Justin Lefkovitch Archives - Mirrored Media
15 Fresh Faces Changing the Face of Experiential Marketing
New ways of thinking can bring great results
A Seaver College alumnus launches an experiential marketing company that bridges the gap between music labels, artist, and fans.
Justin Lefkovitch (’09) was working on his bachelor’s degree in business administration when he composed a business model for a marketing company and submitted it to the Business Plan Competition, a contest presented by the Graziadio School of Business and Management in collaboration with Seaver College. When his submission was selected as a finalist, he knew it was worth further pursuit.
While pursuing his degree, Lefkovitch began managing local singer-songwriter Ray Kennedy, admittedly his first encounter with professional music production and management. With special insights into the music industry, Lefkovitch noticed gaps in communication and satisfaction among artists, labels, and consumers. After speaking with several artists, Lefkovitch began to think about possible ways to bridge this gap that would benefit all three parties as they participate in the branding and marketing processes together.
Two years after graduating from Pepperdine, with solid real-world business experience through Ray Kennedy’s ventures, funding from angel investor Vaden Saunders, and a partnership with music production mogul Steve Kofsky, Lefkovitch launched Mirrored Media, an experiential marketing company based in Santa Monica, California.
Since opening its doors in 2011, Mirrored Media has generated an impressive list of high-profile clients, including Acura, Universal Pictures, Syfy, Fox, and Google Play. The company has also been featured in numerous publications, such as Forbes, the New York Times, AdWeek, and Event Marketer, the magazine that placed Mirrored Media on its Top 100 Event Agencies “It List.”
Lefkovitch sat down with Pepperdine Magazine to explain the concept behind Mirrored Media and share what he’s learned on his professional journey thus far.
Pepperdine Magazine: How did working with Ray Kennedy influence the development of Mirrored Media?
Justin Lefkovitch: While working with Ray, I had the pleasure of meeting and working with countless talented artists. During this time, the music industry was going through dramatic shifts, both in the artist deal structures within major labels, as well as in the way consumers perceived and valued music.
My interest in marketing and advertising, and a desire to create additional revenue streams for artists in the ever-changing environment, led to an idea of creating organic brand campaigns that would not only benefit artists financially, but also meet their goals. I saw what projects were being executed within the space and how many lacked the artist’s unique voice and brand identity. Many campaigns were perceived as contrived by the fans. My approach was to create a win-win scenario for brands and talent.
PM: How did you discover the music industry ’s pain points?
JL: By having many conversations with artists I was working alongside at the time. I noticed that there was a strong breakdown of communication between talent and marketing executives. Each camp spoke a different language, with very different campaign goals and interests in mind. In addition, the music industry can be perceived as intimidating, due to the complexities around publishing and licensing. Some might even perceive it as risky.
This attitude, coupled with the fickle fan perspective of branded content and campaigns, laid the foundation for my idea. I strongly believed that mutually beneficial experiences could be created to produce a successful marketing campaign—and we have now proven that.
PM: What exactly is “experiential marketing?”
JL: For me, experiential marketing is messaging that you can touch, feel, view, and engage with within the physical or digital space—basically, any experience that moves you and makes you want to share it with your friends. While traditional advertising concentrates on verbally and visually communicating the brand message through radio, print, and television, experiential marketing can encompass a variety of mediums focusing on creating an experience that immerses the consumer in the brand message with a more high-touch but low-pressure approach.
PM: What sets Mirrored Media apart from other marketing companies?
JL: Mirrored Media concentrates on creating high-impact and enduring lifestyle campaigns that specialize in music and entertainment. Each member of my team has extensive experience working in the music and entertainment world, as well as the traditional marketing landscape.
From previous artist managers and tour managers, to marketing directors and art designers, I am fortunate to have an incredible team that understands the needs of both the brand client, as well as the influencer partner who could be a band, artist, or social media star. I believe Mirrored Media’s strength comes from our approach and close relationships with our influencer partners, coupled with our strong creative ideas that continuously challenge the notion of what’s possible and push the creative needle over the edge.
Our executive team is made up of millennials who can continuously evolve our capabilities and creative to meet the needs of the market. Ultimately, every one of our brands and partners experience transformational results through each campaign.
PM: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
JL: When I first came up with the idea for Mirrored Media, Gary Mallaber—who most famously composed for Steve Miller Band and drummed for Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, The Beach Boys, John Lennon, and many others—once told me that if I could bring humanity back to the industry, we would have a line of artists and brands wanting to work with us. That always stuck with me and I tried to do exactly that.
In 2011, Justin Lefkovitch founded Mirrored Media, a leading experiential marketing company that specializes in creating high impact, enduring lifestyle campaigns that unite marquee artists with influential brands. The 28-year-old and his tight-knit team of skilled young forward-thinkers help brands connect with their target demographic through crafting organic music experiences.
The ever-evolving convergence of marketing, entertainment, technology and culture has reached an exciting turning point. With the advertising industry transitioning into the new entertainment business, more brands are expanding into the lifestyle space in unconventional ways. Brands are discovering the deeper value in partnering with various artists and influencers to craft content and campaigns that solidify their position within pop culture. Understanding the seamless merger of music and digital media, brands and marketers are collaborating to create products, platforms, and experiences that authentically engage a millennial audience.
