Our next SHIFTER Boss profile is on Common Media Group (CMG) founder, Lauren Campbell. Founded in February 2020, her full-service branding and communications agency builds, develops, and bridges the gap between brands and creatives. Her roster includes actors, artists, athletes such as Lamar Johnson, Anders, Unimerce, Patricia Jaggernauth, K. Forest, Jayd Ink, Nate Husser, Kennedy Rd, and more. She also manages the talents of singers and songwriters Pisceze and Shanuka. Lauren has managed PR projects for some of the top brands in the world including adidas, FIJI Water, Tommy Hilfiger, Hudson’s Bay, Estee Lauder, TIFF, and more.
Check out our full profile on Common Media Group (CMG) founder, Lauren Campbell.
SHIFTER: What inspired you to first get into the industry, and how long have you been at it?
Lauren Campbell: I had an eye for this industry since I was a young girl. Whether it was being a publicist or an agent, I was always intrigued by the position and its role within the industry. I would watch and listen to people like Kelly Cutrone, Karen Civil, and Scooter Braun, study their every move and what they did. That really contributed to my desire to be the person behind the scenes helping others to achieve the goals and status they strive for. It’s all really a creative strategy, picking the pieces out of a brand or individual to create a story that resonates with the masses, and that is something that I truly am passionate about. I started out in this industry about nine years ago, working summer internships and odd jobs at fashion shows, events, and concerts where they needed the extra help. I grew forward every year after my first large internship and haven’t looked back since.
SHIFTER: What inspired you to start your company?
Lauren: I was lucky to work with someone who was doing some major things within their industry and I would watch from the role I was in daily, learning how they built their business and their artist, and what it was like to be pushing the boundaries like them. During this same moment, I saw the avenues of all my experience and what I was passionate about blending, like the universe was showing me the lane and giving me the push at the same time. It was truly the people around me, those I worked among and with at the time that knew what I was doing who gave me that final push of inspiration.
When COVID-19 hit, I really didn’t have a secured position anywhere and was working alongside just a couple of creatives, brainstorming ways they could maneuver around the pandemic and ideas they could action to cement their voice to the public on matters that were important to them. I knew my passion for wanting to help push the needle in whatever capacity within my network and I thought about it for a bit, then one day said “if not now, when?”. I wrote down all the avenues of experience I had, from PR, event management, brand partner management, and even music marketing strategy that was accumulated and created a pillar structure of the services we could truly offer our clients at CMMN. I was inspired to integrate more artists and creatives into the digital marketing space and focus to push the stories of the many talented individuals we have in the north.
I knew building something up during this time and the niche I was trying to force within the Canadian market would be difficult, but this challenge also inspired me to really get started and jump.
SHIFTER: What are some of the things you look for in working with a new talent? What are some of the things that stand out to you?
Lauren: When onboarding new talent, I look for the story they stand behind – what is unique about their story and what they wish to project into the masses. The first question I often ask talent is who their audience is and to describe their fan base. I think it is important, just as it is in business, to know your consumer. The more you know about those you are trying to reach the better you are able to strategize on how to touch them. Someone with a strong voice and individuality that stands strong is something that really stands out to me, I love writing a story or connecting an audience to those who I feel can really push the needle of change through their craft.
SHIFTER: What does your job look like week to week, and what do you like most about what you do?
Lauren: My week to week consists of many phone calls, meetings/zoom meetings, and emails. Each week and day to be honest is different and can change incredibly quickly. I work around 14 hours a day and my mind has to be in the best headspace to switch from one talent/story to the next almost naturally. There are days where I will be on the road working from a studio, as I manage singer-songwriter Pisceze also, and there are days where I don’t change out of my pajamas… Haha. My phone rarely leaves my hand and I am lost without my Google Calendar or to-do list. It can sound pretty hectic to many, but it is very thrilling and I wouldn’t change a thing.
What I love about what I do is I work with some of the most inspirational and ambitious creatives who on the daily are coming up with ways to do better for not only themselves – but those around them. The passion they have for their craft and the strength they have to share it with the world is admirable. I am blessed to be given the opportunity to truly help people through my services.
SHIFTER: What keeps you motivated in times when you face challenges or things aren’t moving as fast as you’d like?
Lauren: Faith and family. My team is really my rock; they are my family so I have a responsibility to take care of them, grow them, and lead them. Every Sunday we have our weekly status calls where I have everyone take a moment to acknowledge what it is that they are grateful for. When things are not moving as fast as we hoped or we are facing challenges, especially when we have others’ careers in our hands, it is easy to become frustrated or overwhelmed. This activity helps us to stay grounded and grateful for where we have come. I teach them to love challenges rather than fear them. Then I take a step back and I re-evaluate the steps taken and remap out another way that may work. Building anything comes with trial and error and I believe that if you can see the error, another path is always foreseen. There is never one option.
SHIFTER: What has been your experience as a woman in the industry?
Lauren: I work with a lot of great men who uplift me and inspire me each day. Being in this industry as a female on the business side, there have been times where I have been put in a box, used for others’ gains, told not to speak up, and lead into corners I had to maneuver out of. I believe in being yourself in every situation and knowing when to speak up for what you want, regardless if it intimidates the men in the room. Learning how to control the conversation and standing strong in our boundaries is how we continue to not be set back by negative experiences. The path may be tough, but the barriers we break as women are sweet, have fun with it! Hard work will always be respected, but you cannot expect everyone to validate that. We must feel valid within ourselves, confident in what we offer, and celebrate with each table turned.
SHIFTER: What advice would you give to a young woman wanting to get into the business side of the industry?
Lauren: Follow your intuition and never lose sight of the bigger picture or woman you aspire to be. Take on any roles or jobs, even if they don’t seem to be appealing to you at that moment. It is important to be multifaceted and you never know where one opportunity will lead. It is easy to get caught up in the doubt within yourself when you are surrounded by others that may not understand your path, or who overlook you while you are still in the learning stages of where you are headed. Try to always have a mind of your own, trust what you bring to the table, and keep your faith in the process. It’s also important to celebrate every success no matter how small it may appear to you.
SHIFTER: What does being a “boss” mean to you?
Lauren: Being a boss is being a leader. I don’t like the sound or look of a hierarchy. I believe in a team. To be a boss is to be the leader of your team. They are patient, dedicated, and optimistic. A boss leads by example, they make things happen in the shadows, and their door is always open to aid and inspire those who surround them.