Helping creatives be creative again: A chat with Lennard Kooy6 min read
With ad personalization and creative automation on the rise, we’re always on the lookout to find out how our very own team is working towards creating best-in-class experiences to meet customers’ expectations, and what marketers can do to be successful as the future unfolds.
Content Strategist at Storyteq
In this interview, we sat down with Lennard, CEO at Storyteq, to talk about where the digital advertising space is heading in 2021 and learn some surprising things about living in a creative agency.
Ready to read? Let’s roll.
Hey Lennard! Could you introduce yourself and what your role at Storyteq is?
Lennard: Sure! My official role is CEO, but in practice, I mostly do the things no one else wants to do. Besides that, I try to make sure that everyone can be their best (working) version of themselves.
What’s the story behind how and why Storyteq transitioned from an agency to a software company – and the guiding principles behind this decision?
Lennard: Storyteq started as a spin-off from a creative agency called Storymail at the time. During our agency time, we used to manually create a lot of videos ourselves, which quickly led to experiencing the pain of creating multiple versions of a creative concept.
This became one of the main drivers to develop the core technology of adapting creative assets based on data instead of manual work – and create a platform that could help others who go through the same challenge.
The topic sparked a bigger conversation about where we wanted to be heading. We thought: “Do we want to be a creative agency or do we want to build a product that can solve an industry-wide challenge?”
Eventually, we saw this as an opportunity to focus on building our platform instead.
This is a market that has seen little innovation in the past 30 years so being part of a movement that evokes change, well, it’s something that gets us excited every day.
What do you want to accomplish with Storyteq? What kind of impact do you want to make in the industry?
Lennard: I think the creative industry has changed tremendously in the past 10-15 years. We moved from single format TV or print ads to globally executed campaigns with multiple channels, formats, audiences, etc.
On top of this, media has evolved at such a fast pace that consumers have much shorter attention spans which means ads need to be more relevant and tell a story to connect with people.
So with our platform, we’re trying to be at the intersection of creativity, production, and media.
We know that if we help automate repetitive tasks, then creative minds can go back to what they like doing best, which is being creative and coming up with awesome concepts.
Lennard: The biggest satisfaction came from a genuine conversation we had with a potential customer who had no previous knowledge that a platform like ours even existed. It’s great to see that people find value in our platform to improve their ad production process.
“Combined with consumers’ ever-decreasing attention, the creative concepting and production space will be key to drive performance. ”
Lennard Kooy, CEO at Storyteq
What about a situation that didn’t go so well?
Lennard: Like with every start-up, there’s always a lot of unwanted situations.
I think the most memorable was in our early days. We had just moved our infrastructure to the cloud, and Samsung – one of our clients – was using our tech for a major campaign. At some point, we were generating around 25,000 videos per hour. These are numbers that don’t scare us anymore, but at that point, it seemed like a lot.
Google, our cloud provider, didn’t expect us to need anything near that capacity, so the system kept on running out of available servers constantly. This meant that our IT lead had to sleep next to his computer in the office and manually request as many available servers as possible every hour.
Fortunately, it all worked out well and Samsung ended up doing quite some amazing campaigns after that.
How would you describe the digital marketing space right now? What strategies do you foresee to be dominant in 2021? Why?
Lennard: I think 2021 will be a very interesting transition year. We’re moving towards a third-party cookie-less era. And a lot of marketers don’t know this is coming or what it will mean.
In essence, I expect there will be a shift and creative assets will become more important again.
At the same time, brands will implicitly gain a competitive advantage by optimizing their production process. Combined with consumers’ ever-decreasing attention, the creative concepting, and production space will be key to drive performance.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give marketers right now?
Lennard: I’ll keep this short and sweet. There are a few things marketers can prioritize at the moment:
1) Being in control of your data and understanding how to leverage it
2) Putting the creative center-stage again as it becomes paramount in a campaign’s success
3) Optimizing your creative production workflows
Finally, what inspires you to do your work better every day?
Lennard: I read about 40-50 books a year to get multiple perspectives. I’m not the kind of person who will have one ‘idol’. Except maybe for Batman. Batman is awesome.
To learn more about Lennard and say “hi”, feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.
Content Strategist at Storyteq
Andreea is a content strategist at Storyteq and is passionate about writing, storytelling, and cross-functional collaboration. When she’s not busy typing away, you will always see her reading a good book.