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Business Affairs and the Underside of the Iceberg

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Lakehouse Partners CEO Larry Byrne chats with Marcelle Gruman on what she brings to the Lakehouse team

Business Affairs and the Underside of the Iceberg

At Lakehouse Partners, we’ve assembled a highly experienced team of leaders to help guide our clients through the increasingly complex maze of content production. 

As the industry’s first management consultancy to focus on production, Lakehouse Partners is designed to work from 30,000 feet or in the weeds to help our clients achieve measurable gains in quality and efficiency when it comes to getting content planned, managed and produced.

An essential player in this mix is Marcelle Gruman. 

Marcelle brings extensive production experience to our team, with a special expertise in business affairs and talent payments. Prior to setting up her own company, MLG Talent Strategy & Consulting, she led the business affairs unit at The Team Companies and, before that, at such world class agencies as Element 79 and J. Walter Thompson. She’s been a Lakehouse partner since day one. 


Larry Byrne> What’s the best time to involve business affairs and why?

Marcelle Gruman> I think we’re needed at the outset. On almost any project, important questions need to be answered and, if our clients don’t know to ask them, we’ll ask on their behalf! Our goal is to anticipate any potential problems before they become actual problems.

What makes Lakehouse different from production consultants is that we elevate the details of business affairs to a more strategic level and include that insight right from the start. We then put actionable guideposts in place to help our clients avoid trouble spots. I always felt that business affairs should be at the table from the creative development phase which is why I went out on my own and it’s why I’ve now partnered with you, Paul, Francisco, Jason, Jeff and Jennifer and the rest of the Lakehouse team. I truly believe we’re innovators as individuals and, by working together, we provide a more holistic solution than anyone else.


Larry> What should advertisers and their agencies be focused on in today’s production environment?

Marcelle> We’re benefitting from a more streamlined way of working. That’s an irony of working remotely; we’ve become better about sharing! The need for good, strong business practices is important – and planning has never been more important. That’s especially true in this multichannel world, where the deliverables are spread across so many platforms, some that were just gaining traction before the pandemic. 

The recent announcement of tentative approval of a new SAG-AFTRA Commercials Contract is exciting as well, and will have broad implications for the industry.


Larry> From a process standpoint, how has the flow of information, knowledge and guidance changed?

Marcelle> It’s done so in some really profound ways. We’re seeing more direct, one-on-one collaboration between people who normally didn’t speak to each other in the past. There’s a greater level of trust and a deeper level of connection than before. Clients now know what their creatives’ living rooms look like. Interestingly, this trust has been built up during a time of great uncertainty and the need to constantly and quickly pivot. 

On a Zoom call everyone has the same size box! People that didn’t usually have a speaking role in the past, now have equal time, and this helps create a more diverse set of opinions and ideas. I call it the Great Emancipation, not the Great Resignation!


Larry> What’s unique about Lakehouse Partners?

Marcelle> I like to say we can see the underside of the iceberg! It’s often the issues you don’t see, and the questions that haven’t been asked, that cause the most headaches later. Given our team’s experience, we anticipate many of the pitfalls on a project and help steer clear of them: if you don’t think that’s important, ask anyone who was on the Titanic!

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Lakehouse Partners, Tue, 19 Apr 2022 15:42:05 GMT