By Caron Kemp
Aged 18 and armed with two A-levels and nine GCSEs to his name, Daniel Martin decided to turn his passion for television into a job, finding himself a role as a runner for a post-production company in London’s Soho.
In the 20-year career that followed, Martin boasted clients including MTV, Cartoon Network and Channel 4 to name but a few (and plenty of the less boastful all-nighters, no lunch breaks and stressful days), which led him to establish the first of his businesses – Loft London – as a nod to all he had learnt.
Yet, a naturally creative individual, the 38-year-old Shenley United Synagogue member still felt something was missing from his repertoire and, in 2013, his successful venture, Mench, was born.
Specialising in making branded content, the 10-strong team that operates from offices just a stone’s throw away from Abbey Road Studios in St John’s Wood, creates commercials, promos and brand films.
In its relative infancy, the business has produced content for some major household names including Bacardi, Persil, BT and 888casino. “The traditional broadcasters now have huge competition from the online players and brands realise that engaging, visual content will give them the edge over their competitors,” explains Martin.
“One of the major challenges they face is how to get premium content created for a reasonable price and I knew this was possible to do. Long gone are the days of advertising agencies charging fortunes for content creation being your only option.
“Well-considered content with a high production value is very achievable and that’s what Mench does and that’s why our clients keep coming back to us.”
With every client and every brief bringing something different to the table, campaigns can last from a week to six months. “The one thing in common is how collaborative the process is,” Martin conveys.
“Recently, we made three films for a jewellery company in Hatton Garden called Arlington & Co. It is an amazing business as its focus is so driven by quality of product and service and everything it sells is made in-house.
“This is quite unique in that sector of retail and something that the company wanted its clients to experience before they visited the shop. “The company’s craftsmanship really came across in the films and they were surprised at how their day-to-day business operations came to life on film.
“The most enjoyable part about working with them was bringing a new dimension to their business – quite a challenge with a 50-year established independent carrying a super-strong brand, but very satisfying nevertheless.”
But in an era where the creative industries are in full bloom, what sets Mench apart from the crowd?
“We are not reinventing the wheel, but we like to think we are specialists in our field,” Martin admits. “Plus, we treat our clients the way we want to be treated. A lot of companies really miss the point; it is all about the service.” With big plans for the future, Martin hopes to grow the brand and widen its proposition, whereby it becomes a communications agency specialising in creating “beautiful” content. “Working closely and collaboratively with our clients to get the most out of their campaigns is key,” he concludes.
“We don’t just want to make it; we ask them why it is being made, who they want to see it and where they want it to go. “This takes it to another level where we are making and communicating and this is the future for the business. I think it is a very exciting and relevant proposition.” For Martin, though, his home life underpins it all. “My wife and two children are my first priority and always will be,” he says. “Perspective on work life versus home life is the key to success and the ability to keep a sense of balance.”
So what advice would Martin give to others wanting to break into the industry?
“I am proud of everything we do,” he says. “If I wasn’t happy with something, it wouldn’t leave the building until it was right. As much as service is key, quality and delivery of product is also fundamental. “Also, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I have definitely had more failures than successes, but the key is not to repeat them.”
You would be forgiven for thinking that Martin’s choice of business name was a conscious affirmation, albeit in Yiddish, of his good character. However, Mench derived from more humble beginnings. “A lot of names were anonymously put into a hat and this was the last one out,” he explains.
“I still don’t know who came up with it, but we all knew it was the one for us as soon as we heard it – albeit suggestions before it such as ‘Bunny versus Shark’ and ‘No Cheese Before Bed’ made it an easier decision!”
• For more information, visit www.mench.co.uk