的经验和专业背景结合在一起的时候,会碰撞出新鲜好玩的东西,这也逐渐塑造出B-Reel的作品至今一贯持有的风格和特点。


自左往右:Pelle Nilsson, Petter Westlund, Anders Wahlquist

DM: 跟我们介绍一下B-REEL目前的公司规模吧? 具体是由哪些职能部门构成的?

P.W. : 目前我们在全球有四家分公司,共计120名左右的员工,公司旗下有两大事业团队:数字制作和商业影视动画制作。另外,最近公司刚刚成立了第三支全新的事业团队——B-Reel产品团队。我们打算进军数字通信产品的开发制造领域,我们拥有一群非常很有天赋,并且强大技术背景的优秀人才,他们在一起几乎每天都会有成天上万个不同的新点子和想法在他们的脑子里冒出来,有很多很不错的想法却无法立即应用于手头的项目,总不能让好点子浪费吧。如果不搞个专门的产品开发事业部门出来让他们把那么多点子实践出来,我实在想不出其他的好办法对付那么多天马行空的奇思妙想了。

 

DM: 作为一家整合性的制作公司,你们是以怎样的流程工作的?有没有一套比较固定的标准?

P.W. : 绝大部分情况下,工作流程都是因项目而异的,影视制作,或者Mobile项目,都会有所有不同。但大致上我们工作的总体流程和内容都可以在Stndrd (互动中国曾经做过此网站的专门介绍:详见Link) 网站上了解到。这是我们与其他几个制作公司伙伴一起合作创建的开源平台,我们把各自的工作方法与规范在该平台上与所有人分享,并且与大家一起在平台上交流关于数字互动制作的话题。

尽管如此,我们对于所有项目的制作上都会秉承一个关键的共识和原则:制作团队需要尽可能地去融入整个项目的每一个阶段。我们希望项目团队的每一个人都能最大程度地融入项目,为项目贡献自己的能力,并且尽最大可能地减少公司内部的上下等级。

 

DM: 就我们所知,很多时候制作执行团队是不参与项目的创意策略阶段的。B-Reel有遇到过这样的情况吗? 怎样才能使制作执行团队更好地与创意团队以及其他团队协作于项目?作为执行制作团队,该如何去影响代理商以及甲方客户呢?

P.W. : 当然这也是因项目而异的,我们也会遇到这样的情况。但总体上我们作为制作团队会尽可能地对每一个参与的项目作出我们的贡献。我们相信与我们合作过的代理商,甲方客户都对于我们提出的创意和建议表示认同和认可。

我们会提出我们认为最好的点子和我们的经验与建议,拿出来与代理商以及客户分享,一起商讨,这是B –Reel一直坚持在做的。当然,与此同时,在提出其他方面建议和想法的同时,最重要的是,我们至始至终绝不会因此而顾此失彼影响执行层面的工作质量。让本职的执行制作工作能够始终达到让自己为之骄傲的水平。

 

 

3. Team-working & Leadership 团队协作与领导力管理

 

DM: 贵司拥有一群非常有才的极客人才,管理起来是不是会比较有挑战?我们知道B-REEL在人才方面一直颇有独到的魅力和经验,团队一直保持活跃,充满生趣和激情的氛围,团队协作起来也非常出色,可以与我们分享在团队管理上的经验吗?

P.W. : 我们非常注重团队协作。因此,我们会在挑选人才的阶段非常严格地进行选择,凡是加入B-Reel的人才,不仅需要拥有出色的个人才能,更需要拥有优秀的团队协作能力,善于融入团队,善于与他人协作。这非常重要。

 

DM: 我们相信,每一个紧密协作的优秀团队,其背后都拥有一个强大的共同信念与志向作为支撑。不知道B-REEL团队背后的共同信念是什么呢?

