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Episode 16  |  34:29 min

Marketing Content - Covid Edition (with Mykim Dang, Executive Video Producer of America's Test Kitchen)

Episode 16  |  34:29 min  |  12.07.2020

Marketing Content - Covid Edition (with Mykim Dang, Executive Video Producer of America's Test Kitchen)

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This is a podcast episode titled, Marketing Content - Covid Edition (with Mykim Dang, Executive Video Producer of America's Test Kitchen). The summary for this episode is: Mykim Dang calls herself a “full stack creator,” and that’s no exaggeration. In this episode of “Lights, Camera, Grow,” we take full advantage of our chance to go one-on-one with a true creative mastermind.

Mykim Dang calls herself a “full stack creator,” and that’s no exaggeration. In this episode of “Lights, Camera, Grow,” we take full advantage of our chance to go one-on-one with a true creative mastermind, covering a broad range of topics:

  • How COVID-19 has changed production for America’s Test Kitchen
  • What tricks and tools the pros are using to deliver high-level content while working from home
  • The importance of “white space” to create things that aren’t tied to a business objective
  • The future of formatting and tips for small-screen content production
  • Dang’s creative process, from conception to prototyping and beyond

Where to find Mykim Dang:

  • www.MykimDang.com
  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mykimdang/
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/mykimdang?lang=en
  • Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mykimdang/

- LIGHTS, CAMERA, GROW PODCAST -

  • Apple Podcast - https://apple.co/2xU2dYq
  • Spotify - https://spoti.fi/2XecKbF
  • Google - http://bit.ly/LightsCameraGrow_Google
  • YouTube - http://bit.ly/TobeAgency_YouTube

Thanks for listening!

MD
Mykim Dang
Full Stack Creator

Mykim Dang: Our company actually made a decision to work from home quite early, so we were able to pivot very quickly. And I personally, was very excited about that, because again, I come from a background of being an artist and entrepreneur and working with creators one- on- one. I was pushing the company to think, we've all got something in the palm of our hands that allows us to tell stories, how do we utilize that tool? So suddenly everyone understood, I have a camera. I can turn my home space into something and tell my story. So it was actually really invigorating, because the team now had all of these constraints in place that actually allowed them to be really creative in ways that they never thought that they were capable.

Jared: That's Mykim Dang, serial creator, and the executive producer for America's Test Kitchen. On this episode, we sit down and talk about what it's like to create high quality content in today's environment. This is Lights, Camera, Grow. What's going on guys. Welcome back to the Lights, Camera, Grow podcast. My name is Jared. I'm here again with Andrew, and today we have special guests, Mykim Dang. Hi, Mykim. Welcome to the podcast.

Mykim Dang: Hey everybody. Great to be here.

Jared: Thank for taking a few minutes out of your day to hang out with us and talk shop, and all things related to the environment that we're currently in, production wise. Really excited to hear your perspective. So for the audience out there who doesn't know who Mykim is, I'll do a quick introduction, but I'd love you to just give your background and your experience and where you are today. So Mykim is the executive producer for America's Test Kitchen. She's also a full stack digital creator, which I will love to hear the full breakdown of that, because that is a lot to unpack there, I'm sure. But, if you could give the audience a little bit about yourself, that'd be great.

Mykim Dang: Sure. Yes. So, I call myself a filmmaker who fell into digital by accident. So back in 2008, I was pursuing a degree in film and saw what I call, the writing on the wall, around these new platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, and was really interested in them as a content creator. Saying that these platforms could democratize how we make, distribute, consume content. So, I'm going to take a big leap and move over to the product side of things and learn about how engineering works. I went to a company called Brightcove, which was basically the B2B of YouTube, as a platform provider. And so, the full stack terminology nods at the fact that throughout my whole career, I've actually maintained myself to be very close to the work. So shoot, edit, produce, creative, design. I'm an artist before I was a filmmaker and entrepreneur. So, that's what that refers to.

Andrew: Sounds similar to our other host here.

Mykim Dang: Tell me Jared.

Jared: I never thought of it in that fashion, but I might have to adopt that title. That's awesome.

