The world is now digital and digital is Ben Pawson’s ‘Cadence Talent’
The world is now digital and with it, there was an avalanche of new formats and platforms that came to challenge the conceptions we had as a society.
One of those changes was caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, which just this May 5, after 3 years, one month, and 24 days, has come to an end, according to the World Health Organization.
At that time, when many closed their doors, many others plucked up the courage to start from scratch and from confinement. This is the case of Ben Pawson, Director of Cadence Talent. A talent agency for content creators, because they are, without a doubt, the new faces of entertainment, that has emerged as the hottest agency for cutting-edge creators and global brands. Wielding a reach of 150 million people, and racking up 45 global talents over three continents — Cadence Talent hasn’t come to play.
HELLO BEN, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY’S APPROACH, CADENCE TALENT, TO TALENT MANAGEMENT?
Cadence Talent’s approach is inclusive and 360. We work with all types of creators that include cosplayers, fashion supermodels, LGBTQ creators, people of colour, and individuals with disabilities. Our relationship with our creators is very hands-on where we speak with them on an hourly basis. We like to act as managers vs agents and provide a full 360 service from dressing, gifting, global trips, press, verification, brand deals, and accessing different verticals, etc.
HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU LOST YOUR JOB DURING THE PANDEMIC AND HOW WAS THE PROCESS THAT LED YOU TO CREATE THIS COMPANY?
I felt lost at the beginning, then welcomed the time it allowed me to rethink my next steps. Over lockdown, I kept extremely active and created a spreadsheet of every contact I knew across multiple verticals. I called 5 of these a day which gave me a great understanding of the market landscape. This pushed me into the Tik Tok space as it seemed like the most lucrative and progressive sector.
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT TO SUCCEED IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY?
Social networking, being personable, obtaining access, hustling instinct, and being able to set up a meeting with anyone, from anywhere at any given time.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT THE TALENT YOU REPRESENT ARE SATISFIED WITH THE DEALS THAT ARE NEGOTIATED ON THEIR BEHALF?
We push for the best price based on the deliverables and usage required. As long as this is fair then the talent is satisfied. Pricing especially on Tik Tok varies massively from savvy socially led brands to conglomerates new to the space. Therefore, most creators are flexible and open to compromise if the brand is the right fit.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU HAVE FACED AS AN ENTREPRENEUR IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?
People not seeing the value of influencers, especially luxury brands and old-fashioned pr agencies. Cadence overcame this challenge by not taking no for an answer and finding any means possible to get our talent into high-profile events or persuade the brand teams to work with our talent by patiently checking in every few months. If one pr agency said no, we would approach the brand direct, the DJ playing the event or the production agency behind the event to add our roster onto the guests’ list. Their presence at these high-profile events increased the creator’s brand credibility for future paid work.
HOW DO YOU SELECT THE TALENTS YOU REPRESENT AND WHAT CRITERIA DO YOU USE TO MAKE THAT DECISION?
We are very open and inclusive in our selection. We base our criteria on engagement, which is their CPM count (price per thousand views) and whether they would appeal to brands within our main verticals – fashion, beauty, luxury & tech.
WHAT HAS BEEN CADENCE TALENT’S BIGGEST SUCCESS SO FAR, AND WHAT MAKES IT SO SPECIAL?
Transitioning from working with fast fashion brands into major luxury houses. What makes this so special is how Cadence molded the creators over a period through dressing, event placement, and brand loyalty building.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT YOUR TEAM IS MOTIVATED AND COMMITTED TO THE OBJECTIVES OF THE COMPANY?
Cadence implements a healthy commission structure, and we meet regularly for team-building sessions.
WHAT ARE THE FUTURE PLANS FOR CADENCE TALENT AND HOW DO YOU PLAN TO STAY RELEVANT IN SUCH A CHANGING INDUSTRY?
Hire internally, bringing on board a senior talent manager, and then expand the creator roster, focusing on luxury and beauty sectors.
Dressed by: Wales Bonner
Photography by: Jimi Herrtage
Location: Photographed in the show Land’s End by Andreas Schulze at Sprüth Magers, London
Copyright Andreas Schulze / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Courtesy Sprüth Magers
Special thanks: Grace Wales Bonner, Jessica Draper, & PR Consulting