A decade after it was founded, Night Owl Cinematics (NOC) is pivoting from an influencer-led company to a content-driven one. Alongside this shift is a new website that the company recently launched with the aim of becoming a 360-degree content hub.
In an interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Singaporean YouTuber and co-founder of Night Owl Cinematics (NOC), Sylvia Chan (pictured), said the decision was made after she came under the spotlight last year for reportedly using slurs and mistreating employees. This led to brands including Colgate and MILO Singapore distancing themselves from her and Chan was also removed from NOC's lineup of artistes. However, the crisis gave her time and space to rethink NOC's position and decide what areas the team wants to double down on.
“The crisis actually allowed me to rethink what is meaningful to myself and for the organisation, and what we really want to bring to the table for our clients, for our community, as well as our creators, moving forward,” she added. As a result, she decided to pivot NOC to become more content-led, adding:
We want to be more content-led. We want to be an incubator of ideas and be creators of meaningful content. The team is aligned on this new direction.
The pandemic also had a part to play in the pivot, said Chan as the firm realised that content-led services were higher in demand over the past two years. NOC's revamped website outlines the services it offers from video production, graphic design and photography, to streaming, social media amplification and management, as well as sound engineering.
Listen to the podcast here to catch more of the exclusive interview.
"COVID-19 really opened up our headspace to think more about meaning and purpose and seek more intentional work compared to 'busy work'. We want to spend time doing more impactful content, content that will be stronger and sharper in terms of messaging," Chan explained. This direction will also trickle down to the clients NOC chooses to work with, and as such, the team will seek out clients that are have a "more conscious, more intentional messaging".
Among the clients that NOC has worked with in the past include National Youth Council, Grab, and AirAsia. Chan said the government agencies NOC has been working with have been pushing out messages around "good society and community" as well as mental health. Moving forward, NOC wants to focus on other areas such as entrepreneurship and start-ups.
Amidst the direction pivot, NOC has retained its core team and now has close to 30 employees. The company is honing employees' skillsets through internal training and mentorship. According to Chan, the first step for NOC is to expand its offerings from videography to journalism, before moving on to photography and others. For instance, NOC’s F&B arm, Food King has launched a new directory, along with written pieces.
Collaboration one of the keys to success
Aside from the change in direction, collaboration will also be a huge focus for NOC moving forward. According to Chan, NOC did not have many external collaborations previously since it mainly produced influencer-led content. However, she believes that collaboration is the key to taking NOC to greater heights and it plans to work with agencies to "find synergy to do something better".
NOC has also received opportunities to network with companies in the content space in Thailand and Los Angeles. One such example would be its partnership with Gushcloud which would allow NOC to expand its international reach, given the former's international presence. "We will be exposed to a lot more markets, data points and different content as we collaborate with these partners. You can now look forward to NOC being faster to pivot and more agile," Chan said but declined to provide more details on the partnership. At the same time, while NOC has eyes on international expansion, Chan has yet to decide on specific markets.
The goal to collaborate began last year when Chan faced backlash from netizens who criticised her for ill-treating employees. An anonymous blog and TikTok account also surfaced, releasing allegations about the inner workings of NOC and Chan's treatment of employees during meetings. NOC later hit back, stating that the bullying allegations about Chan were "a massive crusade" against the public image and reputation of NOC and its employees.
Despite this challenging period, Chan said she felt "very loved and supported by the industry". According to her, various brands and agencies began reaching out last year for collaboration opportunities. "The paradox is a crisis really brings about opportunities, otherwise I really wouldn't have connected with all these knowledgeable industry people. They reached out and told me to stay strong and talked about collaboration plans for 2022," she explained.
Chan also noted one interesting aspect of NOC's pivot, which is that those that used to be its competitors now stand before the company as potential collaborators. "We are ready to bring our skillsets and expertise to the table and are open to working with any brands, agencies or even content hubs," she added.
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