August Bradley is a Creative Director and Director/Producer creating a full range of dynamic commercial artwork for advertising, network television, magazine editorial, and interactive environments. August merges emotionally charged stories, vivid visuals, and digital platforms. Creative work has received wide industry recognition including American Movie Awards “Best Music Video”, Hasselblad Masters Award, Graphis Gold Awards, IPA Photographer of the Year Awards. Extensive background in consumer marketing and brand building. Previous marketing strategy career with leading brands such as Gap, Banana Republic, J.Crew, and Crate & Barrel. MBA in Global Brand Building, Harvard Business School.
BRADLEY’S SPECIALTIES: Brand Films/Commercials, Cross-Platform Advertising, Luxury, Travel, Entertainment.
Websites: www.augustbradley.com / www.glassmedialab.com
Education: Where did you go to high school/college/grad school?
August Bradley: The Columbus Academy (Columbus, OH), Colby College, Harvard Business School
Work and career before launching or buying company
August Bradley: I had another career prior to moving into the creative fields. I did Strategic Planning and Marketing Strategy for leading consumer brands, many of which in the apparel space (Banana Republic, JCrew, Gap)
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR COMPANY
Mission and vision of company/firm
August Bradley: My company, GLASS Media Lab (www.glassmedialab.com), creates engaging stories that promote luxury and consumer brands. Short cinematic pieces are usually at the core of each project, and often satellite pieces are created to spread different elements of the story across many digital platforms and live events or installations.
Who is your customer? How do you define your target customers?
August Bradley: Our customers are brands, products, or services that have an inherent sense of story. We then work with the client to bring that story to life in more tangible ways, ways that are easier to share and spread, that have more emotional impact.
What makes your company unique? What’s your company’s competitive advantage?
August Bradley: We have a very unique combination of cinema production skills (top commercial and studio-experienced team), brand strategy capabilities on par with top strategy consulting firms, and all the key tech and creative skills to build digital platforms and grow audiences and communities across those platforms (social media community builders, user interface designers, software/app development, etc…).
Start-Up Capital: How much to start/acquire? How did you raise it?
August Bradley: We grew organically, largely as my personal career evolved into bigger scale projects. After shifting from the previous career, I was doing advertising photography, then tv commercial cinematography, then Directing/Producing commercials/films/music videos. Over time the team built up around me, and recently we’ve filled the team in with software and other more tech oriented experts as media has shifted from stand alone content to immersive digital experiences.
Leadership style and business philosophies
August Bradley: Give people opportunities and see how far they can take them. I tend to be very direct and frank with the team, feedback is honest. I welcome the same. The people I’ve hand-picked are exceptional, they were all stars in their respective fields but restless and looking for more ambitious creative opportunities. I work to provide that. I don’t just look for technical excellence, but an entrepreneurial sensibility and approach from everyone. Our entire team contributes in areas beyond their areas of focus, which makes us better able to deliver innovative solutions.
CRITICAL INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESS
Seminal moments and achievements in company’s history; biggest setbacks & challenges
August Bradley: I get asked this a lot and certainly there are challanges. They are constant and endless. I don’t view them as setbacks, they are expected and frankly a routine part of the process. I’m always puzzled by this question — isn’t everyone constantly facing setbacks? There’s nothing noteworthy about them unless they stop you. So don’t stop, plow through. There’s always a way to move forward, just drive forward no matter what. And if somehow it’s actually impossible, then move laterally until you see an opening to move forward. Constant motion. Constant momentum.
Perhaps the big problem people get hung up here is that they do not have a good sense of their big picture objectives, what they want to accomplish and what needs to be done to rise to the next level. I have a mindmap-style layout of the biggest, most important things I want to accomplish (for company goals as well as personal goals). Then my daily to-do list is tied to the big-picture mind map. It’s important they are connected, or you just focus on the daily todo list and lose sight of the big 1 or 2-year goals. Don’t let the urgent get in the way of the important. I have my daily todo items explicitly linked to my big picture goals across the two digital platforms. I see both the immediate todo list and the big picture map constantly, I never forget where I’m trying to go.