P.W. : 我们一直渴望做一些从未做过的新尝试,当我们面对一些非常复杂棘手的项目的时候,我们则会一起找出一种最直接简单的应对方法。B -Reel的团队是建立在彼此相互尊重对方,尊重彼此才能的基础之上。每一个人在项目中都要求乐于贡献自己的能力。在项目中,我们关注每一个细节,因为我们都相信,细节决定成败。

除此之外,我认为B -Reel团队成员最大的共同点就是“好奇心”,我们每一个人都保有对一切新事物的强烈好奇心。我们不满足于已有的这些成就和作为,我们每一个都不会甘于每天做重复的事情。我们把自己的工作看做是一场永远探索不完学习不尽的旅程。

 

DM: 您在先前提到了贵公司内部会尽可能地减少上下等级关系,让我想到了先前我们曾经做的关于“扁平式”组织机构管理方式存在的一些隐患和缺陷(详见:组织结构“扁平化”无法孕育优秀领导人的原因及对策),有时候会不利于创意型领导者的培养和发掘,您对于此是如何看待的?

P.W.:  我们非常推崇组织结构扁平式的管理方式(We do believe in a flat organization)。B-Reel诞生于瑞士斯德哥尔摩,瑞士想来是一个推崇团队与合作的国家,当然。扁平化有其弊端,但是我们一直以来把团队成员之间平等共事的方式作为公司的自然传统。

目前在全球有四个分公司,每个分公司在规模上都不算大,保持小而精的状态。扁平式管理方式通常也更适合规模小的公司团队。但这并不意味着领导力的缺失,在每一个项目中,项目团队都会有一个具有极强项目领导能力的人作为项目团队的Leader,来把握整体的项目进程情况。其实,有的人天然地就会有领导的潜质,并且会逐渐得以发挥;也有的人本来就不喜欢做领导,所以在我们看来这种才能会自然而然地得到发展。在B-Reel,没有人把自己当做领导,但我们相信每一个人都具备领导和管理的潜力。

我们一直会给予团队的成员以充分的信任。我们期待每一个人发挥更多的潜能。在一个项目中,我们提倡每一个人都应该抱有一种对项目整体的责任感,而不仅仅是专注于自己的工作职责部分。只有在做好这一点的基础之上,才能保证自主宽松的工作环境不会带来太多的负面影响。


B-Reel Family

 

4. Blending New Technology & Advertising  新技术交叉点上的创新传播理念

 

DM: B-Reel团队一直深谙最新的科技,并且善于将科技与创意做完美的结合,从而产生诸多有趣富有灵感的好作品。您是如何看待技术在今时今日的价值的?

P.W. : 人类历史上,素来都对于科技发明的发展与未来趋势有着强烈的好奇和求知欲。技术究竟会把我们带去何方?这是个永恒的话题。

今时今日,科技无时不刻围绕在人们周围,成为人们生活的重要部分。作为数字广告的制作人,在我们看来技术为我们的工作开辟了前所未有的突破空间,让我们拥有更多工具去创造更多可能性。对于数字领域来说,技术,从来也永远是创意以及传播沟通的一部分。

 

DM: 您如何看待新技术对于广告传播行业以及对于个人的影响?

P.W. : 科技让广告和营销获得了前所未有的消费者接近性,同时,品牌也获得了更大程度融入人们生活世界的发展契机,这是前所未有的全新发展空间。

最让我觉得兴奋的是,技术的普及造就了品牌营销更多机会,去创造真正对消费者具有真正价值的东西,相对于从前单纯地吸引消费者注意力(steal attention)这一手段,是一个重大的飞跃和提升。让我激动地的是,今时今日在技术的助推下,营销与人类生活的价值之间的界限已经开始日渐消弭了。

同时,技术的进步对于我们个人来说也受益无穷:在正确的动机之下,技术让人类获得了无穷无尽的学习和探索机会,在此过程中,人类自身也获得了进步。我真的认为,今天的人们正处于另一个全新的文艺复兴时期,人类获得了思维与精神文化上的重大激发。一直以来,科学,技术研究,以及生产制造是人类所有行为活动的构成部分。技术的不断发展与人类的探索行为不可分割,技术不断发展,也就意味着人类的探索空间无限。

