Since launching the company under two years ago, Harrison Winter and Zack Yanger of Co. MISSION have created work across North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia for brands like Toshiba, Newcastle beer, Hyatt, AFAR and many others, helping their clients use what they call “Continuous Content” to communicate with their audience on a daily basis. We paid a visit to their office and asked Harrison some questions about the company.
How do you find brands to worth with?
A lot of the work we do is through connections that I built up over the past 10 years in the advertising and marketing world. Some of it is also word of mouth referrals, clients finding our work online and then a good portion of it is through the relentless effort of our Business Developer named Zack Yanger who is great at establishing new relationships. More than anything though, brands are all realizing that they need to be engaging with their followers on a daily basis, but many just haven’t yet figured out how to accomplish this in a way that adds value to their audience. We have been finding more and more brands to work with because we’re the first company to approach them with a proprietary and realistic solution to the problem they are all trying to solve.
What criteria do you look for in a client?
We work with both large global brands and advertising agencies, as well as small local brands and start-ups. At the end of the day, it all comes down to people and relationships. We just love working with great people, creating things that excite us and that we think will excite other people and help our clients’ achieve their goals.
Is there a common element to all of your videos?
We always lead with the emotion and story, everything else follows out of that. Once we identify where the emotion is and what would make someone genuinely want to watch and share the content, then we start to determine how we want to approach things aesthetically.
How was Co.MISSION founded, and how did you come up with the idea to build a global network of content creators?
I started the company in mid 2012 because I noticed a big shift happening with brands and advertising agencies. Brands were beginning to be put in this position where a few big campaigns a year just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Social media and technology was and continues to require brands to interact with their audience on a daily basis to keep them engaged and interested, which often comes down to having great content. In this new world, advertising agencies were having a hard time figuring out how to produce content more cost and time efficiently because a lot of their relationships were with big production companies that typically required well into the six figures to take on a project. At the same time that I noticed this problem, I started to meet some young filmmakers in Brooklyn who were putting out phenomenal short films on super small budgets. Some of them were doing it with small crews and some of them all by themselves. When these two insights collided, I knew that I had found not only a way to solve the problem that brands and agencies were facing, but I believe I had also found the future of brand building and my biggest passion in life. I got obsessed with creating short films myself, continued to meet more filmmakers and in the process it became clear that this new breed of content creators were all over the world. Because the technology to do it has spread all over the world. If you know what you’re doing, you can shoot a cinematic looking film on a camera that costs no more than a few thousand dollars and it’s the size of the palm of your hand. And the post-production software is equally accessible. So I set out and built a global network of these new up-and-coming content creators in over 150+ countries. I literally went through thousands upon thousands of reels over the course of a year, hand picked over 500+ people that were both of the right caliber of talent to create content for brands and agencies but who were also still cost effective. Then I spent time building relationships with them and bringing them onboard with contracts so that collaborations can happen quickly.
What direction do you hope to see the company going in the next five or ten years?
At the end of the day, we exist to support our clients. So how we grow and develop over the next 5-10 years will largely depend on how we can best support our clients and how their customers around the world evolve in what they want from brands in terms of marketing and relationships. I think social media and content is a runaway train and with people now in control of being able to avoid advertising, I think all signs point towards brands having to find ways to authentically engage their audiences. Telling stories, forming relationships and entertaining them in ways that win their hearts and minds for the long term. In that 5-10 year future, I hope to see Co.MISSION leading the way, creating content all over the world that connects with people in authentic ways and helps our clients achieve their wildest dreams. If that means it requires one key studio in Brooklyn with our content creators spread around the world in order to support our clients with cost and time efficiency, then we’ll continue to do that. If it means we end up having 40 studios around the world to best support our clients, then that would be really cool too.
Are the videos a collaborative effort between the clients and Co.MISSION? Or is the creative control entirely in the hands of the brand?
It’s always a collaborative effort. Our brand clients come to us to help them tell their story, develop ideas and bring them to life. And since we also do work for agencies where we act as more of a production company, they’re also looking to us to help take what might be an idea on paper and bring it to life in creative ways. There is always back and forth with any of our clients and at the end of the day the decisions will be up to them, but a big part of why our clients work with us is for that collaborative effort that elevates the final result.