Angela Wei of Milk Agency discusses today’s creative content landscape

Angela Wei, Managing Director at New York City’s Milk Agency, recently participated in a wide-ranging podcast interview on Content is Your Business. She was interviewed by Lisa Berger, Edward Hertzman, and Dalia Strum.

In the interview, Angela Wei of Milk Studios explains how the agency is a platform for creative content and expression. As a multi-armed organization, Milk Agency can serve many different aspects of the creative community. 

Milk Agency’s expertise lies in creative collaboration. Bringing together ideas from marketing, advertising, event production, and consumer products, the agency is a valuable partner in getting its clients’ messages across.

The history of Milk Agency

Milk Studios is a full-service creative facility that was founded 20 years ago in the Meatpacking District of New York City. Milk Studios was one of the first fully independent photo studios in the area. Milk Studios was not just a place to stage photo shoots, but a platform for creative content.

Today, the agency comprises a studio, creative agency, services like casting and post-production, a gallery, a website, and a makeup line. Its complex ecosystem developed organically. Its services have evolved along with its content.

Milk Makeup, the newest arm of the agency, is a well-regarded premium brand. The development is done in-house. The makeup is sold online and through a partnership with brick-and-mortar store Sephora.

Angela’s background

Angela Wei’s background is in advertising and marketing. She was an early employee at Razorfish. She worked on digital consulting and innovation, which led her into advertising. She has been focused on production as well as the creative side at various points in her career.

In her early career, she worked at Heavy, a startup whose goal was to compete with YouTube. This company did not last, but Wei received important lessons from working there.

One of Wei’s strengths is her experience in seeing content from all angles. Her early work on developing major websites played into her work at legacy media companies like Time Inc.

Angela Wei understands the relationship between “new-school” and old-school content, and the complex relationship between companies and their content. Coming from the ad world, she knows how to hire a director to make a good commercial or how to hire a fashion photographer.

Today’s content landscape

Today, “snackable” content is king. People look at their phones hundreds of times a day, absorbing bits of digital information. This is a huge departure from how people interacted with digital media in the early 2000s, where people were generally seated at a laptop or desktop PC.

In today’s content model, information can be thought of as a molecule streaming past the viewer. Content should be the key to developing a media strategy. Companies talk about this a lot, but not all companies have done it. Wei believes that the landscape will continue to shift toward content, with the company’s brand as the publisher.

Content has been used in various ways to support marketing. In the past, clickbait sites evolved to drive ad revenue. Today, businesses are going affiliate, and it’s difficult to know what content is genuine and what is sponsored.

Brand development

Big media houses like the major ad agencies keep their integrity and trust. Younger people in their 20s and 30s like brands and logos, while older people in their 40s distrust brands and brand names.

Wei sees a culture of transparency and value change between the consumer and the brand. Young employees are excited to associate themselves with brands. Since digital media has created a dialogue and changed the landscape, one person has a voice that can change a large brand.

One of the components of a brand in today’s digital landscape is the influencer. Milk Makeup has become well-known as a brand thanks to influencers on YouTube, so they have expanded their reach to the suburban consumer.

How does this shift apply to basic household brands? Aggregates of smaller brands are beginning to chip away at the large brands’ revenues.

Brands that are adapted to today’s conditions include experiential marketing in their toolbox. It may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a full-page ad in a major newspaper, but it only costs $10,000 to open a storefront on a temporary or pop-up basis. Creating an experience can be done around the world.

How brands can adapt

Collaboration can help brands reach the highest level. Collaboration can influence how you operate and communicate. This foundation is often disconnected. Many companies do not use their brand to the fullest; they focus on what will make them the most money.

Milk Agency is a good example of how branding can influence a company’s actions. They form their strategies from the inside out, making gut decisions based on their brand of emerging culture and creativity. Since Milk is so connected to the culture, it can use a quick and agile planning process.

Advice for listeners

In the interview, Angela Wei offers advice for listeners in the industry. She tells listeners that it is okay to be uncomfortable. Challenge comes from discomfort. People today can find information on the internet and then decide that they don’t want to experience things themselves.

60% of teens believe that they are experts simply because they have consumed digital content on their favorite topics. Just because you love something like movies or social media, that doesn’t qualify you to make a film or to become a social media strategist. You need a deeper kind of engagement.

The future of all content is branded, whether directly or indirectly. If the content is good, that’s the only thing that matters. All content is produced by brands, and content is your business.

Angela Wei of Milk Studios is interested in connecting with modern marketers who are interested in the intersection of marketing and culture.