Member Spotlight: Curveball Media:

Curveball Media: Member Spotlight

Our Member Spotlight this month is Olly Lawer: founder at film-making company, Curveball Media.  Curveball creates films, animations, and ‘explainer videos’. So far, they’ve worked with Volvo, Heathrow, O2 and The Discovery Channel to name but a few. Olly shared his thoughts on what makes Curveball different from other video marketing firms, as well as how they fit the growing East Anglian tech scene.

Can you tell us a bit about Curveball Media — what do you do, and who do you work with? 

 Curveball is a film and animation production company. The term production company is vast, and encompasses lots of different businesses. We find that many production companies don’t think through the marketing and psychology side of video, so their work doesn’t get the results their clients need. We’re committed to understanding the psychology of marketing and the technical side of video production to provide a better service for our customers.

Before we start anything, we ask our customers: what’s the purpose of this video? What are you trying to achieve? If you don’t set these goals upfront, you can’t measure your success.

We also need to understand what our client is going to do with the video before we start making it. For example, most people watch Facebook videos without sound, but up to 98% of people will use sound when playing a video on YouTube. We’re always trying to learn more about the psychology of video viewing habits so we can provide our customers with the best results.

What’s the story behind Curveball Media – why was the company founded? 

 I met Curveball’s co-founder, Daniel back in 2011. We were both frustrated at the lack of integrity we’d seen at many production companies. For example, launching into production without considering the clients’ needs.

We think this issue was caused by a dip in the price of video and production equipment around 2010/2011 — individuals who previously couldn’t afford it were now able to set up video marketing firms. However, many of these individuals simply didn’t have the right marketing expertise. We launched Curveball as an antidote to this problem.

We champion genuine talent, and have close ties with NUA to attract skilled graduates through internships. Our six-hour working days allow our team to unleash their creativity in a passionate environment, while maintaining a work-life balance.

How has the last year been for Curveball Media? 

 A ride! It’s been intense, but in a good way.

We’re always trying to keep up with what consumers want. This year, we’ve seen a rise in videos to accompany PR campaigns and help reposition public opinion.

This year, we’ve also started working with a lot more tech companies. No matter what sector you’re in, your customers buy based on emotion. Our work with tech firms has seen us take highly complex apps and software and create emotive stories — it’s been very exciting.

Where do you hope the business will be this time next year? 

Over the next year, we want to focus on creating long-term relationships with our clients. A long-term, strategic campaign featuring video is always more effective than a ‘one video wonder’.

We’d also like to take on more tech clients — if anyone needs explainer videos, it’s tech firms! Our marketing team is now based at Runway East, a tech-specific co-working space in London and home to the TechEast embassy. We hope this base at the heart of East London’s tech scene will help us work more effectively with up-and-coming tech firms.

We’re also going to be doing a lot more research to understand how viewers watch video — do people have sound turned on when they work in an office, for example? This sort of information will help us serve our customers more effectively.

How is Curveball Media involved in the East Anglian tech community?

We’re very active on the East Anglian networking scene, but we’d like to do even more of this. We believe face-to-face is still the best way to make connections. The more we can understand our local tech scene, the better we can serve them.

What do you think are the biggest strengths and challenges for East Anglia as a tech hotspot? 

 Much like us, we think the region as a whole struggles with attracting and retaining the best talent. We run frequent work experience placements and internships to try to combat this. We’re also increasing our ties to London and Cambridge, as these places have larger talent pools.

Long-term, the region needs to work on its image. We need to prove that East Anglia is a lively place for tech and media companies to base themselves. It’s getting there, but I don’t think we’ve achieved it yet. Cambridge and London are still seen as the place to be. While it will become common knowledge that there are plenty of opportunities in East Anglia, these things take time.

Why did Curveball Media join TechEast?

We want to be part of the solution for raising awareness of the amazing things going on in East Anglia. Also, with a lot of decision makers and budgets still based in the capital, the London embassy was a big draw. We’re making the most of the community at Runway East.

We’re proud to be based in the East, and it’s great to see other local tech companies doing so well. It feels like the tech companies in East Anglia are paving the way for something exciting in the future!

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