David Eustace

Speaker Q&A with David Eustace

Amplify 2024

Can you share how your background as a prison officer influenced your journey into the creative industries, and how craftsmanship played a role in that transition?

Irrelevant of what you do, the measure of who you are, comes from within, as does the desire to explore life and all it offers, never fear this. Attention to detail is paramount. In a prison environment your life or that of other’s may depend on it and I guess that never leaves you. Be aware of the detail but appreciate the bigger picture.

In the Prison Service the daily issues you came across few could imagine in a work environment and the task was not only problem solving but seeking to find the causes not the symptoms and that translates to most things.

Common factors remain irrelevant of occupation:

1. Listen to others, you will likely learn more from those you initially disagree with.
2. Practise what you preach and set the highest standards you can but appreciate other’s may not.
3. Have an opinion …it’s of great value but make sure it’s respectful and open to change.

How would you define ‘craft’ in the context of marketing, and why is it important to celebrate it in today's digital age?

Start by giving people belief and not bullshit …most know the difference.

Content for content’s sake is surface. Time is precious so make the most of it.

Offer emotions or at least try to do interesting, people wish to learn, love, and laugh.

I’m also not convinced simply giving customers what they want and already know is the best method for forming a longer-term relationship (unless selling MacDonalds that is).

No matter how well you research another your understanding is always limited, human nature is to explore, plus times change as many things do, out-with your control. Trends are incredibly short-term thinking, and many are outdated by the time discovered. Quality and emotion travel well and live longer.

I was once asked to launch a major American fashion clothing brand’s online initiative (Anthropologie) and I had one stipulation, that being, I wouldn’t use their clothes. It was incredibly successful for it housed authenticity and there’s no greater value irrelevant of craft or platform. An improvised road trip across the USA with my daughter, in her own clothes, sold an alternative lifestyle choice that resonated big time with its audience. What we sold wasn’t from the clothes rails but was something within us all, love, emotion, relationship, and authenticity, we highlighted a journey and offered an honest story. Such trust was a brave move for Anthropologie, but the results perfectly highlighted their values and was deemed successful enough form them to ask me to do create another project the following year.  

You’ve worked for, and with, an impressive list of international clients and magazines, and had your work exhibited in private galleries and national museums. Has there been a career highlight for you?

No, there have been many and too many to simply pick one (or a few), which reminds me just how fortunate I’ve been. I’m incredibly grateful for much and look forward to embracing more. Life has been an adventure and diverse, a highlight many times over.

In an era dominated by digital marketing, how can brands maintain quality craftsmanship in their campaigns, particularly when faced with the pressure for quick, mass-produced content?

By simply not following formula or trends. Time is precious and measured on many levels. How we use it, is the real question we should seek answers for. Relating back to some old jail wisdom in my early twenties. I was once told and have never forgotten ‘Son remember you’re better with a pound of steak than four pounds of shit’. The answer has shown me that too much of life since has lain within this old timer’s throw away remark and its wisdom is still very relevant.  

Take control of the pressure and make it an opportunity. In a room full of voices, it’s often the quiet one that’s noticed most and one that adds mystery. People like mystery.

Where do you draw inspiration from both in your work life and your personal life?

Inspiration is already within us; it simply needs ignited and fed. In my case it also rarely categorises itself in terms of life and work, as often for me these are interlinked. I’m fortunate that my opinion, experience, and outlook seem to have some value. Therefore, I enjoy wandering the corridors of world-renowned museums equally as I love getting lost in a strange city. I can sit and listen to birds sing or chat with a stranger in a café.

A book, place, person or experience is inspiration as it is hope of learning, a connection to something often initially unknown and to trust your intuition to house it. I do know inspiration is always waiting to be found. Walk home a completely different way tonight …you’ll experience something you’ve never expected before and okay you may get lost …but who knows you may just enjoy what you discover.

Based on your unconventional journey, what advice would you give to aspiring creatives looking to break into the creative industries?

Be yourself.

If a person is determined enough, passionate enough and most importantly practises enough then they will achieve far more than those who don’t.

My advice would be to lift the phone, make the calls, knock doors, ask for advice, form relationships and don’t take the many rejections, you will get, as being personal. Learn and move on.  

Live in the moment, try to embrace and enjoy as much learning of diversity as you can, have an opinion and do not fear change or making mistakes …it’s the foundation of how we learn and grow. Don’t just embrace what you think may be good for your career, embrace all you enjoy …it will never do any harm and you never know when it’ll come in handy. You’ll need luck so create some by making the effort especially when you can’t be bothered.

Be inspired by others but try to avoid replicating or copying another, it’s rarely a good look and rest assured many have seen the original.

Ask questions and then ask more. Get up, get out and try, that way you’re already ahead of many. Enjoy it as it will pass and sooner than you think.

David will be joining us at Amplify 2024 for a fireside chat on Celebrating Craft. Tickets available here.

Published 8 July 2024



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