Andrew: It's interesting because Jared and I have different backgrounds. So my background is more on the marketing growth, advertising side. And then Jared's background is a lot more on the creative, but very similarly to you actually, I think Jared has a little bit of everything.

Jared: I started graphic design, then I got into a bit of filmmaking, but I went to school for visual effects. So, that's where I actually got my chops in production and post- production. So, I learned the pipeline a little bit backwards, but, very, very similar.

Mykim Dang: And I think, now more than ever, we're seeing that generalist mindset really pay off, because everything's moving so quickly and there's always a new platform and always a story to tell. Nice to be surrounded by like- minded people.

Jared: It's so funny, because I always tell people that if it's one skill you're going to learn in any type of basic art, graphic design is a great place to start. If you can pick up Photoshop or Illustrator or any type of design language program like that, you can get your way through a lot. You can make business cards for yourself, you can help out in different areas on the marketing team, on the sales team. And it just helps you get your foot in the door in a lot of places. But that brings me into our topic today, which is, so obviously, the world looks quite different as you know, from being in a real film production environment. How has your workload and work changed over the last three or four months?

Mykim Dang: You know, I would say that it's completely turned on its side. America's Test Kitchen, the headquarters is based in Boston, and prior to COVID, we were 100% in studio. So, state- of- the- art production facilities to television shows also made there. We produce photos and books and magazines and web products. So, really hustling and bustling space dependent on the physical interaction connection of being with each other. Our company actually made a decision to work from home quite early. So we were able to pivot very quickly and went into this fight or flight response mode, where we were putting out fires and figuring out the immediate priorities on how we could continue to make content. Knowing that we had to give ourselves time to adjust, things weren't going to be perfect and that we were going to learn as we went. I personally was very excited about that because again, I come from a background of being an artist and entrepreneur and working with creators one- on- one. I was pushing the company to think we've all got something in the palm of our hands that allows us to tell stories, how do we utilize that tool? So suddenly everyone understood, I have a camera. I can turn my home space into something and tell my story. So it was actually really invigorating, because the team now had all of these constraints in place that actually allowed them to be really creative in ways that they never thought that they were capable.

Jared: What have been some of the challenges too, and you were kind of alluding to there, there's a very deep connection that happens when you're in person on production and even in sometimes pre- production, how has that changed and how have you overcome some of those challenges, where you can't just have somebody on the shoulder and say," I don't really like that. I need to maybe reframe or let's think about that in a different way."

Mykim Dang: I would say the biggest stressors have been, not just on the production crews, but also the talent, because they're physically removed and they're within their own space. They now have to operate the camera. They have to deliver. They have to make sure that they're framing things correctly, with the help of producers, remotely through Zoom and FaceTime and whatever tools you might be used to working with. But the idea that having one person be responsible for everything, that just... There's technical problems, internet connection, lighting, audio, everybody's working from home. So of course, the things that you don't think about on a daily basis, if you're on a controlled set or in a studio, are now the realities of what we all need to accommodate for. And then on the other side of it, the pre- production process becomes more intensive, right? We almost have to build in technical rehearsals and anticipate the problems that will happen, and actually pre- planned to have extra shoot days before the actual shoot. So everything's expanded, in terms of responsibility and timeline, but now that we've done a few and have a few series under our belt, we understand how to optimize that process, and everybody's a bit more forgiving, I would say.

Jared: Even the public, I would say is a lot more forgiving these days, as far as the quality of the content, as long as the content is good. And that's always true, right? The context of the content has to be always be good. But that's interesting that you mentioned the talent. So when you're... Well, I guess you're used to working with talent that's used to understanding where lighting and staging and the normal film things that happen. Have you had to deal with anybody that may not have those full production chops behind them, but they're now, for the first time having to be on camera?

Mykim Dang: Absolutely. And I think for those folks, again, part of pre- production is really understanding where they're coming from. So, the way that I always like to approach collaborating with folks around creating content is assessing them as an audience. How comfortable are they? What do they know well? Where would they need a teleprompter, as opposed to just having a conversation? Location scouting. Right? Doing that within their home, understanding their schedule. So it's almost like a brief process with people who are less comfortable on camera, and making sure that you have the same baseline of vocabulary. And if there any gaps, that's how you work together to address, okay, maybe this person has a really great space, but they feel really self- conscious just talking into a lens. So how do we set up a system where we might have Zoom here, the camera right above it, match the eyeline a bit, and let them just talk and do a couple alt takes before we get into the meat of the content. So it's kind of tweaking based on the individual person and how comfortable they are. Because I can tell you, I prefer to be on the other side, not [crosstalk 00:08:39], I get how hard it is.

