New Moon: Caroline Rowland
Caroline Rowland can take some pride from the London 2012 Olympic bid - her startup firm provided the promotional film
You will have seen some of New Moon’s work, even if you don’t realise it – it was the company behind the London 2012 promotional film starring Matthew Pinsent and Sir Roger Moore. Founder, and managing director, Caroline Rowland started the business in 1997 with the intention of having a different approach to advertising and production. Since then, New Moon has grown and evolved, slowly but surely.
It was earlier this year that the company was asked to produce the promotional video for the London 2012 bid. Rowland commented that it was an amazing experience, as well as being a dream brief. London 2012 handed them a carte blanche to show London at its very best, which with complete co-operation from stars such as David Beckham and Dame Kelly Holmes, made the project a boost for the firm.
It was whilst working for J Walter Thompson, which is known as the university of advertising, that she decided she wanted more independence than the large company could give her. “I feel that I was inspired by the business [J Walter Thompson]… but I really felt like I wanted to do something where I could be a bit more influential in the final product.”
The thinking was that she wanted to focus on the television production process – her passion – and take charge, rather than being a very small cog in a very large wheel. Rowland says that it’s a very competitive business, and although she wasn’t sure about what target market she wanted, she knew it was all about film. “I was interested in putting together the building blocks of a brand, and how I wanted to be perceived,” she says.
“I felt that the area in which I historically worked, which was advertising and production, there are quite formulaic ways of doing something. It felt to me like there was a space for a more entrepreneurial and instinctively creative approach,” she explains. When Rowland originally started the company, she only aimed to make corporate films but it wasn’t long before she was getting advertising briefs.
There has long been an entrepreneurial streak to Rowland, with New Moon being her third business. Throughout university she ran an aerobics and personal training business, before setting up a sports PR business. It “was really marketing services for sports brands, and wrote newsletters, and made videos”. Sport was, and still is, a passion for her despite it being really only a sideline now: “I was always quite keen to combine my interest in marketing and advertising with sport”.
There was luck involved as well, when it came to raising finance, given that New Moon has grown organically. She says that, until recently, all of the profit New Moon made until now has been invested back into the company, so it grows as naturally as possible. “My opinion of banks is not positive when it comes to startups… It’s nigh on impossible to find finance in the early days,” Rowland comments.
She has plenty of other advice for new startups, particularly concerning marketing and advertising: “There is no substitute for getting to grips with what your brand is, as a start-up the best form of advertising is to be a walking, talking billboard for your company.”
But no company is without its regrets or difficulties. It’s “really important to find great people. HR is critical and you must show how each person is valuable to the company… and you don’t always want to find carbon copies of yourself.”
According to Rowland, “you need to be immensely tenacious, as well as to not get emotionally caught up”. This year promises to be a busy and exciting one for New Moon.