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How A Digital-First Mindset Positioned Addmaya as a Creative Industry Leader

"We are technology company and we embrace it because it is good for our business," Addmaya’s Creative Director, Peter Mukiibi tells PC Tech Magazine in an interview.

Through the years of the evolution of the creative media industry in Uganda, as the clock ticked by, March 2021 meant that Addmaya (http://addmaya.com/), a Film, TV and Design firm specializing in Brand Identity, Promos, Commercials, Documentaries and Graphics Design was marking twelve years of existence.

The creative agency has been at the helm of bringing to life incredible creative ideas and designs across different media platforms. They have over the years built a strong portfolio of satisfied clients while pushing the boundaries in marketing communications and design. PC Tech Magazine spoke with Addmaya’s Creative Director, Peter Mukiibi on how far they’ve come.

Addmaya recently celebrated its 12th year anniversary, how has the journey been from the start to now?
Long and hard but also rewarding when you look back and see the things we’ve been able to accomplish.

Addmaya is a film, design and digital production agency that elevates ambitious brands through stunning visuals and creative storytelling. Briefly enlighten more on this?
We basically package and tell stories whether it’s through film, a logo design or someone’s website. People don’t realize the power of package because most of the times we’ve seen it done right. But when a brand chooses not to pay attention to its outlook, that’s when the importance hits you hard because people will watch someone else’s content longer because its done right or pick a particular product off the shelf because of the packaging uniqueness.

You believe that thriving in the digital space is about shaping user experiences to suit the different audiences. How can you explain this in a layman’s language?
Our role as an agency is to understand the brand and present it in the best way possible on any platform online using the best techniques. So we shall know what type of content we need to organize for that platform and therefore knowing what it takes to help a brand thrive from these digital platforms.

How is the use of technology built Addmaya. How can you compare it when you started 12 years to now?
Technology is so powerful in the sense that what used to take days to execute years ago can now be done in a split second by a push of a button. Someone picks a camera and pushes the record button to record themselves doing a rendition of a song, then they click the share button and hit a million views in hours to the point of making big brand come kneeling just to tap into their space. What a time to be alive.

We are technology company and we embrace it because it is good for our business.

As film agency, how would describe the film industry in Uganda and government’s influence towards it?
The industry is still young but showing a lot of potential. It’s so sad that we don’t have incentives and this has made us lag so far behind from our neighbors, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Our big entertainment stars can’t match to the ones in our neighboring countries and not because we aren’t as talented but rather government hasn’t really seen the potential the industry has especially in relation to tourism. We have cinemas here with a dedicated screen for Bollywood movies, cinemas are sometimes struggling to market Hollywood movies and yet there’s a whole local audience to tap into if we can support them to make their own stories. I could go on and on this.

What is the biggest project Addmaya has worked on in production, and are you proud of it?
It’s really hard to pick out one because we are super proud of all our clients. But if I had to, I’d pick the ACIA Awards and Stanbic National Schools Championship. The impact on those school students is immense. I can tell you that there’s the next Bill Gates somewhere in a high school in Uganda right now but it takes a visionary school, parents, clients doing CSR to spot them out.

Peter Mukiibi, Creative Director at Addmaya addressing the audience at the Stanbic National School's Championship 2020 grand finale. (COURTESY PHOTO)
Peter Mukiibi, Creative Director at Addmaya addressing the audience at the Stanbic National School’s Championship 2020 grand finale. (COURTESY PHOTO/Addmaya)

What kind of advice do you give actors regarding making themselves more marketable?
Go to film school or look for material on how to get better. Honestly the desire is there in so many young and older actors but we lack the infrastructures to elevate them. At Addmaya we had to learn so much of what we do by attending online master classes and watching YouTube videos. There has to be an effort to try and grow even if it means putting the ability to earn on pause for a bit.

What work are you most proud of when it comes to design section and why?
Interesting. We are proud of our work because all the work we choose to take on is work we believe will push us as a company. But we tend to take on brands that we see have a vision and journey to becoming something great. But the work I might say we a proud of is with Bank of Uganda when we designed the branding for the deposit protection fund. The other works are for Livara, Young Achievers Awards, Reach a Hand, to mention a few.

Design work that is communicable easily and effectively, is a win. (COURTESY PHOTO)
Design work that is communicable easily and effectively, is a win. (COURTESY PHOTO)

What would you say is good design work?
Design often gets confused with Art. Anyone can do art but few can do design and also few can do a good design. Good design work is about communicating, if you can distil something that is communicable easily and effectively, I think that is a win. So good design work is work that communicates.

Could you expound on what you mean to influence the world around us and change the face of design in Uganda? 
We have been around for 12 years and had the privilege of working with some many brands and some took a chance on us. But the biggest lesson out of the 12 years is we have been able to move the needle in terms of how people perceive production in Uganda. It brings great joy to us that we have been able to cultivate a culture that believes we can do great design work. So anyone that joins our team believes that they can compete against the biggest brands internationally when it comes to delivering good design work.

As we summarize our interview, tell us how has the pandemic affected your business?
I don’t think we are any different from many companies in Uganda and globally when it comes to the effects of the pandemic. It was so unexpected and there’s nothing as scary as emptying your coffer just to keep the business alive. I honestly thought we were shutting down but thank God we’re still here.

From its challenges we’ve learnt new ways to operate. We save on fuel money and wasting so much time in jam by having virtual meetings. You create tailored solutions that fit within client spend because budgets are being slashed everywhere.

What is your projection in/for the next five years?
To recover from the pandemic. I feel we’re behind by like a year or 2 from where we should be.

And finally what is Addmaya’s greatest achievement in its 12 years of existence?
The 12 employees we have now even though some are part time. Job creation is such a huge task that a little goes so far.

Some of the Addmaya employees pose for a photo. (Photo by: Teesaadvisory)
Some of the Addmaya employees pose for a photo. (Photo by: Teesaadvisory)

Happy 12th year anniversary and we hope for the best for Addmaya!
Thank you.

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Joan Banura

A journalist at heart 💜 with a passion for Tech.
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