Andrew Brown is smiling into the camera in an outdoor setting.
Andrew Brown. Image: Keywords Studios

‘Video games are great fun to work with because the consumers are so passionate’

31 Mar 2020

Andrew Brown, CMO at Keywords Studios, takes us through a day in his working life at the video games company.

Andrew Brown occupies two roles at Dublin-headquartered video games services company Keywords Studios, acting as its chief marketing officer (CMO) as well as managing director of the company’s investment branch, Keywords Ventures.

Having worked previously at Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola, Brown’s current work in the video games industry requires him to keep abreast of emerging technology and the latest trends. Here, he talks about how a typical day plays out for him.

‘Keywords, like the rest of the video games industry, is a people business – even if we work in a high-tech environment’

What is your role within Keywords Studios?

I have two official roles: chief marketing officer (CMO) for Keywords Studios and managing director for Keywords Ventures. Our services are unrivalled in the video game industry – from game development to art, audio, quality assurance, localisation and beyond.

We collaborate with leading players like Sega, Square Enix, Ubisoft, EA and more to help them achieve the best business outcomes. I also get involved in a range of other initiatives where my video game experience is relevant and useful.

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

Based on the various hats I wear and the diverse locations our company operates in, my days are quite varied both in terms of agenda and where I need to be that day. This means I might be working on a brand-development strategy from home or from one of our studios in Covent Garden, meeting clients at a trade show in China or Montreal, or assessing a venture opportunity in Poland or Brighton.

As a global business based in four continents, the day is often segmented into early calls with Asia through to late calls with the Americas. There are always a lot of meetings.

What types of projects do you work on?

As CMO, my focus is always on how to enhance our client journeys. The video games industry is a complex environment and Keywords provides the go-to platform for game development, so my efforts go into helping clients discover the solutions they need.

Given the fast-moving nature of our industry, this often involves pushing boundaries through thought-leadership, speaking at events and shining a light on new best-in-class capabilities.

When looking into new business ventures, I continually assess and work together with early-stage companies to develop cutting-edge technology solutions that will ultimately benefit game developers and publishers. These solutions can be quite varied, but more and more often involve exciting applications of machine learning and AI.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?

In such a fast-paced and varied environment, time management is always important, whether that means prioritising a certain meeting or following up on whatever’s currently in the pipeline.

Being able to assess the value of an idea or opportunity to our clients and how this will fit within our platform is also key.

It can be especially challenging to make my case when technology is breaking new ground or when a start-up team is particularly passionate, having staked everything on their solution.

To get everyone on board and united in a project, I need to ensure that my overall market and technical knowledge is up to speed to convince them.

What is the hardest part of your working day?

My typical workday involves fitting in lots of meetings with various teams around the globe and being able to flip between different agendas. As I speak with a lot of people, in a lot of time zones, remembering names is a constant challenge – and often not my greatest strength!

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?

It goes without saying that starting early and ending late helps. When possible, try to segment the day by similar projects to allow a build of ideas which are related.

Also, create time to go over ideas and follow up with ongoing tasks rather than moving straight from one subject to another.

When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?

Keywords, like the rest of the video games industry, is a people business – even if we work in a high-tech environment. Everyone in games is passionate and excited about what they do.

There is no substitute for speaking with colleagues and clients, taking the time to better understand and develop these relationships.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

Video games is one of the fastest growing and fastest moving industries on the planet and keeping ahead requires constant change.

In my roles, and for Keywords as a whole, this means working with an ever-expanding mix of services, solutions and technology, as well as newly acquired companies and studios in diverse locations across the world.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

A lot. Video games are great fun to work with because the consumers are so passionate. Not to mention, most folks in this industry are themselves consumers who share the same passion.

There is always more to do and more opportunity to add value, which makes for a great sense of ongoing challenge and achievement. It’s also great to interact with so many skilled people in different locations around the world.

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