By Chris Kidd, Special for USDR
Radio Host Kevin Price, and Chris Kidd, Financial Coach and Contributor on the
Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in
Houston), interviewed Gil Haslam, who is the Creative Director with the
entertainment branding and marketing innovations agency Troika Design Group.
(Click here to listen to the interview)
Troika is responsible for much of the flashy, high-energy visual technology and branding we see in TV shows like Sports Center, CBS Thursday Night Football, and the new Charlotte Hornets Game Introduction. Price of Business Host, Kevin Price opened up the conversation by asking Gil Haslam about the name “Troika” and where it came from. Gil informed the audience that Troika came from a Russian term for a harness device for three horses. “Each one had a different discipline; one looks right, one looks left, one’s always looking straight ahead, and
the unison of all three working together created a more cohesive approach to
moving forward,” Haslam said.
Troika is in the business of entertainment and sports branding and marketing innovations. The company was founded by three partners (a producer and two creative directors) who had previously worked together.
“We’re an agency that really sees the world and the media landscape through the lens of ‘Entertain Change’ — that’s our kinda internal mantra that we walk by. We end up helping out brands. We’ve got different disciplines that we work through.”
Troika’s disciplines are Research and Insight, Brand Strategy, Creative, and Innovation. Gil Haslam added, “For us to easily understand what the products that come out of that is when you actually look at a 360 marketing campaign — where you really get immersed inside of what a brand launch would look like.”
One of Troika’s specialties is show packaging. Gil said, “We do a lot of show packaging, especially in the areas of sports. If you’ve ever watched Sunday Night Football, or Thursday Night Football, or one of my favorites is still the ESPN Sports Center. Anytime you tune in you’re seeing our product show up on the air, so that’s show packaging, and that can entail logo and identity work, so really what it, again going back to what it looks like and feels like. And a big part of our job too is to take a look at how sponsors are integrated in and around the shows and/or
the live events that we’re actually packaging and putting forward to the audiences.”
There are two sides of Troika’s business. One side is the Entertainment side, which comes from their core background in broadcast media. Some of examples of their work in this area are with a lot of the big entertainment broadcast properties like, Entertainment Tonight, the BET Awards, FOX, CW, A&E, Univision. Some of the new media groups that are starting to understand the need to entertain and moving into that space, like Hulu, Red Bull, and Amazon are also coming to Troika for help.
Haslam’s specialty is in the sports area, working with brands like ESPN Sports Center, Time Warner Cable, and teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Charlotte Hornets, and the Los Angeles Lakers. Chris Kidd asked Gil to talk about the Jaguar Stadium Experience that they have been involved in. Gil said, “Again if we look at the lens that we work through is ‘Entertain Change.’ The owner of the Jaguars really had a vision. And he said, ‘What happens if I created something here that the city of Jacksonville could really rally around?’ So he built these amazing screens,
two of the largest ones in the world, and to understand scale, one screen is longer than the length of the football field. Now wrap that on one end of the end zone and then duplicate it on the other end of the end zone, and there lies what we’ll call ‘the ability to tell a story.’” Knowing of Troika’s expertise of putting together show packaging and delivering experiences to fans, the Jaguars asked, “Troika how can you help us reimagine what a fan experience could be inside a stadium?”
Chris also asked about the uses or potential uses of the Oculus Rift in the sports world. Gil said, “Imagine if you show up at the stadium and you‘re sitting there in pre-game mode what happens if you want to be able to see the game from different perspectives? You can kind of find your own camera, you can drive a unique experience. If we’re at fan expos, we’re going to start to build out experiences at fan expos that it could feel like you could be inside of a Hall of Fame and being able to see yourself around those worlds and go back into the historic archives and video will roll.” As for Troika’s roll, Gil said, “Our roll right now is in our, we call them our ‘think tanks,’ is really pushing clients to think about how they could deepen fan engagement at live events.”
Haslam noted, “I think you’re seeing this spike of live events and people really jumping into it, so if we look at probably the latest emergence is boxing. Everybody’s in the fight game, before it was only a few people in it, now
everybody’s in the fight game.” Troika is currently working with HBO and Showtime on the Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao coming up on May 2. Chris Kidd asked if Troika was currently working with or had plans to work with the UFC or anyone in MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). Gil was not able to talk about what they were actually working on but he did say, “I think we’re in great proximity to the brand you just talked about, and talk about entertaining change —there’s going to be some amazing things happening in that world.”
He continued, “Once you have a great product, and it’s a live sports event, you just need to find the fans, move the fans up that avidity ladder, and introduce that sport to people who may not have seen it in a certain way.” That is where Troika comes in. They bring their expertise and experience to help their partners navigate
through the challenges of these transitions, so they can really drive and move the needle on their businesses.