In my role as President of The Ad Club, I’m lucky enough to meet some incredibly amazing and talented people. Recently, I reconnected with Bill Concannon, the cofounder of Pilot. Pilot is a brand consulting company that focuses on asset development for brands, intellectual properties, and consumer products. Bill and his team have created branding for the likes of Transformers, Angry Orchard, and Nike.
Most recently, Pilot was given the not-so-easy task of branding toys for the new Star Wars film. I sat down with Bill to hear about the steps that were taken to achieve success, how their marketing strategies were implemented, and learn about the future of Pilot.
KK: When you talk about storytelling, “Star Wars” is the ultimate brand to work on. But talk to me a little bit about another brand or some of the other brands where your method of storytelling has been effective.
BC: It’s important that you think about those new products, where there is no existing story and you have to develop that story. So projects like Angry Orchard, the adult cider, seeing it first as a packaging project but also creating that story of that orchard first so that everyone on our team could get into that head space and start thinking about characters that live within the Angry Orchard. It’s a great driver for graphics and illustration.
KK: When I look at “Star Wars,” I think of huge millennial audience, and a huge audience, period. But some of your brands like Angry Orchard and with Nike, you seem to be heading down a really nice path targeting and marketing to millennials. Do you see that as something you’ll focus on in the future and something you’ll make as part of your mission?
BC: Yeah, I think the good fortune for us is our method of storytelling leads to authentic brand expressions and authentic expressions in art. And I think that with the millennials, authenticity is at the forefront of what they care about. Consumers see that authenticity. You didn’t make it about yourself. You made it about the product.
KK: So what’s next for Pilot?
BC: The moon. We are just now hitting our stride and realizing that the storytelling method that we started has uses beyond just creating great art.
KK: Excellent. Well, thank you so much for sitting with me today.
BC: It’s truly been a pleasure
To see the entire interview with Bill Concannon of Pilot check out the Big Orange Couch. The Big Orange Couch is an ongoing series from The Ad Club where Kathy Kiely, President of The Ad Club, invites thought leaders and senior brand executives from across the country to sit with her and share their thoughts on the latest trends and innovations in business today, as well as personal stories on how they make it to the top of the corporate ladder. The Big Orange Couch features interviews with some of the top movers and shakers in marketing, branding, and beyond.