30 September 2020
Author: Natalie Shawver
Cincinnati-native Matt Martin can tell you a thing or two about traveling the globe (one of his greatest passions)—but he can also tell you a thing or two about his love of all-things creative. Perhaps that’s why he is the perfect fit as our newest creative director at St. Gregory. Q: You’ve joined us as our creative director—tell us a little bit about your background and experience. Any interesting items to note? A: I’ve been a creative director for 12 years—and prior to that I was a design manager. While I have spent a lot of time at agencies throughout my career, I was at Huffy Bikes in Dayton, Ohio, for 14 years in the creative department. I’ve managed diverse teams of graphic designers, production designers and copywriters and I’ve worked on a variety of projects. From advertising to brand development, trade shows and exhibits, interior and environmental design, social media, video and photography direction … I’ve done it all. While at Huffy Bikes, I led creative for product development for Nickelodeon, Panama Jack, Disney, Marvel and Lucasfilm brands. In April 2018, I traveled to Mexico City to share Huffy’s consumer goods design insights globally as part of the region’s Design Week. I gave keynote presentations to students at Universidad Anahuac and Universidad Justo Sierra and toured the city’s top arts and culture venues for design insights. I was later interviewed about the visit for Architectural Digest Mexico & Latin America—pretty neat! Q: Where are you hoping to make the biggest impact at St. Gregory? A: My goals are to work with the team to do amazing creative and help our clients grow their business. Q: Marketing and advertising often rely on a ‘big idea’—what are some of your recent favorites? A: KFC’s campaign based around running out of chicken. It was so clever and self-deprecating—it was just really cool. You could tell it was one of those things where someone was real and honest—it was pretty bold of them to do; they faced it head on. Very cool. Q: Everyone needs a creative outlet outside their day job. What’s yours? A: Cooking, especially while listening to music. Q: Many of our brands at St. Gregory have an established brand. How do you develop a solid understanding of what it is and where it’s going? A: Right now, it’s really important to be authentic. It’s the way people in general—and especially millennials—want to be interacted with. I like the idea of using archetypes for brands and identifying what the brand personality is. Having a good understanding of that before developing anything else is important. Also, it’s really important to understand what a client or organization is trying to achieve and develop plans that will achieve those goals. Coming up with the expected idea is great—but the unexpected ideas are even better and often push the brand forward. Q: Digital marketing and social media play a big part in advertising today. How do you think these channels have changed our approach as marketers? A: It’s really important to have a consistent, cohesive approach on all digital channels so they all work in concert with one another to reach consumers. Q: What’s your favorite tool to use as a creative? A: Illustrator—it’s what I learned first as a designer and when I was growing up I wanted to be an illustrator. Q: What’s a brand that you are loyal to purely because of its marketing? A: For a long time it has been Apple (for obvious reasons). I also really love Nike. Their TV spot in the midst of the current pandemic was incredible. Nike is great at weaving cultural issues into their advertising in smart and authentic ways—it helps not only build their brand, but pushes conversations forward.
06 August 2020
Author: Stephanie Meinberg
As a University of Alabama grad and Anderson Twp., Ohio native, Emily Meek has divided her post-collegiate years to exploring Europe and launching her career (often simultaneously). Stonehenge to Dublin to Paris, then Birmingham and now back to Cincy, she’s a hometown girl with a passion for football—she’s also the newest member of the St. Gregory media team. Q: You’ve joined us as our assistant media buyer—tell us a little about your media experience. A: I spent just over a year as an assistant traditional media buyer for the Martin Retail Group, an agency in Alabama focused primarily on automotive clients. My work was with General Motors—Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac—covering TV, cable, radio and print buys for my region, which was about 29 markets. It was basic media assistant work—with my strong background in PR, which was primarily earned and owned media, this role allowed me to transition over to the paid media side, which was really interesting to me … I was excited about learning more from that perspective. Q: So why the move back to Cincy? What appealed to you about St. Gregory? A: I loved Alabama—the school, not the state. [She laughs.] I was really looking for an agency setting, the next step after focused corporate communications where you’re working for the same client every day. The pandemic limited my options, of course, but then I spotted this opening—in my hometown—and with everything that was going on in the world, it seemed like the perfect time, the perfect opportunity, to make the jump. St. Gregory as an agency had a deep roster of clients, a lot of which were automotive, which was my current forte. So, it was that ideal next step—going from what I was doing on just the media side at MRG to a full-service agency that did that and more. It blended my previous PR experience with my current work … all in one job. Q: Thoughts on media—in general? Where it’s going in our highly digital, on-demand world … A: Obviously there’s a lot of focus on digital, but I’m more interested in traditional … more interested in what’s going on in the moment when it comes to advertising, like when I’m watching football in live action on TV (versus paying to skip ads on Hulu when I watch The Bachelor). I think you can go further, do more with traditional media—and I think a lot of people don’t realize all that encompasses … it’s not just TV, it’s also billboards and radio and more … Q: So, your primary role here … and favorite part so far? A: I’m only just now a month in, so I don’t have my own accounts yet. Currently, I’m helping with whatever [St. Gregory media director] Janet needs … forms, adjusting plans and media tools, sending traffic, working with budget sheets, printing invoices, scanning things in for co-op … literally every day is something different. I haven’t done anything twice yet. Which is one of the best parts—I love the option of being able to do different things in different systems with different forms and different setups … nothing is ever boring here.