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My Summer Lair featuring Graham McDonnell (T Brand Studio)

My Summer Lair featuring Graham McDonnell (T Brand Studio)

Sammy Younan

Published on: April 17 2018

My Summer Lair Chapter #78:What’s The Story Of The T Brand Studio?

In the past newspapers aside from readers and subscribers used classifieds as a revenue stream. Times changed and so has the NY Times. The classifieds no longer generate revenue but the T Brand Studio does by doing what the NY Times is known for: telling stories.

T Brand Studio is the brand marketing unit of The New York Times. We create content and experiences that spark imagination and influence the most influential audiences around the world.” So this is different from the NY Times most readers are familiar with…there is a church and state separation. The NY Times is an established institution; it’s understandable why President Trump singles it out in his ongoing media critiques. However T Brand’s work is not what upsets Donald Trump.

T Brand Studio’s staff consists of journalists, graphic designers, video producers and much more.In many ways it is a mini-newsroom but one hired by a corporation to reach New York Times readers.

Imagine if you could harness the resources of the NY Times with that NY Times voice…that authenticity to promote your movie as Netflix did for 13th: Plantation to Prison. Or Spotify who harnessed their NY Times honed research abilities to determine How Accurate Are 2017’s Hit Songs?.

My interview with Graham McDonnell the T Brand Studio Creative Director covers all of these aspects especially how a pitch goes from an idea to reality. He reveals some of the magician’s tricks in how the T Brand Studio operates and shares what it all means for the NY Times. It is why his talk at FITC Toronto was so compelling: Putting the ‘Story’ into Storytelling.

How do you take brand combine it with traditional marketing objectives to effectively tell a story? And what story are you trying to create…is it one people would be willing to share?

I caught him at a pivotal moment. He was moving from London to New York City which as a metaphor circles back to the NY Times. It has to move from where it was; who it was to a new place…it has to rediscover its values and which of those values still apply in this new Google ruled world.

The irony is that newspapers cover transitions well…they can grasp the nuances and the fateful impacts unless it is its own transition. It’s hard to know what kind of tomorrow exists for the NY Times but for today the future at least from the T Brand Studio’s perspective is bright.

Which for a group of storytellers is exciting.

 Host Sammy Younan W • T • F

T Brand Studio @ W • T • F

Recorded: April 10, 2018 4pm (EST)