How Enterprise Screen entered the US market

Entrepreneur Jamie Smith has two passions in life – filmmaking and storytelling. Align those with the desire to create professionally-produced advertising, video, digital and online content for a host of big-name clients, and you have the heart of his Enterprise Screen business.

Founded in Glasgow in 2005, Enterprise Screen delivers in-house and customer-focused video communications and advertising to a global client base. But Jamie and his team do more than that, helping businesses clients to develop content ideas, objectives and outcomes, audience testing and segmentation, to deliver digital video that works on every platform.

And when it comes to crunching the numbers, interrogating the analytics, and producing return on investment, the Enterprise Screen team also has that covered.

Having built a successful business in the UK, Jamie, a lifelong admirer of 19th century Scots-American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, turned his sights to the huge US market.

The land of opportunity

Jamie says: “The first film I ever made, a VHS video for my school yearbook, was part-funded by the Carnegie Trust.

“When I launched Enterprise Screen, I always wanted to break into the US market. I used to have a huge map of the States on my office wall, with pins marking the area where the Scottish diaspora lived. Originally, I planned to target them with heritage videos shot in Scotland. One phone call from a new US customer, and some advice and insight from the team at Scottish Enterprise, changed that vision.”

The call came from US-based Owens-Illinois, the world’s largest manufacturer of glass bottles, who were looking for a Scottish company to quote for some video work at their manufacturing plant in Alloa.

Having priced and delivered the job successfully, Owens-Illinois wanted to see what Enterprise Screen could deliver. Jamie took the momentous decision to fly to the States to deliver his quote, and his vision for the video content, in person. It’s a decision that paid off.

Putting people first

Jamie says: “Businesses don’t buy from other businesses – my mantra is ‘people buy from people’. I took a chance flying out to the States, but Owens-Illinois really appreciated the time and effort we had gone to. They got us, got what we were about, and got what we could deliver for their business.”

Today, Enterprise Screen is Owens-Illinois’ global video supplier, creating and shooting digital content at some of their plants around the world, including in Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, Toledo and Atlanta.

Jamie adds: “Landing that contract helped us to refocus our offering in the States. If we could supply a company as big as Owens-Illinois, we could work with anyone.

“The niche that we serve is global, and we can do much of it from Scotland.“

The support we’ve had from Scottish Enterprise has been brilliant. The Owens-Illinois work was our foot in the door to the US, and the Scottish Enterprise support helped us to push that door open.
Jamie Smith, Enterprise Screen

Local talent, global ambitions

To help grow Enterprise Screen’s US business, Jamie upped sticks to open a second US office in Washington DC. The company opened its first US office in Toledo, Ohio in 2015.

He says: “The support we’ve had from Scottish Enterprise has been brilliant. The Owens-Illinois work was our foot in the door to the US, and the Scottish Enterprise support helped us to push that door open.

“From the ongoing support and market insights we get from our account manager, David Smith, to the advice we received via Scottish Enterprise’s International Strategy Workshops, the support has been invaluable in helping us build and focus our US business.

“Add in the visit support, and the encouragement and introductions we’ve had in the US from Scottish Development International (SDI) Americas, local GlobalScots and the Scottish Government here in the USA, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.”

When it came to finding staff with US experience, we helped Jamie with funding to hire an overseas manager. He also drew on the skills of our international marketing experts to help build a more US-focused website for Enterprise Screen.

Jamie says: “In the States, we almost act as unofficial ambassadors for SDI Americas – we point our clients and partners in their direction at every opportunity.”

Focus on quality

“When it comes to working in the global market, consistency is key,” says Jamie. “Clients want to know that footage shot in China, Germany, or anywhere else will be of the same high quality and match up with the work we have previously done for them.

“Using a small and trusted team of filmmakers, directors and producers, we can shoot and supply anywhere in the world.

“Even better, as we grow we can use our overseas trips to shoot, edit and produce content for a whole range of clients. This helps us keep our costs down and our quality high.

“When we’re planning overseas shoots, we always check with existing and potential clients to see if they need any work done. If we’re overseas with a crew, we can pick up work that otherwise wouldn’t come our way.

“This year, because I’m now based in the States, we picked up extra work for UK news outlets, covering parts of the US election.

“Basically, anywhere you do business, we can provide professional video production solutions.”

Building the Scottish talent pool

With five big clients in the US already, Jamie is also still building Enterprise Screen’s UK and European business – and that business feeds back in the shape of highly-skilled pre- and post-production jobs in Scotland.

Jamie says: “As a small company, with a fairly unique approach to product delivery, we’ve always had to find people that get our way of working.

“The graduates we’ve recruited over the last few years are now the mainstay of our business – they bring their own skills and talents, but we also mould them to our way of thinking and working.

“I want to employ people with passion for stories, people with a hinterland – that can be in any subject. So long as they’re interested in playing about with the kit, experimenting with the software and the technology, we can help them from there.”

Learn more about Enterprise Screen here

as published in the Scottish Enterprise

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Honeysuckle Magazine is an online and print publication. We are a unique and edgy voice covering culture, art and style; video, film, news. Some of our favorite topics include social justice, fringe and race.

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