Jared: I know both can be uncomfortable in different regards, as far as what side of the camera you're on. Now that you're creating all this content in a virtual way, do you see it lending itself to living up to what is expected on TV versus what's expected online?

Mykim Dang: So, I would say that the threshold, you pointed to it a bit earlier, for the production value of certain types of content, is going to be blown wide open. The fact that television broadcast late night shows had to pivot to that format, everyone understands the power of the phone, right? In the palm of their hand, there are things that we can do to up- level that production quality, and that's where, I think, a lot of the producers I've collaborated with have gotten really excited. So for example, we now have standardized kits, as opposed to everyone just using their individual phone, which can cause problems when you're dealing with file transfer, and media management. And now we know things like lighting and audio, the same things that we have to think about onset, they apply in this space too. So, whether that's using an app like FiLMiC pro, which we're big proponents of, having the same phone be sanitized and passed around and shipped, all the things that you can control, that's what you should be thinking about to make the post- production process that much smoother.

Jared: That's interesting. So you're basically essentially shipping out, let's say, an iPhone eight or 10 or whatever it is, to each... You're shipping the same kit, right? It's that iPhone, maybe a ring light, and maybe a microphone of some sort.

Mykim Dang: Exactly. And for the television show, they're using the pod model in people's homes, right?

Jared: Interesting.

Mykim Dang: So it's a controlled environment, broadcast cameras, the talent isn't responsible for operating anything themselves. The director and the producers are dialing in remotely. So that's a bit of a different model, that I think we'll continue to see across all types of content. And you can do it lo- fi too. Just using Zoom or streaming live directly to YouTube. The guys over at Sandwich video-

Jared: I was just about to bring that...

Mykim Dang: Did a really amazing commercial for Slack. So, people are getting really creative.

Jared: We're using a similar setup with a couple of black magic cameras, but they essentially sent out the black magic kit with a couple lights. And I think the most amazing part to me, and this is where the time suck probably happened the most in that production, was the amount of cinematography tutorials they did ahead of time. So they did an entire cinematography series to pass along with the equipment, so that their team could understand what a gaffer does. And where do you position the light? Why is it 45 degrees from the camera? What is depth of field? Just the basic stuff that, maybe as a filmmaker, you take for granted. But that's really interesting.

Andrew: How quickly, into this since COVID happened, did you make these adjustments to sending hardware and kits out to people? Was it pretty much the first thing that you identify and just said," Hey, this is a really critical path point right here that we've got to figure out." Or did you learn from a couple of productions and then say," Hey, we got to standardize this."

Mykim Dang: I would say it was the latter. As a production team, we understood the importance and saw the writing on the wall. But again, it was all about accommodating our talent and making sure they were comfortable, because so much was on their shoulders. In the case of food, you also have people like stylists, and art directors, and people who helped prepare the food. So all of those folks were no longer available to them. So after a few shoots, we optimized, we understood, and now, in terms of planning for this upcoming season, we have the process much more standardized.

Jared: So is the talent then, responsible for prepping the food now as well, all the way through? Wow.

Mykim Dang: They are. Which has affected how we think about content selection.

Jared: Sure.

Mykim Dang: And the format, right?

Jared: Wow. To me, that seems harder to do and more challenging than the actual production part of it. So, okay, you touched on something earlier, when you were talking about the broadcast camera set up. What do you think is going to stay around and are we going to ever go back to somewhat of a normal production scenario?

Mykim Dang: I think it really depends on the final format, right? So you see everyone in Hollywood, for example, really pushing the pod model, filming outside the United States, controlling as much as they can. Adding new staff and protocols to make sure everyone's separated and being tested constantly. If you're an independent film or a small business, you don't have the resources or time to do things that way. So, for people who can shoot in small crews, whether that's in the field or a highly controlled environment, I think production folks in general, we're so collaborative and the work is so hands- on, when we were assessing who's comfortable wanting to go back to the studio and who can continue to run the ship from home, everybody said," I want to go back."