人类的学习再也不仅限于青年时期,而是贯穿于人类的一生。举个最简单的例子,那些执着于DIY的达人们,一辈子都在进行着各种各样的新奇的实验,倒腾做喜欢的东西,技术与人类自身是相互依存生生不息的关系。

 

DM : 那么多种类的技术领域,难道你们会允许自己的团队去花时间精力在任何种类的新技术研究上面吗? 该如何区分,什么样的新技术科研领域是值得团队成员花费时间精力投入的呢?

P.W. : 这也正是我们目前面对的一个挑战: 我们不断思考,怎么样让内部的这些研发实验项目能更有条理地也更有驱动力地去运作?最理想的状态当然是,正好有一个项目,刚好适合引用某个研究项目,这样就有了机会让研究项目的成员有了新的实践和应用机会。

比较让人乐观的是,我们现在有100多个在技术上有十足见地和专业技能的“专家”。大家不断相互交流各种新技术开发和实验研发项目,这给了每一个人更多思维灵感和开拓的机会。

 

DM : B-Reel有考虑过出自己的产品吗?(当我们采访的时候,还并未得知B-Reel成立了产品事业部的消息)

P.W. : 是的,我们正有开发和制作B-Reel自有产品的计划。正如之前提到的,我们刚刚成立了B-Reel产品事业部 B-Reel Products,我们打算做一些广告项目之外的更广泛领域的新产品。其实在我们做项目的同时,我们也一直在制作数字化虚拟的产品以及真正能应用于生活的产品。所以,我们相信产品部门对于原有的项目制作事业会是相辅相成的。产品事业部也将会为品牌主带来更多形式和价值的数字解决方案。


B-Reel Products: http://b-reelproducts.com/ 
(特别补充:曾经我们采访过的B-Reel创意总监Riccardo Giraldi目前还担任B-Reel Products的负责人,在本期的戛纳国际广告节上,Riccardo与Petter Westlund一起将作为演讲嘉宾,有兴趣的话可以关注下。B-REEL: EXPERIMENTING AT THE EDGE OF DIGITAL: ROBOTICS, BRAIN WAVES AND NEW USER EXPERIENCES

 

5. Talents Seeking 关于人才选择

 

DM: 如今的企业家们都把创意能力作为人才审核最重要的指标之一,但是,如何正确地判断人才的创意能力呢?B-Reel是如何挑战适合自己的人才的?可以具体介绍一下吗?

P.W. : 我们最看重的是人才的团队协作能力。 必须是一个善于融入团队合作的人, 而不是一个专注于自我的人。当然,我们喜欢擅长于不同领域不同专业出身的人才。但前提还是必须善于在团队中发挥才能、

此外,对于我们所做的工作有极大的热忱。当然,还需要有优秀的专业技能。并且,拥有快速的学习能力,对于不断变化的环境有良好的适应性和自我提升的主动性。

 

6. China 关于中国市场

 

DM: 是否有来自中国的代理商或者甲方客户找你们进行过合作?

P.W. :我们前不久刚和奥美北京合作了一个影视制作项目。其他的抱歉目前还无法说太多。

DM : 近期是否有任何与中国市场有关的计划?

P.W. : 中国是一个非常有趣的国家,我们非常期待能有更多机会与中国的伙伴合作。

DM:非常感谢您接受我们的采访!

 <采访结束>

 

Take-outs 采访要点提炼:

  • 作为独立的制作执行公司,专注于Production领域,在项目中拥有主动权,争取作为制作方的权利,发挥价值。Being foucus and being independent , to blaze own trail.

  • 制作团队需尽可能地融入整个项目的全过程。项目团队成员需要最大程度地融入,为项目贡献能力。公司内部尽可能地减少上下等级。
    We keep the whole team involved throughout the whole process as much as possible. We want everyone to contribute to the work, and try to minimize hierarchies within the company.

