Brew and a biscuit with…Sonal R . Patel

Charlotte McIntosh, Marketing Manager at MerchantCantos sat down for a virtual chat with Executive Producer and Partner, Sonal R . Patel to discuss storytelling and creativity, including how filming has changed over the last year. Read on for a couple of snippets from the conversation or, listen to the full podcast here.

CM: What do you think it is that makes MC so unique?

SP: First and foremost it’s the people. At MerchantCantos and at Brunswick I’ve never met more positive, brilliant, creative, focussed people and it's changed the way I work, the way I think about things, my outlook, and I’ve really built a family in the office of like-minded wonderful people. I love being there. For me, coming to work everyday hinges very much on the amazing people that we get to work with. I feel like our colleagues really live our values, in terms of being creative, collaborative, positive and attentive. I love being around others who have a unique, happy, joyful way of looking at the world. And, finding creative solutions for clients and doing it with such gusto. It’s why I’m still here.

CM: You mentioned the importance of creativity and how we work creatively for our clients, how do you inject this into your everyday?

SP: I’m inspired by stories. I’m inspired by people. I’m inspired by beautiful things. I’m inspired by music. And, as long as I’m making sure to have time for those things then I’m giving myself space and room to feel inspired and to bring creativity to the projects that I’m working on. For me, a lot of creativity rests on feeling joyful and inspired, but it is also about the ability to collaborate with my team and to have a give and take of ideas. That helps me find wonderful ways of bringing stories to life.

CM: You’ve been working on some really interesting projects this year, are there any that stand out for you the most?

SP: It's hard to pick one, every time I start a new project for a client I’m learning about a new sector, a nuance within a business or visiting a new city and meeting people I wouldn’t ordinarily meet. So, for me every project it's about seeing the world through the client's eyes and learning something new and different.  Sometimes it’s in projects you wouldn’t expect. I’m doing a lot of work with private equity clients, bringing alive their investments, which are often in businesses which do a variety of things across many different sectors; healthcare, retail, you name it.  This year especially I delivered a few films for a private equity client and working with their partners is particularly stimulating because they see opportunity and value and possibility in places that we don’t often think about. I love seeing their minds at work and being able to get them to tell stories that you wouldn’t have expected and its interesting because for people who don’t work closely with business that might sound boring. But a story is a story, and it's my job to deliver them in the most impactful way and, some of the stories that I get to tell are hugely exciting and thoughtful.

CM: How has the pandemic/covid affected your approach to filming?

 SP: In the first lockdown (which lasted a lot longer then we expected) we weren’t filming and that was very difficult but it also challenged us to come up with very creative solutions in how we make important business communications for clients. So we leveraged the virtual world as best as we could, we hosted a number of virtual events, we recorded interviews online, we used our global network to carry out filming where we were allowed, we virtually directed shoots, we leveraged other assets including stock footage and amazing graphics and animation from our team so that we have been able to keep making very important critical films at a time when everyone needs to communicate with their people. When we could film again the appetite from our clients to make films and tell their stories was very exciting.

Listen to the full podcast here:

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