While advertisers continue investing the bulk of their attention and resources into developing mobile-focused digital videos and cutting edge social programs, there’s an evident gold mine emerging in the realm of live events and experiential marketing. In an era where festivals stand as the thriving pulse of music, touring is more frequent than ever, and brands seek to participate at each stage of the consumer journey, experiential marketing offers the perfect opportunity to experiment with truly cutting edge concepts. With a foresight of the changing landscape, Justin Lefkovitch set out to build a company that would provide the blueprint for how brands and artists collaborate to not only achieve their goals, but also enhance and advance their art form in the process.
While a student at Pepperdine University, Justin began managing renowned singer/songwriter Ray Kennedy, stepping in to handle various aspects of his career. Serving as his first introduction to the music business, Lefkovitch learned the dynamics of the industry, while further discovering the deficiencies and frustrations that artists endured. One particular issue that stood out was the evident disconnect between brands and artists, with neither side able to identify the shared values required to forge healthy, authentic partnerships. “I looked at what was happening in other aspects of entertainment, in sports and in movies, where brands had really figured out how to market in that space and evolve the art form through product placements that were organic and authentic,” Lefkovitch told Forbes. “At that time, brands, music and entertainment working together seemed like selling out, but I knew there was a way to make it work authentically.”
Today, his growing roster of global clients includes Google GOOGL +2.19%, Acura, TuneCore, Mophie, Fullscreen, Awesomeness TV, and Crave Online. From prominent festivals and premiere conferences, to nationwide tours and disruptive pop up activations – Mirrored Media is widely credited with delivering massively successful live events that drive awareness, engagement, influence and capital for each brand partner. Receiving recognition for their groundbreaking work and innovative approach to developing interactive branded entertainment experiences, Mirrored Media earned a coveted spot on Event Marketer’s 2015 It List of Top 100 Event Agencies.
With a growing group of smart and savvy employees representing richly diverse perspectives and a broad scope of industry experience extending across music, media and marketing, Mirrored Media embodies the ethos and vision of today’s generation, reflecting a rapidly emerging trend of fearless, creative millennials on a mission to transform the attitude and framework of modern marketing. “I think we’re very lucky, because we’re in a position to pick our clients and pick the projects we want to be a part of,” stated Lefkovitch. “We work with clients that we really vibe well with, clients we can be a positive influence on, that listen to what we have to say, and want to truly create something really dope and creative.”
I visited the Mirrored Media headquarters in Santa Monica, California and spoke with Justin about the road to launching his company, what gives his team an edge in the experiential space and how their winning streak will carry into 2016 and beyond. Watch above or view the full interview here.
Follow me on Twitter to share your comments and continue the conversation @Allthingsmitch
This week’s issue of ADWEEK Magazine featured a profile piece on Mirrored Media and our CEO Justin Lefkovitch. The portrait piece, within the special music issue, highlighted Mirrored Media’s ability to help clients easily navigate through the world of bands, brands, and fans.
Emma Bazilian writes, “In marketing, the relationship among brands, bands and fans can be tricky. Brands want to appropriate artists’ “cool” factor, artists want exposure, and fans want authenticity. That’s where Mirrored Media comes in. The experiential music marketing firm links brands (or their agencies) with up-and-coming acts to create interactive campaigns that seem organic, not contrived. Take last year’s campaign for the Acura ILX. To enhance the brand’s image among millennials, Mirrored partnered Acura with indie band Metric on a series of sponsored concerts, a listening party and even a music video. In turn, Metric introduced its new album, Synthetica, to a wider audience. “In every one of our campaigns, the brand has walked away with explosive results, whether that be market penetration, social media exposure, or changing the perception of the brand among the target demographic,” said CEO and founder Justin Lefkovitch.”
You can read more at ADWEEK.com
Mirrored Media CEO was recently honored by the Power 30 under 30 awards. The Power 30 Under 30™ Awards honors thirty outstanding individuals under the age of thirty around the world that have achieved extraordinary success. Young leaders are recognized from the following categories: 1) Arts, Entertainment, & Media 2) Business 3) Community Service 4) Politics 5) Science & Technology 6) Sports.
mophie was one of the huge buzz companies of CES 2014 in Las Vegas. This was partly due to their brand new release of the mophie space pack which is the world’s first rechargeable battery case with local built-in storage made for iPhone 5s/5. To celebrate CES, mophie in collaboration with Mirrored Media, the Cosmopolitan and C3, threw a concert event at the Cosmopolitans’s new theater, The Chelsea. The concert featured performances from GROUPLOVE and Cage the Elephant.
Mirrored Media CEO, Justin Lefkovitch, was recognized by the Los Angeles Business Journal in this years special edition report on the top “Twenty in Their 20s” in Los Angeles. Justin’s interview is now available online to the public here.
Twenty in Their 20s: Justin Lefkovitch Read More
Lively, a new start-up in the music and entertainment industry today announced a strategic partnership with Mirrored Media to provide music strategy and distribution services. The partnership, launched at SXSW 2013, fuses expertise from both the entertainment and technology industries. Read More