Jared: Right. Right.

Mykim Dang: This is great that we figured out this format, but it's not something that we want to do forever, or at least put at the forefront. So, the way we think about content is by platform. And now what we've learned, is that we can have individual talent, take the reins on their own with iPhone footage, but that content probably lives on something like Facebook or Instagram. As opposed to our YouTube shows, which will continue to be a hybrid and hopefully move back in the direction of a more controlled traditional environment.

Jared: So when your concepting for things like Facebook and Instagram, are you concepting vertically versus landscape? Is there specifics in the show that dictate that?

Mykim Dang: Yes, absolutely. I was part of a team at Facebook, whose mandate was to investigate what this aspect, ratio, constraint, and small screen storytelling actually looks like now, because we consume content very differently. And that's something that I've pushed for very hard. I think traditional filmmakers and content creators, sort of the same way they argue about film versus digital.

Jared: Sure.

Mykim Dang: Right? Everyone has their preference of what they think is better, but I'm really saying, what makes sense for the audience and where they're consuming the content. So, anything small that you can do around center framing, making sure the action stays in the middle, because you know that frame is going to change, or actually shooting different types of content based on the container. So that's something that's built into our process now. And we think about social assets very differently than we do the main meat of the episode, for example.

Jared: That's really interesting. So when you're shooting, those, are you sometimes shooting multi- camera at a time, so you can capture it in different formats at the same time?

Mykim Dang: Yes. And another piece of process we've incorporated more recently is having a dedicated social producer. So that person might be on set, just capturing with his iPhone set up that's fully specked, because we know that content is going straight to social.

Jared: Wow. That's really cool. So, I guess going back into more of the distribution, when you're... I know you were mentioning that YouTube is more in the traditional format. Do you see at some point breaking that off and continuing just to go down like, okay, this is only going to be for the network. This is only going to be for YouTube. Or you may be already doing that.

Mykim Dang: I would say that that's how we think about concepting new series, but a lot of the new platforms we experiment on, we cross- post, right? So there's lower risk for us, because it's a new space and we don't want to invest resources in doing something specifically for that platform until we find an audience and a cadence. So for example, America's Test Kitchen is unique because they've been around for 25 plus years, traditional media and to new media. So the television show, for example, that's content that you see on our YouTube page, but it's behind a season or two, right? So the cycle and the lead time is much longer for that content. But for someone who stumbled upon it on YouTube, it looks like new content to them.

Jared: Right.

Mykim Dang: But if they continue down the journey of seeing the other series we offer, you can pretty quickly tell the difference between the television show, which is shot on entirely different cameras, has way more angles, has a whole cast, versus the YouTube native content. So it's something that we're very, very conscious of and something I like to push anybody who's making content to have a stake in the ground about where this content is living. Because let's say you want to create a series on YouTube, the expectations and the behavior are going to be very different than something you might make for a landing page or your own website.

Jared: That's crazy. And I mean, that's... As we're... So we build show series, podcast series with video, for a lot of our clients, and that's something that we try to solidify ahead of time, but we're very conscious also of the power of YouTube and how you're able to be discovered and the searchability. And obviously, we're not producing anything that goes on network television, so we're not fighting that battle, but we are fighting the battle between which platform does it live on based on the business. So is this better for LinkedIn? Is it better for YouTube, or which version of it is better for which. So, that's really cool that you guys think of that in such a detailed manner ahead of time. Do you consult with the marketing teams ahead of time as your concepting? Or is that an after...

Mykim Dang: We do. Video at America's Test Kitchen touches every business unit. So we have a bit of a different briefing process and different producers working on and with different teams. So for something like marketing, which has different needs than an original series on YouTube, we might partner more closely with social. Anything that's going on their channels versus an email campaign or on a landing page or part of a promotion. But it is something that we consider to be integral to our briefing process. That to me is again, that left brain, right brain, the full stack view. How can you make stuff without understanding where it's going to go?

Jared: Sure.

Mykim Dang: The container shapes the content, right?

