Q: Cimaglia Productions has been around for well over a decade. Why now the shift in positioning?
A: [Matt] When I started the company in 2002, we largely focused on video broadcasting. Over the years, that shifted into what we’d now call digital online content—shorter videos tailored for an online audience with an integrated social and brand-driving component. I deliberately avoided depending too much on video alone, since we realized there was a shift happening in the way people were consuming creative content. By staying in front of and identifying these new industry trends, we noticed that we had been evolving all along into more than just a video production company, based on the work we were both producing and consulting on.
Q: Why have you decided to bring on executive management after so many years?
A: [Matt] By bringing on someone to foster the existing business and help grow new client partnerships, I realized I could focus more on the part of the job I’ve always loved most—the creative component, coming up with innovative ideas. I was looking for an individual to fill a partnership role for some time, actually, but until Anna and I spoke seriously about her joining the team, I hadn’t found anyone who really understood my vision behind this business model—delivering content to clients based on their specific needs, instead of in a traditional setting.
Q: Anna, you have been primarily at larger agencies. Why now the shift to a smaller firm?
A: [Anna] Matt and I connected instantly because of his clear understanding and vision of how the creative industry is shifting. Younger, smaller agencies are simply more agile, which is becoming more important as the industry shifts away from the old way of doing business. It can be just as challenging for a small agency to develop and execute ideas, but it’s refreshing that we don’t face the constraints of a legacy system. We can focus more intensely on client needs instead of short-term net margin, for example, and shift roles and deliverables based on the target audience, not the internal business model.
Q: What is Cimaglia today?
A: [Matt] I get asked this question almost every day, and sometimes my answer shifts based on the context of the conversation. Basically, we’re a creative agency built around the understanding of telling a story, but we use a different kind of delivery method. We’re upfront about outsourcing the best talent to work on any given job, which means when we need to work on a project, we turn to our professional network and choose the people who best fit the job. So we’re turning against the traditional agency model, where you need to put people to work to justify their salaries and your overhead.
Q: What is the future outlook of Cimaglia?
A: [Anna] We are in conversation with several thought leaders and key decision makers across a few different companies. We are fortunate to be in a position where we can build on relationships that we care about and focus on work we find fulfilling and worthwhile. Over the next five years, we will certainly be growing, but it will be in a fluid way, aligning with Matt’s concept of optimal optimization leverage. Basically, we want to build the company in strategic increments—growth isn’t a bad thing, but rapid growth can transform us into the kind of agency we want to distinguish ourselves from. On the other hand, staying static will sink the ship. It’s all about carefully thinking out each business decision, and looking at our own company’s analytics to determine next steps.
Q: Why have offices on both the East and West Coast?
A: [Matt] We’re a tightly knit team, but we want to be available for our clients across the country. Eventually, we plan to open offices in Asia and Europe to reach new markets and dig into the borderless world created by the Internet. I strongly believe that having a broader understanding of global culture has a big play in what trends may be around the corner.
Q: How much does data play in your daily role of decision-making within the company?
A: [Anna] Quite a lot. We don’t make a major decision or recommendation to a client without first looking at relevant industry data. By using proven numbers as a starting point, we can confidently and intelligently discuss with clients their brand positioning and potential strategies for the future. Once we understand the company’s overarching goals, including business problems that are hindering growth, we can come in with a creative strategy that both matches their expectations and has some foundation in reality. Using data as a launching pad for a strong creative campaign guarantees our clients a reliable product.
Q: What would you say is the core of the business?
A: [Matt] As far as our company ethos goes, it’s all about innovation and creating hard-working content that shows tangible results. For our business model, it’s all about finding the right talent for any given job. We like to pull from talent we have long-standing relationships with, people who trust and understand the unique approach we take on projects. It’s not just about avoiding conventional trends—it’s about creating something unique that surprises both our clients and everyday people.