Makers at Heart | Mill CEO Josh Mandel on what inspired him to join the business and why he believes creators should partner with The Mill

Mandel shares what inspired him to join the business and why he believes creators should partner with The Mill
Community February 12, 2021

As a former client of The Mill, what inspired you to join the business back in 2019?

The Mill has always been a place you come to when you can’t settle. When you’re looking to do the work that can define your career, or in the biggest moments for your brand, The Mill is always on that shortlist of creative partners. I’ve always loved The Mill’s creative ambition, it’s energizing.


What is the absolute essence of our world-class reputation? Why should a client work with us?

I think it’s summed up in our line “we create the extraordinary.” Our creative ambition is huge, and the bar we set for ourselves is incredibly high. You can see in marquee moments like World Cups or Super Bowls, Holiday Season or CES. Agencies and brands come to us when they need their work to really work. When creativity is the deciding factor.


Brands want good ‘ROI’ on their marketing spend – why should they invest in expensive creative production?

Well, I don’t think they’re investing in expensive creative production as much as they are investing in talent and the creative excellence that comes from talent. Brands that want their messages to matter – that want to achieve ROI – know that creativity is the most important factor. It doesn’t matter if an algorithm delivers your story to an audience with precision if that story is mediocre in idea or execution. Big ideas executed extraordinarily well are how you impact culture and drive real ROI.


How are client briefs changing?

Client briefs, like everything in our world and industry, are becoming more diverse in problems and desired solutions. There are myriad things we can make to drive someone’s business, and the solutions aren’t as simple as when we were only dealing with a few channels of expression. It’s such a fun time to be at The Mill, because we can help someone decide the right marketing action, and then go make that thing happen. With The Mill there’s no gap between idea and execution.


When are we (The Mill) at our best?

When answers are unclear. Don’t get me wrong, I think we’re exceedingly good when the ask is direct – for instance, to make a stadium feel full of a hundred thousand people, or imagine a VR environment to push the cultural narrative of a program. But we really show the power of our people when there’s a space between the ask and the execution, and we need to figure out how to bring that desire to life.


What characterizes or defines a Mill employee?

Curiosity mixed with a really, really high bar for execution. There’s a line about craft…”a work is never done, you just stop working on it.” And The Mill is known for people who are always asking how they can make things better, and then doing it until it’s time for the work to go live.


Why is Diversity, Equity & Inclusion important to The Mill?

We believe that there’s always been a convenient fiction with corporations, the idea that a business can somehow operate separate and distinct from the culture in which it exists. While this might work to the benefit of the company, it never works to the benefit of its talent.

Values are important because they create a shared sense of truth. Our people need to know, each day, what The Mill believes and what we stand for. We believe that diversity drives creativity. Differing backgrounds, ideas, and views circled around a problem drive impactful creative solutions. We know it in our guts, and there are too many studies from many industries that tell us the same thing. So for The Mill, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion values are the same as our creative ambitions, they set a high watermark for how we operate as a creative company.


Check out our Makers At Heart | The people behind the projects campaign, where we get to know the people behind the projects. If you’d like to get in touch with Josh you can reach out here.