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.