Interviews

Andy Hewitt

Managing Partner at Studios

Ben Somerset-How

Client Director

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creativebrief: How has your career path led you to Studios?

Andy Hewitt: I graduated my education in the agency, brand, tech, and startup world with a need to fix what I could see wasn’t working within the creative industry.

I got the right people together to help realise that ambition through Studios.

creativebrief: What is your primary focus?

Andy Hewitt: Easy: To progress creative culture.

As an industry we have the ability to make the world a much more creatively accessible and interesting place. So everyday, in everything we do, we are working to help brands and agencies realise the commercial benefits of aligning with culture in a sustainable and mutually beneficial way. Simply put, the more brands we help realise this through adopting our approach, the further we can progress culture.

creativebrief: Why did you choose a career in marketing?

Andy Hewitt: I have always been fascinated with people and what motivates them. What is amazing is we are in a period where the marketing that used to motivate people doesn’t work anymore. Finding the solution to that and making it work for everyone is what is keeping me in.

creativebrief: What’s unique about Studios?

Andy Hewitt: Studios offers an end to end solution for lifestyle brands to align themselves with cultures effectively and efficiently. 

Other people claim this but only we have the tools and networks of people/services needed for this to work.

We have the relationships and credibility within the cultures, creators, communities and channels alongside a real understand of the commercial and operational demands of brands. Only we approach projects balancing value for everyone involved, so everyone wins.

creativebrief: What do you think makes a successful career in marketing?

Andy Hewitt: I don’t view success being restricted to a career or industry. It’s about knowing what’s important to you and finding a way that allows you to achieve that whilst paying the bills. The traits of people who are successful in my eyes are those who: 

  • Don’t accept what’s established as the only way.
  • Don’t just talk about it. Commit and do it. 
  • See failure as learning and then evolve. 
  • Know where they will and wont compromise.
  • Positively influence others to buy in and help.
  • Take time to help others not just themselves.

creativebrief: And who is a great example of this?

Andy Hewitt: Bowie, Musk, JayZ, Branson.

creativebrief: You’ve just graduated the Marketing Academy; what were the highlights?

Andy Hewitt: The relationships I built with people I wouldn’t normally get to meet. Namely the other guys on the programme. 

I learnt so much about and from inspiring people on a human level. People like James Brett, Robert Senior, Simon Bitcliffe the list goes on.

creativebrief: What has been your agency's best work in the last year?

Andy Hewitt: From a non-commercial perspective I am proud of all the great things we achieved with Gather.ly which is one of our channels. In particular the collaboration with APN which brought the skate brand together with illustrators to create products and people to raise awareness of the culture. The party wasn’t half bad either.

For Commercial work annoyingly we cant show you as it hasn’t launched yet but we did some amazing work with creators across Europe for Canon. A sneak peak and what we did last year is in our showreel.

creativebrief: Industry wide, what work has excited you most this year?

Andy Hewitt: Everything Rapha do is bang on. As a brand they get cultural marketing right. Every touchpoint and experience will be looked back on as a best practice to how this is done. They know and care about progressing their culture. 

The live in levis project that MC Creative (Monsterchildren) did is again another example of how to authentically engage real people and creatives.

creativebrief: How do you stay in-touch with the industry’s best work?

Andy Hewitt: Sadly the best work isn’t always the work that floats to the top and gets seen. It’s all about trusted recommendations from people I know. I am very lucky that I have a varied network who share things you wouldn’t normally get to see. Slack, Whattsapp groups and other tools make it much easier to cut the crap and share things that inspire.

I only spend a day a week in the office and am out and about meeting people so I get to find out what people are up to and the amazing work they are doing or finding.

creativebrief: What do you think are the main challenges facing agencies today?

Andy Hewitt: The big ones are built to make controlled brand value lead cinematic ads. The billing model is for people and time. This means they are too big and slow to deliver the content and more targeted distribution that is needed to do anything beyond one way mass campaigns.

The smaller specialist tools, services and independents only solve a part of brands problems so in isolation they don’t have the impact they need in order to make it worth the brands time to work with them. This means the right people and products rarely get the opportunity to show what they can do.

Simply put, we are good at claiming through big lead advertising but people demand more from brands now if they are to align themselves with them. The industry is only set up to manufacture content and distribute on mass.

We are missing the bit in the middle that allows brands to demonstrate these claims efficiently and effectively.

creativebrief: What’s your attitude to the ‘traditional’ pitch? Do you think there is a better/more modern way?

Andy Hewitt: We don’t buy into or engage in long costly pitches. It creates the wrong relationship dynamic from the start and doesn’t guarantee the best agency is selected.

Another way is to learn from the tech industry and take a project to demonstrate the potential, learn and grow the relationship from there.

We know that this is the future but in the short term as we want to change the industry we are working to get adopted is through partnerships.

We deliver everything we do by bringing together and collaborating with the best. We work with the most relevant people and platforms to ensure the most effective results and efficient end to end process possible. We take the same approach to new business and so should the industry.

The people in our network don’t pitch to us either. We match the right solution to the right job. Why can’t the agencies regardless of who owns them do the same?

Idealistic? Yes, but there are influential people who are starting to make this happen so change is coming. Brands are getting wiser to this also and demanding their agencies collaborate / work together more. The next generation of those running brands also know that they need to take a more specialist approach to delivery so we are seeing change here.

creativebrief: In what ways do you think the industry can change for the better?

Andy Hewitt: We need to adopt a collaborative approach throughout by seeing:

  • Brands as partners to succeed with. Not clients to service. 
  • Consumers as people to enable. Not personas to persuade.
  • Specialists and independents as an asset. Not the competition

Working together allows us to focus on doing whats right for everyone medium to long term. Not short term solutions that don’t drive sustainable business success. 

creativebrief: What’s the next big thing for Studios?

Andy Hewitt: Fixing everything above. Strap in, its going to be a bumpy ride.

creativebrief partner the Marketing Academy is a non-profit organisation which provides a unique forum for industry leaders, marketing gurus, entrepreneurs and inspirational people volunteer their time to inspire, develop and coach the next generation of future leaders. The Marketing Academy gift a maximum of 30 ‘Scholarships’ each year to the fastest rising stars in the marketing, advertising and communications industries. A team of high profile mentors and coaches develop these stars through a process of mentoring, coaching, networking and personalised learning. 86 mentors, 30 Coaches, 20 Judges, 36 companies and an owl called Merlin all provide their time, resources and knowledge to assist in shaping the minds of our future leaders. Furthermore as a vital part of their curriculum all Scholars volunteer at least one day per year through our Donate28 initiative to work with charities who need bright young marketing minds. For a full list of the individuals involved, see the Sherilyn Shackell interview.