Tool and the Future of Creative Production: Q&A With President Dustin Callif

Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv


The way we as consumers engage with personal entertainment, our devices, and even one another has experienced a massive forced evolution in the last two years. And while it might seem impossible for the industries we rely on to facilitate the evolution of the ways in which that content is created, where it comes from, and how it reaches us, companies like Tool of North America are taking calculated steps to do just that. By trend watching and engineering resources that make it easier for their clients to collaborate with and exchange learnings with today's creators, venture into brand new storytelling mediums, and extend stories beyond devices and into experiences, Tool is ushering the companies they serve into a future that is rapidly being realized. Brand Storytelling caught up with Tool of North America President Dustin Callif to discuss how the creative production partner is leveraging the entertainment tools of tomorrow to tell client stories today:

How have you seen Tool change and grow over the course of your tenure there?


What I love about the size of Tool is that we can be nimble and make changes to the business model on a yearly basis. Each year we make some strategic changes that allow the company to be better positioned. For example, in this past year, we made two key strategic decisions that we’re excited about. First, we launched our creators division - a roster designed to help prominent creators make the leap to commercial directing. The move helped to strengthen our foothold as a resource for brands looking to produce best-in-class content, no matter the format and platform. We’re excited about being at the forefront for the future of commercial directing and we see a bright future in our collaboration and mentorship of these creators.


Second, we began investing in software such as live-streaming platform Hovercast. At Tool, we are always in the pursuit of innovation and leveraging the best technology platforms. We decided it would be smart to take a software-based approach to production, allowing our clients to have platforms that help differentiate their campaigns while offering efficiencies of scale.



What is the philosophy at Tool when it comes to making brand-funded content and entertainment?


It’s our responsibility to serve two clients: The brand - making sure we communicate their message and deliver on their objectives, and the audience - we want to create something that is memorable and worthy of their attention.



What is the Experience Group at Tool? How does it work?


We approach advertising as an opportunity for brands to create a cultural moment. In 2009, Tool decided to add experiential and digital capabilities to our already established content chops. This opened up a wide world of creativity, allowing us to help brands create cultural moments with interactive videos, VR, AR, AI, and IRL events. I would say what differentiates us from our production partners is that with our experience group we live at the intersection of technology, storytelling, and experience, allowing us to create unique brand moments - the kind of moments that people want to talk about and experience. By adding this group, we are able to continue creating new ways for brands to stay innovative and connect with their consumers.