Jared: You'd be surprised. Well, I'm sure you had experienced, but you'd be surprised. You totally get-

Andrew: I think that's such an important... You keep going back to this concept of this full stack bunch of capabilities. And I think that point you made earlier, about how being a generalist these days, is actually important, just because of the fact that technology processes, methodologies, they change so fast. And it's like back in the day, you're an expert at cobalt. You can't do that anymore, right? Because if you become that expert, it's quickly becoming outdated. And so, even, like you mentioned, in an environment like today, where you have to be creative with how you're going to get things done, understanding things from multiple perspectives, is a much more efficient way, right? To being able to rework your pipeline, rework your process, something that you've really been used to. So I think COVID, and everything that's happened here has really, to your point, made people more creative, but at the same time, I think you've got to flex more muscles in your mind, in a way, right? To really figure out how to adapt to all this.

Jared: As we're... Some of the style of series that we usually end up working with our clients on, are a lot like what we're sitting in on this side of the camera, which is a more live action style production. But same thing happened to us when COVID hit, and obviously we're a lot smaller unit, but we were like," Wow, we got to change everything that we're doing and think different." And it actually worked in our favor, because we jumped a bunch of hurdles that we were always going to face, which are, how do we get guests into the studio? How do we figure out timing? And what month is going to be good for the guests or the client or both? And now we're like," We just got to link them up on Zoom and have a producer sit in or a director sit in on the conversation, just to make sure things are technically good, make sure other aspects of the conversation are going well. And then we just go into post production. So the production cycles for us actually became a lot simpler in that fashion. And we were still able to execute at a high level of capacity.

Andrew: It gave us some flexibility too, right? Like being able to do it virtually through Zoom. We could now talk to someone across the other side of the country, or in another country for that matter. So there were some opportunities that I think-

Jared: I feel like we set boundaries on ourselves that were not needed, but...

Mykim Dang: Interesting.

Andrew: So it's just been very interesting to see how... And the clients as well, and we talked about production quality, they've accepted the fact that," Hey, look, we're not going to get this really polished live- action style shoots." And they're like," Well, let's do more of them." Which has actually been good for us. Right?

Jared: And I also think on their side, it's been easier for them to sit in front of a Zoom camera versus a real camera, because there are a lot more... They're prone... They're sitting in front of a Zoom camera five hours a day.

Mykim Dang: All day long.

Jared: Exactly. So, they were already doing that in their respective companies. So I think that production barrier was also a lot easier. Okay. So jumping around, what is your creative process look like when you're starting from the beginning? Maybe that's a little open- ended...

Mykim Dang: I think I know what you're asking me, but I would say that, generally there is a period of development, where you're open- ended, right? To your point. Me personally, I draw a lot of sources of research and inspiration, and typically without outside, rather the boundaries of whatever the project is. So, in the context of America's Test Kitchen and food, I'm actually going to look at other sources of media and inspiration that are outside the food world. So that's something personally, that I feel very strongly about, again, just from my background and the way that I've made stuff across different mediums. And that's, to me, where the magic happens, right? You make these connections or you find these influences that might work or might not work and then prototyping. And that where the tech and the marketing background comes back in, because I might be really invested or as a creative person, be very tied to the vision I have for this project or this story. But the truth is, it's going to go out there into the world, right? So why not take one story, chop it up and tell it a bunch of different ways, get some feedback on it, have other people go through the same process, and let's bring it all back together and figure out what parts of it might actually make it into the final story. And then, you have this whole reserve that might end up taking form in other ideas and other content, that can also act as ancillary content or short form, cutting room floor tech content that can be repackaged for social and other channels. So for me, that upfront work and that process, and the white space is really important, before I dive into defining the parameters of what this thing is.

Jared: I feel... I've actually never heard a filmmaker call it prototyping. So that's really interesting that you call it, and that makes sense with your tech background. But, I feel like I could live in that phase forever, but then, I'm pretty sure Andrew would just kill me. Because we'd never get anything off the ground. I just be like," No, it's not there yet. It's not there yet. We've got to keep going. Noodle, noodle, noodle." So, the prototyping phase I can totally relate to. But you're right, at some point it's got to get off the ground and it's got to go out.

