Think Like a Creative: Q&A with EP Davey Spens

Jordan P. Kelley, Content Director, Brand Storytelling

Too often, ad department thinking is employed to solve for the questions presented by creating branded content. The reality is that the machinations of the advertising pipeline can’t adequately be reappropriated to churn out an altogether different product. The best branded content shares more DNA with entertainment than it does with advertising, and as such should be approached from the perspective of an entertainment problem-solver.

Davey Spens is one such problem solver. The Stept Studios EP is a multi-hyphenate with a background in creative direction and ideation. The content creation approach he’s brought to Stept is original and effective, drawing on his previous experiences to put a different spin on how to source original ideas for brands as well as extend the value of those ideas beyond single-serving content. Brand Storytelling caught up with Spens to discuss the merits of creative ideation, storyfinding, and employing an entertainment mindset to creating content with brands:

What is your take on some of the pitfalls that plague brands looking to make really good branded content?

I once heard someone talk about raising children as like holding a glass in your hands - you can’t help but leave fingerprints.

Everything we develop and make carries our fingerprints. It’s why entertainment commissioned and created by brands works for brands - the fingerprints are all there.

But there’s a huge gulf between ‘branded content’ and meaningful branded storytelling. The stories that we remember, talk about and share, are stories that leave a fingerprint in our culture. They don’t just entertain, they add something meaningful to our collective conversation.

What is your approach to content ideation and storyfinding?

I remember ten or so years ago when I started in this field, I wrote down two questions: Is it useful? Is It entertaining? It was a very simple filter that helped me focus on making films that played to the ways audiences use the digital space, and not create content you need to convince people to engage with. These days I’d go one step further and ask ‘Is it meaningful?’

I want to tell stories that don’t just fill a gap or scratch an entertainment itch but add something positive to the conversations happening in culture.