  • 制作方在保证制作执行部分工作质量的前提下,善于与代理商和客户分享经验,提出建议,一起商讨。
    Share the experience and knowledge with agencies and clients to contribute to project, while being pride in the executional part as well.

  • 团队建立在彼此相互尊重的基础之上,让每一个人在项目中都需要乐于贡献出自己的能力。关注细节。把自己的工作看做是一场永远探索不完,学习不尽的旅程。
    Our teamwork is built on respect for each other and the skills we have, the craft that goes into our work. Do not stick to what we already know and do the same thing over and over, regarding work as a never-ending learning experience

  • 给予团队成员以充分的信任, 对其抱有期待。提倡每一个人应抱对项目整体的责任感,而不仅仅是专注于自己的工作职责部分。
    We put a lot of trust in people. We also expect a lot from people. You have to take responsibility for more than just your specific part of a project.

  • 尝试有计划有组织有正确目标驱动的前提下进行内部的新项目研究开发。
    We’re constantly thinking about how to make more structured and purpose-driven R&D.

  • 人才重要标准:善于在团队中发挥才能、善于团队协作是首选标准,其次是有能力。 此外,要对工作保有热忱 ,且拥有快速的学习能力.
    We look for team players, with low prestige, and you have to have a passion for the field we work in. Besides, having the potential to learn new stuff.

 

Links:

B-Reel: http://www.b-reel.com/
B-Reel Films: http://www.b-reel.com/commercials/
B-Reel Products: http://b-reelproducts.com/
B-Reel Group:  http://b-reelgroup.com/

 

***********************************************************

English Original: 

Interview with Mr. Petter Westlund, Chief Creative Officer & Founding Partner at B-Reel

DM: DamnDigital
PW: Mr. Petter Westlund
DM: Hey, Mr. Westlund, thanks for talking with us. First of all, please introduce yourself to us briefly.

PW: I’ve been working in, and am really interested in pretty much all the different disciplines that we house within B-Reel. Design, animation, programming and always all along the way: the conceptual side. In 1999 I founded B-Reel with Pelle Nilsson and Anders Wahlquist, and we’ve been on a great ride ever since.

 

Production: in New Era

DM: Media, Creative/Strategy, Production, these are three major parts within a Marketing/Advertising project system. What are the value and role that production should play within the system?

PW: Our opinion is that when working in digital lots of ideas and insights can be had in production, closer to the medium. Maybe in earlier eras, production was more of a simple, executional step. There just wasn’t that much to it. With digital it seems to be a bit more involved. It feels better to have a less compartmentalized structure, and to work with processes that are less static and more iterative, blurring the boundaries between parts/steps of a project.

 

DM: Today, digital claims a prominent role at every marketer’s plan. However, digital media is evolving at an accelerating pace. What is its impact on production side? What is the key challenge and requirements for production part today?

PW: When a field is evolving fast, there can be a lack of standards and conventions. And there’s a risk of misunderstandings due to this and different levels of knowledge among the parties in a project. These are definitely some of the challenges we are facing. However I think there’s been a great improvement in the industry. It is not necessarily that the pace of evolution is slowing down, but we are getting accustomed to being in a field that is under constant change, and learning how to deal with it.

 

DM: Most agencies have their own production team/dept. What is the fundamental differentiation between being a production company and being one part of a big agency group? To B-Reel, what is the major advantage that being a production company on its own has, comparing to the other formability?

PW: I’ve never seen the other side, but I’m guessing it is a question of focus. We eat, breathe and live production. It is at the core of what we do since day one. It seems like it must be harder to create that focus being a production team at a larger agency, where you have a much wider field of operation, and a different background. Also, being independent means we can blaze our own trail. There are no other considerations except what inspires us and where we want our company to go.