Mykim Dang: I'm a big fan of time boxing. I think creative people sometimes feel pressured by that, but I love the idea that, set a parameter for yourself, focus on one or two ideas, and just go with it and see what happens at the end of that 30 minute or hour long block.

Jared: I need to try that more. I've definitely done that, but I feel like I work under deadline pressure way better anyway. And I think a lot of creatives would probably say similar. So, outside of America's Test kitchen, what other big productions have you worked on?

Mykim Dang: Honestly, I'm really proud of the work I was able to do at the video lab at Facebook and Instagram. A lot of that thinking around, like I said, small screen storytelling. Recently Apple, of course, they do everything beautifully. They just partnered with Damien Chazelle and did vertical cinema, for example. And these are concepts that I was pushing creative people and filmmakers alike, to really understand what happens when it looks like this, as opposed to this? What are the creative challenges as opposed to looking down on it as a medium and saying there's only one way to tell the story. So I'm really, really proud of the work and the thinking that was developed during my time there. And then it translated into curated by Facebook, which was highlighting platforms... Excuse me, highlighting creators across the platform. So people and artists who are using Facebook and Instagram in really interesting ways. So platform specificity, having people who develop AR filters and telling entire films specifically through those lenses. Everything from the pen tool to stickers, to actual lenses that they're making themselves. The possibilities were just infinite. So it was really cool to be able to support that ecosystem. And then full circle, I would say the live production. So that's what I did a lifetime ago, and then that's all come full circle, and now everyone needs to know how to stream live or broadcast over Zoom. So it's been fun to help people figure that out for themselves too.

Andrew: What years were you at Facebook and Instagram working on those projects?

Mykim Dang: That was in 2017. And then again last year.

Andrew: And when did IGTV come out? Was that 2017?

Jared: I think two years now? Maybe two years.

Andrew: I remember when IGTV first came out, we were having, literally this discussion around vertical video and how that could potentially change the landscape of how content is produced and distributed and consumed. So pretty cool that you were actually working on a lot of the stuff.

Jared: I think we've tried to experiment with every type of small screen style format for our own purposes and just to see what was working and what the trends were and if anything was going to catch on. And it's been really an interesting journey, because I feel Instagram bought into it really hard. They were like," Okay, this is going to be our vertical format." But then quickly, they were like," Well, we're just going to give you the landscape option." Now you just flipped the screen and now you can upload landscape as well, which was interesting. And then obviously, that comes to down to Quibi, who has been all over the place, as everybody knows. But I think the technology that they've introduced is really interesting. I think they just, maybe, skipped a couple steps in the way they were thinking about who should be on the platform versus... They didn't think content first, of course. And I think that's always really challenging.

Andrew: But even with Quibi, who went let's just focus on content, even has been getting some trouble.

Jared: That's what I mean. I think in a format like that, in the app like that, and you can attest for this Mykim, lending it to the creator to have the capacity to create in that environment versus trying to cram high quality, Hollywood production into that format, I think is really interesting. And I'm sure, at some point, somebody is going to do Quibi 2.0, whatever that is, and they're going to nail it. Right?

Andrew: Have you gotten involved in any projects like that, with Quibi or any of those types of more small screen format type projects?

Mykim Dang: Nothing with Quibi, but I agree, turnstile was really slick. And I personally thought that was the strongest part of the experience, but I didn't fall in love with any of the content or the storytelling either. And the thing I'd say about vertical, it's not vertical versus horizontal, the idea that you could actually have a different story if you held your screen vertically, as opposed to horizontally, as opposed to just an optimized adaptation, that to me was the missed opportunity. Because you look at things like screen reality, right? Take live action out of the picture, you could have an entire film told through the perspective of text messages and video chats, right? Where was the creativity around exploring truly what is the possibility when you restrict it to the phone? And then with Instagram TV, they listened to the community and creators, right? I would say they were ahead of their time, and that people weren't thinking about shooting content this way. So in order for them to get adoption on the platform, they enabled landscape, because now people could just upload the content they were already making for other platforms.

Andrew: The product team won.

