No business is invincible. When Covid hit the industry, Ryan Hall from Territory Studio saw businesses big and small crumble under the weight of a scary societal crisis – but it was also a chance to reconnect with the industry's inner self, to find our true essence and realise what we truly stand for. And somehow, we feel like Territory Studio has come out of the pandemic stronger than it ever was.
Ryan is a natural salesman and, as such, his job is to help generate constant revenue for an incredibly ambitious production studio. Looking at Territory's extensive portfolio, we can confidently say he's doing a commendable job.
Today we are Getting To Know Ryan Hall, Chief Growth Officer at Territory Studio, to learn everything about his beautiful and hugely ambitious production studio.
Tell us a bit about your role! What is one typical day like?
My role is focused on the growth of the business, doing everything from making sure that our value proposition is clear and underpins all of the work we do. I do a lot of strategy creation for the various strands of the business which vary considerably with one half focused on Entertainment, Film, TV production and Gaming and the other focused on Digital Product and Service.
From a day-to-day perspective the role is very much about leading the team, ensuring we are close to the pipeline, working on opportunities and building on existing and new relationships with clients with the ultimate goal driving greater fame and fortune for Territory Studio.
What was the biggest challenge in getting to your current position?
For me, the biggest challenge is in generating revenue and market awareness. It’s a super tough thing for service businesses to do and if you can get that machine working then you’re in a good place. The hard part is, it’s never easy regardless of the business or sector you are in.
Every business has its high and lows and another challenging aspect for me was staying true to what I am good at and implementing that into my work. In general, bringing sales and marketing together under one strategy is always a challenge but is something that has helped keep me ambitious in what I want to achieve.
What is your personal background and what role did it play in your career?
My first job was as a waiter in a pizza restaurant, and it provided a fundamental grounding for a future career in the service industry. From the ages of 14 – 21, I worked in a family-owned restaurant in the Northeast of England. Lessons it taught me that have remained invaluable even as I progressed in my career include how to read people, understanding what customers really want, and how to manage dissatisfaction before it becomes an insurmountable problem.
The experience laid the foundations for a career that centres on customer experience and relationship building. I would argue that experience in the service industry would be useful for any young person regardless of their next steps or career aspirations.
What is your biggest career-related win? What is your biggest loss?
Biggest win for me was with Deutsche Bank, embedding ourselves as their digital change partner within wealth and asset management. It was not only a huge deal financially, but it was also the scale of what we were doing that was a really defining moment for me. Second to that would be working with Channel 4, building a client relationship with them and helping launch their 4oD service on the iPad way back when that was a difficult and innovative thing to do.
The biggest loss would probably be losing Alphabet as a client, they’re part of BMW group and we were beaten to the punch on by Ustwo. It was a huge deal that would have been transformational for our business at the time, we invested lots of time and effort into trying to win it. Although the experience didn’t end in the positive way we wanted, it definitely proved a lesson for me in the years that followed.
What’s your secret to remain inspired and motivated?
I’ma natural salesperson so I live for the thrill of the chase. That feeling will never leave me, it has always kept me interested, focused and hungry to do more and achieve as much as possible wherever I am in my career.
Which individuals and/or agencies do you gain inspiration from?
I mean without sounding biased, and I know I am going to, I would have said Territory Studio. I’ve admired them and been a big fan of so much of their work for a long time, even before I joined them so to be able to say I am now a part of the team is an extremely proud achievement.
I would also have to say one of my biggest heroes within the industry is Tarek Nselr who I worked with at EPAM, whose energy and work ethic, strategic vision and bandwidth to get stuff done really does blow me away.
How has COVID-19 affected you?
Well luckily for me I haven’t had it so that’s a good start. Mindset wise it has been a big reminder that no business is invincible. I’ve seen some big, established businesses take a beating over the past 12 months and I think it’s a big reminder to always consider the human aspect of what I and other business leaders are trying to do. The one thing that will always win over is the relationships and trust that businesses share with their employees, customers and clients. It’s this trust that will help businesses pull through at the end of all this and it’s something that I am hugely aware of. I’ve consistently tried to keep a big part of what I have been doing.
What is your biggest hope for 2021?
That it isn’t a terrible sequel to 2020.
What is your one piece of advice to aspiring creative professionals?
Ego gets you nowhere and What goes around comes around.
How do you recharge away from the office?
At the moment, with a recent addition to the family I’m in a very ‘eat, sleep, work, family time, repeat’ kind of mode so that’s a difficult one to answer and lockdown definitely hasn’t helped with balancing work and life.
I have also recently moved out of London, so I’m looking forward to getting out and exploring my local area. I love getting out on my bike so there will be a good opportunity to do both of those things which will really help break that mental fatigue.
I have been on a good few snowboarding holidays and other trips that require you to take part in something else. I really find that helps my brain focus on not worrying or thinking about work, so more of those would be great too.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
I love the industry I am in now and I really do think that if I wasn’t in it I would be working towards it.
What’s your one big dream for the future of the industry?
A big hope of mine is that the independents win out, there are some really great independent businesses out there and I would love to see them holding more of the power.
Do you have any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
‘The Hard thing about hard things’ by Ben Horowitz and ‘The No rules rules’ by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer are both great reads. They discuss culture and how you deal with establishing values and principles which are key elements in helping make a business tick, both have been invaluable for me and I couldn’t recommend them enough.