 

B-Reel: Integrated Production

DM: Back into 1999, when B-Reel was found, what is the idea and objectives behind at that time? And what are today’s? What are the major changes B-Reel has experienced during the time being?

PW: Back in 1999 digital advertising was still in its infancy. We just felt there should be a way to create stronger experiences, stuff that had more impact and was more interesting. Specifically we wanted to explore how we could combine the fields of film and animation with interactive technology. We were three founders, Anders, Pelle and me. Anders has a background as an entrepreneur. Pelle worked in Film and TV production. I came from the digital side. Our output reflects our mixed backgrounds.

 

DM: What is your company scale? How many people does B-Reel have now? Would you mind sharing the teams’ major divisions of functions in company?

PW: We’re around 120 people split into four offices. We have a digital production side, and a commercials/film side, and just recently we have a new member of the family, B-Reel Products. This is our venture into the world of Products and IP. We have a lot of talented people onboard, and there are so many ideas that aren’t met by a client brief. This is a way to create an outlet for those ideas.

 

DM: What is the myth behind B-Reel’s integrated production work? What is your work flow? How do you structure team to deal with a single project in order to make the process effective and integrated enough? Do you have any special methodology?

PW: It depends a lot on the project. If it has film components, if its mobile etc. We work according to a process that is pretty much what is up at http://stndrd.org/, an open source initiative from us and a bunch of other companies to create standards in digital production. Other than that, just trying to use common sense: We keep the whole team involved throughout the whole process as much as possible. We want everyone to contribute to the work, and try to minimize hierarchies within the company.

 

DM: There are cases in ad industry, that production team/company is not involved in the creative idea/concept generating stage, what is the case at B-Reel? How do you normally working together with agency and advertiser? How to make impact, to the project, to agencies, and clients, from a production company’s point of view?

PW: It’s different from project to project, but generally I think we contribute quite a lot. I believe agencies and clients we work with appreciate us contributing to the idea, and that is why they come to us. With the amount of projects we produce every year we have a lot of experience and knowledge to bring to the table. However, we do put a lot of pride in the executional part as well.

 

Team-working & Leadership

DM: Managing a group of talented “Geeks” with diversified background is really a tough job indeed. However, B-Reel seems is doing very well on this. Creating your people a very energetic, fun, and harmonious working atmosphere. What are the myths behind?

PW: We focus a lot on creating teams that work well together at our offices. We are pretty picky about who we bring in. Not only do we want really talented people, we also want them to be good team players, and fun to hang out with.

 

DM: A good company, a well-structured team is, as we believe, based on common beliefs and shared interests. Would you like to share with us what are the common beliefs and shared interests B-Reel people have?

PW: We often try to create stuff we haven’t done before, and this can lead to pretty complex projects. To pull them off it’s key that we can work together in a straight and smooth way. Our teamwork is built on respect for each other and the skills we have, the craft that goes into our work. This goes down to the tiniest parts of a project, you really have to appreciate those tiny details too. But above all I think that curiosity is a common trait among b-reelers. We don’t want to stick to what we know already and do the same thing over and over. We see our work as a never-ending learning experience.

 

DM: Regarding the management and leadership aspects. Many modern companies are using flat organization method internally. It generates great advantages for sure. However, flat structure method is, sometimes not good for creating great leaders(link). What is B-Reel’s condition? What are your ideas on this topic?

PW: We do believe in a flat organization. It might have to do with our company starting out in Sweden, and that Swedes tend to be teamwork-oriented and collaborative. I’m sure there are drawbacks too, but for us it is a natural part of who we are, and a core part of our culture.

Since we are split into four offices, each office being fairly small, it’s maybe a bit easier for us to maintain the feel and vibe of a smaller organization. Regarding leaders, I think is a pretty natural process for us. Some people will develop organically into leadership roles. Others might not be thinking of themselves as leaders, but if we see potential we try to provide the right conditions to help them develop that side.

We put a lot of trust in people. We also expect a lot from people. You have to take responsibility for more than just your specific part of a project. And then we can have a looser structure.