Mykim Dang: They did. They did. And it's so interesting to see what's happening with reels now, right? It's TikTok. It's got TikTok-

Jared: How coincidentally it comes out at this exact moment. Reels, it's going to be an interesting case study over the next several months on how whatever they can capture. And one thing I was listening to an interview with the head of products for Reels, and he was saying that the one thing Instagram has is a platform over TikTok and Snapchat, is they have the business marketplace aspect. So you can be a business with inside of Instagram, which I thought was really interesting. And it'll be interesting to see if any of the other platforms really adopt that.

Andrew: I'm curious, as a creative, but also someone that straddles both the business side and then creative side, when you see a platform like Instagram releasing reels and they have this e- commerce component to it, and there's obviously a monetization function behind the content that's pretty direct. What's your take on that? Is that dilutes the creativity that comes out of it? Or is it just, how do you look at trying to mix e- commerce with content? And now there's this very interesting intersection where you can literally monetize the content by purchasing something directly from it. Right? What's your take on that? Is that a good evolution for where we're headed in content creation? Or is it...

Mykim Dang: I would say that I think that it is something that you can't avoid when thinking about making stuff for these performs. So the one thing I really push my creative collaborators to remember is that, I say this all the time, and you know this yourself, I'm sure. When you're making a living off your creativity, the separation is really important. So the way that I like to run projects in teams is having the white space, like I said, where we're making things that aren't tied to business objectives, but everything else at the end of the day is for a project, is for a client, is for a business. So we have to understand the opportunities there around monetization. Can we do it in a way that's natural, where we're not actually selling? Of course. But the opportunity is there and we'll continue to get resources invested in that platform if we can show that return. That's the marketing speak, right? Exactly what you're talking about.

Andrew: 100%. And for us, because we work with a lot of brands, and our approach to marketing is, provide value and be helpful through content first, before you ask for the sale. And the people that engage with this content that you're trying to be helpful with, or resourceful to, right? Those are the folks that are going to fall through your funnel, right? They're going to proceed further down the funnel. And I think the challenge sometimes is in working with the clients is, you don't go straight for the sale in putting up that YouTube video. That that's the worst thing you can probably do, right? You want to build trust. You want to show personality. You want to get them to see that other aspect of your company or your brand or whatever you're trying to convey to them. And so, I think it's for us, it's always trying to find that right balance too, between how are you creating something that is helpful to your audience or educational or entertaining to your audience to build trust with them first. And then the whole monetization thing becomes a little less icky. You know what I mean? Where you connect with someone where you're really truly engaging on some level of trust or being helpful or something along those lines. And that's what we call that inbound approach to marketing. Right? Which is getting folks to come to you, because they found you through search. They found you through YouTube, right? And they found some value in what you're trying to provide to them. So it's interesting to... I'm always curious to ask that question of folks who have a creative background as well. But also folks who have a creative and business background. And I usually get that similar answer, which is like," Hey, we can create more cool stuff if we can show some sort of return on some of those other stuff that we're doing too."

Mykim Dang: Exactly.

Jared: Cool. All right. Well, one last question. This is a question that we ask all the guests. Number one, do you listen to podcasts?

Mykim Dang: I do.

Jared: Okay. Number two. What are your favorite podcasts right now?

Mykim Dang: Right now, the Center for Humane Tech has an excellent podcast that I recommend to everyone. That's my number one. Today, Explained is my go- to to keep in touch with everything. Reply All would be the last.

Andrew: Reply All.

Jared: Awesome.

Mykim Dang: You can see the themes of my podcast list.

Jared: Very cool. Where can everybody find all things Mykim?

Mykim Dang: I'm on all the social platforms, just at Mykim Dang. And my website is my name. So, you can get in touch anytime. And I love talking about this. It's our content creators and marketers, so always happy to be a resource.

Jared: Awesome. Thank you so much for spending some time with us today.

Mykim Dang: Absolutely, guys. Thank you.

Jared: Thanks for joining us on this episode of Lights, Camera, Grow. Thanks to Mykim for being on, and thanks to our team who helped put this together. If you like what you heard, make sure you rate, subscribe, and tell a friend about the Lights, Camera, Grow podcast. And for more information about Tobe Agency, head on over to tobeagency. co. Thanks for listening.

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