“I really just love storytelling”: a talk with Kristal Felea, Banfield’s Executive Producer

Since dreaming of making movies as a child, Kristal Felea has always loved video. Now, after seven years at Banfield, she’s finally returning to her roots.

Kristal, a Banfield partner, recently took on a new role as Banfield’s Executive Producer, where she’ll be overseeing the video team and helping manage their projects from conception to completion.

We talked to Kristal about her new position, her plans to help build Banfield’s video department, and the next big trends in video marketing.

Tell us a little bit about your time at Banfield.

Kristal Felea: I’ve been at Banfield for about seven years now. I come from a video production background — previously, I was at a small motion graphics design studio as its in-house production manager. When I came to Banfield, we had just started building out our video team. There wasn’t necessarily a need for my video experience at the time, so I was brought in as a Project Manager to manage a client’s website.

I worked on that account almost exclusively for five and a half years, starting out as a Project Manager and then becoming the Account Director. That role exposed me to a lot of things I otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to, especially since my background isn’t in marketing or advertising. I now have a solid foundation in marketing communications, especially at a corporate level.

I became a partner in 2014, and as of this January, I’m Banfield’s Executive Producer — a new role in the company.

How do you see the Executive Producer position adding value to the Banfield video team?

KF: Our video department has grown a lot over the years, and video has become a large component in a lot of what we do. We deal with a lot of video-first projects, but also a lot of projects where video is used as an additional tactic in a larger campaign. We have a lot on the go at all times.

Video has a unique workflow, and it takes some time to understand what that creative development process is. An executive producer is the connection point between the people developing the creative and the people executing on that vision. They help bring strategy and creative together through video production, and make sure we’ve got the technical functionality and capabilities to deliver on these bold creative ideas.

With my new position, I want to support Ryan Grevatt, our Director of Video and Motion Graphics, so that instead of handling budgets and schedules, he and the team are able to fully focus on the execution and creative development. They’re very talented.

Why are you excited to take on this new role? What motivates you?

KF: For me, this role is a chance to get back to my roots and my passion. It’s my comfort zone — I thrive in that setting. Whether it’s on-set or a project we’re working on in-house, I love being a part of that. It’s also a great opportunity to elevate the quality of our work and strive towards setting a strong reputation for our capabilities in the industry.

I love creating and being involved in telling stories in a unique and engaging way. Video has always been that medium for me. I’m very excited about the future and leveraging the full potential of the skill sets our video team has to offer. It’s a great team, and I’m so happy to get to work with the talented individuals in that department. But at the end of the day, I really just love storytelling and the opportunities video presents for that.

How do you feel your role will shape Banfield’s video department?

KF: I’m hoping my role will bridge the gap between ideation and execution, primarily in terms of helping to identify new possibilities for connecting with different audiences. I know Ryan has a strong vision for how he sees the department evolving, and I want to work with him to ensure that vision moves forward in the best possible light. I want to support the department in terms of expanding our capabilities, our experience and what we can bring to the table.

Also, recent staff changes resulted in a video team that’s currently all male. So I’m hoping I can bring a diverse viewpoint as a woman to help add some new perspective and challenge ideas along the way to enhance and strengthen our work moving forward.

How is Banfield adapting to the growing demand for video in marketing?

KF: Over the last couple of years, video has been a growth area for Banfield and the demand for it has been increasing year over year. It’s been huge!

A lot of how we’re moving forward is strategically looking at the platforms where our audiences are consuming video content, and tailoring experiences to those platforms. Social has been big, and it’s created a demand for live video, like Facebook Live or Periscope. So, now more than ever, we’re ensuring that the video department works closely with our digital and social media teams to make those the best experiences we can in a way that’s effective and blends seamlessly with our digital strategies.

Another big thing is making sure we have workflows in place that allow us to develop and upload content quickly. Timeliness is a huge component in marketing, and if you miss the moment to publish something or push something out, it can completely break the piece that you’re working on.

How do you see video evolving within the marketing industry over the next few years?

KF: I see it growing substantially. The demand for mobile platforms and devices has created a huge opportunity. It’s changed the way we consume content in a lot of ways. With video specifically, that change makes it more accessible — especially for brands.

I think building video into other user experience strategies is going to be pretty big for brands. It’ll mean more live and on-demand content, particularly with social media. We’ll probably see more platforms that allow for live video streaming in content. The use of 360-degree video is also growing on social. I think it’s here to stay and I think we’ll definitely see more of that, especially as it becomes easier to leverage for live events.

I think there are also a lot of opportunities for different advancements in the tech field, like artificial intelligence (AI). Once we’re able to couple video products and assets within those ecosystems, I think interactive content and interactive video will be a huge thing. Right now, we have holograms, like with Prince at the Super Bowl, and I think there may be an opportunity in mixing advanced AI with things like that — let’s say, a holographic Alexa or a holographic Siri. It’ll be cool to look for opportunities in the future where we can mix some of these emerging technologies together.

What’s something we might be surprised to find in your new office?

KF: I have so many things! For one, I have a little green army dude with a parachute. It’s a keepsake from our friends down at iDirect Government. We helped them with their rebrand and launch of their new 9-Series product line. As a promo item for a product launch we helped with, they handed out little green army men, and so I have one of those as a little memento of our work with them.

I also have toilet paper from Russia! In 2013, we went to Russia to help produce a conference, and I was so impressed by the toilet paper there — it’s like cashmere! So after the event, Kate Christensen, the event planner, sent me a little handwritten thank-you note on a piece of toilet paper from Russia. I still have that in my drawer.

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