 

Blending New Technology & Advertising

DM: B-Reel is putting out a series of creative technology mash-up projects, all of which are damn cool, beyond people’s imagination, especially, combining different cutting-edge technologies. Seems you put new technology on very top priorities. Why technology matters?

PW: People through the ages have been fascinated by where our own inventions and creativity can take us. Technology surround us, it is a big part of our lives. And from our perspective as producers, it has become so much more available to work and experiment with. So it is a natural area to explore for creative and marketing purposes.

 

DM: To your perspectives, what influences that new technology will has to advertising / marketing industry in future?

PW: Technology is allowing advertising and marketing to get closer to the consumer. Brands can adapt to and live in the world and activities of people too a much deeper extent than ever before.

In advertising, I find it exciting that this ubiquity of technology creates an opportunity to provide real value for consumers, as opposed to just “steal attention”. That’s the most interesting scenario for me, when the border between marketing and real, personal benefits is blurred.

 

DM: Let’s down to some of technologies you are playing with, Mind control, Human Computer Interaction, robots… These are having a big resembles with computer science experts is working on. I think science experts would have never considered blending their tech into advertising applications at all… Share with us B-Reel’s thoughts on how new technology can be added values to advertising? What is inherent relationship between two areas?

PW: It think what we’re doing in advertising is just following along with a bigger shift in the world: Technology making a lot of fields accessible, that were out of reach before. Sciences and research, crafts, manufacturing – basically all areas of human activity. You can learn and get involved in so many new areas that used to be hidden inside institutions, or out of reach and inaccessible behind formal education requirements.

With this comes a new insight: There’s almost no limit to what we can learn, with the right determination. We’re in a renaissance age, where you can be well versed in many fields, and flexible and learn many things throughout your life, not just in your youth. In the same empowering DIY spirit, I think advertising can be an arena for experiments within these now-available fields. The results have to be relevant and have an audience of course.

 

DM: I don’t believe that you allow your people doing research on all of the new technologies. How you judge one specific technology owns the potentialities so that worth spending time on it?

PW: This is a challenge. We’re constantly thinking about how to make more structured and purpose-driven R&D. The ideal scenario for us has always been when a project turns up that gives us the chance to dive into a new field that we need to research. The good thing is that we now are more than a hundred people who are really into this space. It gives us a lot of “tentacles” for finding and picking up interesting things.

 

DM: Has B-Reel considered producing products via your technology and production abilities? Any new and fresh products that can be ready for people to use in daily life?

PW: Yes, and we are doing it now with B-Reel Products. We will create products in broad sense. Our projects might be standalone ideas that will turn into digital or “real life” products. We’re also helping other people and brands develop their ideas within this space.

 

Talents Seeking

DM: There was a survey from IBM’s institute for Business Value showed that CEOs value “Creativity” as the most priority on leadership competency evaluation. Compared with other elements as: operational effectiveness, influence, or even dedication.  How B-Reel seeks talents? What is your most required characters? Would you take judging creativity as an example to share how you test/ask applicants during the interviews?

PW: Since we are very team oriented, we look a lot at the right type of personality. We look for team players, with low prestige. Basically, no prima donnas. And you have to have a passion for the field we work in. Of course it is important to have good skills, but it is more important that you can work together in a team scenario, and that you have the potential to learn new stuff as we go along. The stuff we do is constantly evolving, so chances are what you know today will be outdated pretty soon. Better then to be a person who quickly picks up new things and likes to evolve.

 

China

DM: Are there any agencies or advertisers have been looked for B-Reel to projects?

PW: We just had shoot for a film project with Ogilvy Beijing. Other than nothing I can comment on yet.

DM: Does B-Reel have plan towards China in near future?

PW: China is a super-interesting country and we are definitely hoping to work there more.

DM: Thanks very much! We are honored and appreciated for talking with B-Reel!

Vivian Peng @ DamnDigital

 


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