Ty Montague and Richard Schatzberger explain the importance of brand storytelling as they launch their innovative house of brand solutions
The doors of brand studio Co: are open for business. Co-founders Ty Montague, Richard Schatzberger, Rosemarie Ryan and Neil Parker boast diverse talents and expertise across advertising (Montague is former CCO and co-president of JWT, North America, where he worked with Ryan, also co-president) and strategy (Parker has served as an innovator at IBM‘s corporate strategy group and global head of strategy at Wolff Olins while Schatzberger has worked in interaction design and product innovation at Mortorola and as director of creative technology at BBH.
Contagious caught up with Ty Montague and Richard Schatzberger to hear about their aims and plans.
Ty Montague: Our observation was that the world has become a much more complex environment from a communications standpoint – we have moved to a networked world. Things that were scarce are now abundant and visa versa. Our model is designed to respond to that and reduce the complexity that CMOs are dealing with.
In 1997, there were 2.5 million brands, and by 2008 there were 8 million. This has lead to a massive amount of commoditisaion.
We wish to offer a central platform and process around which new teams can form. There will be no predisposition about what the team should be and who it should include. Instead it is a place much like a modern day movie studio where ideas, talent and money come to meet and teams are assembled on a project by project basis and then disperse when the project finishes.
We can provide a central organising platform around which people can come together and hope that his will reduce complication for CMOs and CEOs, eliminating the need for them to keep up with who’s good at collaboration or which specialist is best at content creation, mobile, branding or new technologies, for example.
The communications process is currently a baton-pass process. We should be engaged in parrallel with everyone at the table while we figure out how a brand story should be told.
Schatzberger adds that ‘the best way to tell a story is through a brand’s products and services, with clients contributing at the beginning of the process’.
While Co: has nothing against creating an advertising outcome, the results are far from predetermined. Instead, the two primary deliverables, according to Montague are to tell a brand’s story and introduce innovation.
‘The metastory is that technology is changing but people are not. People always need great storytelling and we believe a brand is a well-articulated story. We are always telling ‘the story of me’ – our personal narrative – into which we integrate brand stories.
Characters are revealed through action – if we can define a innovative narrative pathway communications can become much more efficient. As opposed to buying media, people will tell your story for you or with you if its compelling. By doing this we feel that paid media is unnecessary and our goal is to make communications as efficient as possible.
Co: will be working with clients such as Madison Square Gardens, looking at the changing relationship between fans and the team and what is next for fan engagement, and MTV Networks’ Spike Channel as well as a luxury conglomerate considering opportunities in the digital space for luxury brands.
Collaborators or ‘co-conspirators’ annoucned to date include BERG London, Big Spaceship, Campfire, Collins, Consigliere, Headmint, Horizon Media, If We RanTheWorld, Imagination, Juba Plus, Largetail, Made By Many, MarketShare, Naked Communications, Powell Communications, Propellerfish, Red Bricks Media, Starling, Tronic and Victors & Spoils.
Montague concludes: ‘One thing we really believe is that this service, process and team is built for marketers of scale as multinationals face the biggest challenges in the industry.’