I’m also constantly doing 80/20 analyses. What 20% of things lead to 80% of the results? What 20% of things take up 80% of my time? It’s amazing how often those two 20% lists are different, in which case you know what to cut.
Where do you see your company in 5 years? Paint the picture for us.
August Bradley: Providing more deeply integrated media experiences for clients, more technological development capabilities to support our media experiences. On the artistic and entertainment side, we’re developing tv shows and feature films, as well as working with prominent musical artists on digital performances and music videos (after releasing our last two music videos for Korn and for Filter, we had so much fun we’re looking at some more).
BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR
When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
August Bradley: Since college. Even when I went to corporate America it was to learn from the best before starting a new venture.
Key traits for a successful entrepreneur?
August Bradley: Drive, resilience.
Biggest challenges to being an entrepreneur?
August Bradley: Lack of resource
What drives you? Has it changed over time?
August Bradley: There’s an incredible thrill with making a form of creative expression and sharing it with the world. It’s also incredibly exciting to create an entity that grows beyond you and takes on a life of its own.
Advice for those who dream of starting or running their own company
August Bradley: In reverse order of importance: (3) You’ll never be fully ready so don’t wait for the perfect moment — the perfect moment will never come. (2) Start gradually and test things while you still have another source of income. (3) The best thing you can do is find the right team, it’s so much more fun with a great team and your odds of success are so much higher.
How did you find your passion for traveling?
August Bradley: I’ve always had a curious mind, and nothing satisfies curiosity like travel. Then the more I travelled, the more I learned not only about distant places but also about about myself. Such discoveries create a never ending longing for more.
Where are some of your favorite places in the world?
August Bradley: Buenos Aires, Berlin, Tokyo as a start. The list could get very long very fast.
What does luxury mean to you?
August Bradley: Style, comfort, peace.
What are 3 ways to live luxuriously without spending so much money?
August Bradley: Meditation, exercise, and healthy eating will get you the furthest fastest, and can be done without a lot of money. It all starts with your health and well being — both mental and physical.
SOCIAL MEDIA ADVICE
Best way to increase your social media following?
August Bradley: Have something worthwhile to say. We have all these incredible new tools to facilitate communication, but such a small percentage of what is sent through these channels has much substance. Traveling with an open and curious mind will help greatly with having something worthwhile to share.
PERSONALITY INSIGHTS/LESS SERIOUS TOPICS
What would you do if you weren’t doing this?
August Bradley: Writing books, essays, teaching.
What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies, sports, outlets?
Just got back into mountain biking and skiing. I don’t dabble, when I get into something I pursue it aggressively so I’m riding a lot.
What inspires you? Who inspires you? Most influential people in your life?
People with passion who give their all to what’s important to them. My brother and my parents have always been my biggest sources of inspiration. After them it tends to be artists and entrepreneurs. I love reading about people.
Mentors: From whom did you learn? Who deserves partial credit for your success?
The list is endless. I think mentorship is largely misunderstood. A mentor may never know you, you may only read or watch a documentary about them. But they are still true mentors. I am constantly looking for insight and inspiration, my mentors are in the upper hundreds I suspect.
What’s next for you? What goals and dreams remain for you?
Grow GLASS Media Lab. Build the Commercial base and launch the Art & Entertainment stage.
Travel more, meet creative minds and inspiring people around the world. I look forward to attending the Davos World Economic Forum and the Cannes Film Festival soon. So many things on the agenda. But at the same time I appreciate what I have here at home right now, which is a lot to be grateful for.
Looking back on your career, does the path make sense to you? Do the dots connect?
The dots connect and make sense only in retrospect. It’s been a crazy unpredictable ride. I don’t think I would have gotten this far, however, if I had aimed at it directly from the start.