Treading New Ground with Camp4: Q&A with Partner/Director Alexandra Fuller
Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv
Camp4 Collective is a creative content studio and production company that connects audiences to the awe of the wild world and the unconventional people who thrive there. Camp4’s subjects aren’t the only ones defying convention - this nimble collective employs their creativity when it comes to creating bold work for their clients as well as when it comes to thinking about the evolution of their own brand and its place in the greater content ecosystem.
Brand Storytelling caught up with Camp4 Partner / Creative Director / Director Alexandra Fuller to learn more about how a shifting content landscape encouraged Camp4 to adopt a content studio mindset and what accommodating that mindset looks like:
Thanks for taking the time to chat Alex. Let's start with the basics - What is Camp4 Collective?
Camp4 Collective is the most legitimate creative content studio for brands seeking to tell stories far beyond the conventions of Hollywood. We specialize in character-driven, multimedia brand storytelling that connects audiences to the awe of the natural world and the people who thrive there. We work as a true collective, owned and operated by creators, not sales people, so that the story always comes first.
How do you delineate between a production company and a content studio? What does the difference mean to you?
A conventional production company is essentially a general contractor for building visual brand work. In that model, an ad agency (or sometimes internal brand team) will architect the creative and hand the production company a set of plans to execute. Just as we've seen brands change how they engage with ad agencies, moving away from single, long-term AOR relationships to project-based flings with many different agencies, we think there's a need for production companies to evolve, too. For us at Camp4 Collective, the shift to becoming a content studio means moving to a design-build model, where we often work closely with a brand to create the actual idea, develop the story, bring that story to life through production, then help to launch that story within the right ecosystem of supporting content.
How is adopting the content studio mindset better serving your ability to work with clients and/or brand partners?
Mindset is a great word, because this shift does mean that we’ve changed the way we think about brand partnerships. It means that we now often embed earlier and more directly with internal brand teams, supporting the strengths of their own team members and filling in skill gaps. It also means a seamless transition from creative development to production, so that ideas get translated more faithfully and more efficiently. Instead of simply executing a requested deliverable, we’re able to think strategically with our brand partners about their goals, co-create the right stories to pay off on those goals, and generate the best content strategies to set those stories in motion. And lastly, it means that we can be more agile throughout the creation, production and editorial process. When Apple called us to help celebrate Earth Day, Camp4 partnered with their internal team to go from concept development to complex, remote shoots all over the world, to launch within four weeks.
Can you provide another example?
Last year we worked with New Belgium Brewing on a storytelling initiative that I directed that centered around their impact mission of protecting public lands. The brand’s amazing internal marketing team initially had the idea to create a single 30-minute film profiling a nonprofit worker, but after really talking through the brand mission and voice, as well as the goals for the initiative, I proposed shifting to a series of three 5-7 minute films that each brought together two strangers who found common ground over their love for a particular swath of America’s public lands. In this way, public lands were positioned as the great democratizer… just like beer. As part of the project, we created an entire campaign of supporting content, and facilitated the donation of $250,000 from New Belgium to public lands organizations chosen by the people featured in the films. Or, another one of our creators, Anson Fogel, recently worked with Loctite on a broadcast spot with a complex and real stunt. But rather than simply directing it, Anson actually came up with the stunt idea itself and prototyped it in his barn multiple times to get it right, even after the client’s engineers said it couldn’t be done.