Every successful agency needs its fearless leader, and Matthew Billings is no exception. With more than twenty years of marketing and creative vision as his guiding compass, our founder and Executive Creative Director has always had a passion for film and breaking boundaries—two talents he continues to employ throughout Spin Creative’s diverse range of projects. Learn more about how this caffeine-fueled Seattleite launched his own company amidst a national economic downturn, and how he continues to set his sights high for the future of Spin Creative:
Spin Creative (SC): Let’s start at the beginning. How did Spin Creative come to fruition?
Matthew Billings (MB): I started Spin Creative in 2009 and my reason was simple: harness strategy and creative storytelling to advance brands and companies.
SC: That must have been difficult to branch out on your own and start from scratch. How did you make it work during such a tumultuous time?
MB: At that time, there was a lot of uncertainty about what clients could spend on advertising and marketing, but we started lean. Being scrappy and finding inventive ways to tell engaging, impactful stories despite not always having a huge amount of resources, resonated with clients.
SC: And Spin Creative’s namesake—how did that come about?
MB: Motion storytelling is at the heart of our agency and is our roots. “Spin” has several meanings like the “motion” related meaning –– but also it works on other levels. “Spin” also connotes making something by hand, thinking strategically and crafting a message that can have impact with an audience. Spin is all of those meanings, with a through line of creative. I love words that have layers because they can resonate on a more meaningful level with people.
SC: And Spin Creative’s motto “Story in Motion”—what does that mean to you?
MB: One of my favorite projects to-date, Treehouse’s “Doors of Opportunity” commercial, exemplifies why we do what we do. It’s gratifying when a story connects and moves an audience, and it’s a perfect example of “Story in Motion”. We designed a strategy after insight into the audience, crafted compelling moving imagery tied to a story that ultimately moved the audience into feeling an emotion. And the story was seen on TV, the web, social media and at in-person events so the story literally “moved” across channels. “Story in Motion” is the Treehouse commercial personified.
SC: What has been the most difficult/rewarding aspect of starting your own company and growing it to where it is today?
MB: Steve Jobs once said, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
The trick with focus for creative folks and companies, is building the right box with the right constraints that allow people to thrive, be innovative and create work that has impact. It’s a trial and error process but as long as we are always open to understanding when we misfire or make a mistake, we will continue to grow creatively and as an agency.