Insight Success interviewed Technicolor Creative Studios CMO, Mark Hardy, as part of their ‘Most Influential CMOs to follow in 2022‘. The edition features a handful of The Most Influential CMOs that are at the forefront of leading us into a digital future.
The perfect definition for marketing lies in the balance between art and science that manages to deliver commercial and consumer-centric campaigns to bring about favored results. Fascinated by the idea of consumer behavior coupled with an addiction to building brands, Mark Hardy has combined the processes he truly enjoys with his professional niche to set industry-beating marketing standards. He lives through the process of creating innovative strategies driven by great ideas, thereby producing effective campaigns that offer guaranteed good returns on investments.
Technicolor Creative Studios has Mark as its Chief Marketing Officer, making it an ambitious company filled with extraordinary ideas. The company’s artists and technologists partner with the creative communities across film, television, animation, gaming, brand experience, and advertising to bring the universal formula of storytelling to audiences. Mark and Technicolor Creative Studios seem like the perfect fit for each other, bringing out something great for their audience.
Executing His Ideas in Multiple Domains
Mark has proven expertise in marketing and PR, his most passionate subjects within the domains of entertainment, media, and digital space. His first significant role was at Disney, leading the UK and European releases of Pixar Movies, including the all-time classics Toy Story and Bugs Life. Working at Disney acted as the best training of his career – acquiring the crucial skills of Brand Management and campaign planning skills. The next venture took Mark to Sony PlayStation as Marketing Director for EMEA. He oversaw the launch of PlayStation 3 and major games releases, including the development of ‘SingStar’- a strategic initiative to broaden the appeal of video games beyond the ‘core gamer.’ He later moved within the Sony family to Sony Music/Syco to be Simon Cowell’s first-ever Marketing Director for The X Factor, Got Talent TV brands, and associated pop acts. He sees the global launch of ‘One Direction’ as his claim to fame, entirely driven by digital and social media. His other positions include being the CMO for global messaging app ‘Viber,’ where he spent his time building the global marketing function, scaling the app to over 850 million global users. The journey of four years then ultimately took him to Technicolor Creative Studios, his present home.
Constantly Changing the Rules
While having such a huge and varied portfolio, one is sure to encounter multiple obstacles around the way. Mark has faced them successfully, making him the tried and tested marketer he is today. In his own words, “Challenges or opportunities? I have spent most of my career riding changes in media formats and business models: VHS to DVD to Streaming, disc-based media to downloads, print to digital, radio to YouTube, physical retail to e-commerce. This has proved challenging but has also opened up many exciting opportunities. As the media habits of audiences and customers shifted, I needed to lead my teams through these changes and reframe the marketing & PR opportunity. I love a blank sheet of paper and always get inspired by changing the rules.”
This attitude which is hugely promoted by constantly changing the rules has helped Mark influence popular culture by launching major blockbuster movies to managing the world’s leading video games brand, PlayStation. He loves being a part of ground-breaking new creative technologies and connecting influencer audiences. He always aims to challenge the way things are done and seek out industry firsts which have proven to be a good formula for success in the long run.
A Glance Through the Company
Technicolor Creative Studios has a legacy of over 107 years as being the leading creative technology and visual arts partner for the entertainment and advertising industry. The VFX studios it possesses is a leader in its respective fields: MPC for Film & TV, The Mill for Advertising & Brand Experience, Mikros for long and short-form animation, and Technicolor Games as an art and development partner to leading video games publishers. The studio produces iconic, brave, and vibrant work as new media formats continue to grow. The company is confident of a bright future for its VFX capabilities even though there is an increase in the medium of consumption in the form of content streaming, online gaming, the Metaverse, and mobile. The world has never needed more animation, and GCI content and Technicolor are here to adhere to all needs.
As a globally distributed business, it is common for all team members to work internationally and across multiple time zones. The company’s creative teams collaborate remotely and on location, fulfilling the need for flexibility and nimble working. Like many businesses throughout the pandemic, the company has seen benefits and challenges to working differently. Flexible hours and remote work have fostered greater international collaboration. The role of the marketing & PR team pivoted greatly during the lockdowns, with internal communications amongst staff and external customer relations needing more community management than ever before.
Staying Ahead of the Time
There is much talk about The Metaverse and Web 3.0. Both represent a massive opportunity for the marketing industry across all sectors. Many brands are currently exploring how best to navigate these next-generation technologies and the role they can play in their business. Across Technicolor Creative Studios, the team is ready to develop content, spaces, and assets and offer strategic guidance and insights to partners & clients. The mass-market adoption of 5G mobile will also lead to more video consumption on the go. It will be a boom time for content producers and redefine the role of ‘TV-style advertising’ as brands look to present their products and services in new formats and channels.
Mark shares, “We are a creative technology business – without the latest tools and technologies, we would not be able to develop our craft and break boundaries in our industry continually. Our CTO and his team are the heart and soul of our business and work tirelessly to ensure our artists and creative technicians have the best infrastructure to do their work unhindered.”
A Defined Vision
Mark is clear about his future strategies and has enlisted the goals for the upcoming future: “Learn from the pandemic and keep building on the best bits: Not everything was perfect before. There are undisputed benefits to flexible working styles, a renewed focus on local community life, and new ways of shopping, watching, listening, and playing Keep shifting the needle: The status quo isn’t good enough. Keep telling the colorful Technicolor story: Our 107-year history is in danger of getting lost in the vaults Remember that everybody has been through something: The past two years have fundamentally impacted everyone, and we are all trying to heal and rebuild.”
Mark insists that one must clearly define their brand or business purpose and evangelize this internally and out in the market. All companies need to offer a tangible reason for staff and clients to believe in what they do. An insightful brand strategy will inform the employer brand and provide direction to every part of the business, from product development to sales and marketing. Most industry sectors are congested and cluttered, and it is more important than ever to stand out in the space junk. He advises against underestimating important discussions around sustainability and diversity as every business needs to play its part in driving significant change and a clear point of view on these things that matter to the staff and clients.