Enjoy this article in Italian as well.
Getting there before others, understanding before it happens, predicting the next best thing, knowing how to evolve and change, aiming high. This could be the summary of a story that began just over ten years ago in Milan, between a group of friends who later became partners: professionals and enthusiasts of cinema, advertising and communication.
It all started with a hunch: communication agencies always relied on external production houses to create their content, looking elsewhere for editors, producers and motion designers. At Miyagi—now Media.Monks Milan—we immediately proposed an "all inclusive" approach, where inclusiveness also meant the idea of merging creativity with production capacity, creating in house what others were looking for outside. In this way we have integrated strategy, creativity and production both as our mindset and as our modus operandi, knowing how to solve problems immediately and before others, like the new Mr. Wolf of communication. Lean, fast, smart, without forgetting that coolness that is so popular in Milan.
Content first, because content is our king.
We have always been a content-oriented company. But how do you get there first? How do you anticipate a trend? You do it by following the evolution of both culture and social media. Which came first, TikTok or its content? Why do certain themes become trends and others don’t? What “works?” We must keep in mind that society and social media always influence each other.
It’s not enough to be creative. We need to have a structure capable of continuously shaping itself, driven by the desire for novelty and constant change, and thus become capable of adapting to the zeitgeist of the moment. There we were, with our flag planted on the moon before it became mainstream.
Anticipating trends means knowing how to grasp them but also welcoming them, without prejudice, with curiosity and interest.
When, for example, for Ray-Ban they asked us to launch a social activation on TikTok—a channel where the brand was not yet established—with the goal of eliciting user generated content, we sought to understand the inkling of what would become common tropes: what are these people doing in the elevator? Why do they start making videos of themselves dancing between doors that open and close on the next floor? What if they put on sunglasses?
Thus, in one afternoon on a sofa scrolling TikTok, an explosive, highly successful campaign was born. It was all there: the brand, the wow effect, the gameplay mechanics and the perfect positioning of the brand within a context like that of TikTok. Ray-Ban was speaking the right language, and it was having fun too. The campaign earned 17.2 billion views, 3.2+ million new videos and an engagement rate of 14%.
When a brand's communication manages to spontaneously involve the target, an excellent job has been done.
Creative thinking with a productive approach.
Back in the day, agencies offered clients mostly static social content. Beautiful, original, engaging—but static. And videos were another category, often not even requested, because they were perceived as too complex both to create and in terms of economic sustainability. The so-called "production machine" was demanding, requiring an effort that was seen as time-consuming and expensive in investment.
Our mindset, however, has always been that of a varied group, a production structure with creativity shared horizontally between each profession. In short, the team saw the power of strategic figures such as videomakers, editors, graphic designers, etc., collaborating together. Thus we could propose lateral, disruptive, cool and much more dynamic ideas to a client than static content. And all this was absolutely affordable. It wasn't magic, it was our added value: creativity with a production structure. Something different from an agency, something more than an agency.
At the time, therefore, our direct B2B customer found himself with video content instead of static, but at prices that were difficult to find elsewhere. And at the same time, end customers and consumers could benefit from cool content that stood out from the others.
On the other hand, when we face a brief we don't immediately launch into the execution of a good idea. We take a step back and analyze the brand in depth. This allows us to identify not only the business problems, but all the aspects that led to that problem, in order to be able to provide a creative solution that is not only beautiful but also effective. And consistent.
Smart production is not simply a claim. It is a golden rule each creative agency needs to follow if it wants to be relevant in the contemporary market.
Today we are increasingly dealing with a dynamic world, where projects merge with channels, brands with content, and the dynamics are even faster and constantly evolving. There is no longer time to think in just one direction; but we need to have a broad outlook, to be able to interpret ourselves in many different aspects.
Our being "smart" is above all a productive flexibility, which continuously adapts to any need. There are projects that start one way and then evolve into new forms and possibilities, how do you manage not to go haywire? By planning from the beginning and knowing how to anticipate problems and needs. You cannot be rigid, otherwise you will find yourself blocked at every unexpected step. And so moving forward, taking a long view and knowing how to adapt becomes a method and a mentality that concerns all departments, from creativity to production.
In this way, dismantling and reassembling a production plan becomes part of the journey, a team effort that adapts to needs and which always focuses on the quality and effectiveness of the result.
The modular and flexible production approach has always defined our way of planning and tackling different projects, in which skills merge and influence each other. It is a value, a mindset, a market positioning.
Technology as a superpower.
Artificial intelligence is the big theme these days. The world is divided between those who see it as the end of humanity and those who see it as the path to a better future. For us, AI must be an ally, a tool at our service.
If when we started our adventure, over ten years ago, we were able to enter the market as an agency different from the others, precisely because our method and our "know-how" could be an added value, today we want to be the first to know how to interpret new technologies and integrate them into the way we work. Instead of being afraid of it, we must know it, understand it, and study it. And make her become part of our team.
We like to think of AI as a super power in our hands, and—to quote Spiderman—"with great power comes great responsibility." Translated into the Monks context, AI is a huge opportunity to improve the quality of work. It's up to us to decide how.
One way is by integrating it into our work routine, as a useful support and not as a shortcut. For copy, it is an ally in creating many variations on the theme, testing ideas and content, and generating text that can provide new inspiration. For an artist it is a way of being able to travel with the imagination, accelerating the creation of complex and daring ideas, allowing oneself to make the most of time. The speed that AI offers us is not so much in doing in less time what previously took hours, but rather being able to do more, being able to dedicate ourselves more deeply to real priorities and not blocking creative processes.
AI is part of our smart and flexible path, because, just like in our early days, we are capable of remaining competitive, fast and cost-efficient without sacrificing quality and originality. This is why we want to be ready immediately, before others, learning to govern it, manage it and foresee its uses and new scenarios. In line with our history, we like to be ready and always prepared.
Playing in advance, anticipating trends, to gain a competitive advantage. This is the vision, the entrepreneurial spirit with which we have always approached our industry and our business. With this readiness, we propose transformative actions to our customers rather than solutions to problems.
We’ll be there for you.
And now? We will continue to be there before others, hungry for curiosity and full of enthusiasm. Milan has taught us to always be open to the future and listen to what is happening around us. We have always liked getting straight to the goal with concrete, coherent and achievable ideas, but we also want to amaze. We believe in the value of the team as a group of people who collaborate to share a common passion together. It is exciting and a great satisfaction to expand our group more and more today, opening ourselves up to new worlds and an international context. After always looking for it, we too feel a bit like that "next best thing."
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