Luke Clark has spent his career in and around journalism and content in Asia — and now as the new Chief Executive and Partner of CP5, he has an opportunity to apply some of the lessons learned as co-pilot of Asia’s newest up-and-coming content consultancy. On the fringes of the company’s recent announcement, we caught up with him to discuss content, resonance and the art of noise.

[CP5 Editorial:] Welcome to CP5! How does it feel to be interviewed by your new brand?

[Luke Clark:] Good! Though yes, slightly strange. I guess that considering that it’s usually the other way around, it serves me right. Maybe this is what’s meant by unleashed?

You should let us ask the questions. But yes, we were interested to know your take on what ‘Business Content Unleashed’ means to you.

Glad you asked. Simply put, Howard and I are both manic enthusiasts when it comes to both this region as a whole — and the platform that Asia gives brands to do things that are genuinely game-changing. When I first arrived here as a journalist, I jumped into a role within the regional travel trade, reporting on aviation, destinations, hotels and wholesaler trade. The turbulent decade, with many ups and downs, affirmed to me that Asia was and still is the vibrant centre of change, and the place where the world’s most dynamic brands are either launched, or aspire to be.

“The mantra of the consultant has to be discretion. We’ll help you unleash your content — then you own its success.”

Telling that story must have been exciting

Yes, though at times back then it was also tough — I’ve certainly seen my share of crisis and recovery. At the time though, I felt that despite the fact that it was the world’s most dynamic stage, with a few exceptions the most game-changing business stories were still happening elsewhere. Through Discovery Channel Magazine and other opportunities, my career has been about turning the volume up for storytelling produced in Asia. Now CP5 can be the amalgamation of that. It’s time to make some noise!

Is ‘Unleashed’ also about doing things differently than you did previously?

I wouldn’t change anything. The projects I was lucky enough to lead previously were the ones where I learned many of my best tricks and tools. When you build talented teams and work with enough clients and stakeholders, you by osmosis absorb the best of their ideas and energy, and learn from the things that could have gone better.  Unleashed is about storytelling that resists feeling “safe” and “corporate”. We want to reflect the urgency, colour and vibrancy of this region — telling energised stories with the facts and figures and personalities that make people gasp, react — then act in ways that help them along their own journey.

“Now is definitely the time for the independents — because we reject legacy thinking.”

Have you always been about volume?

Yeah, big time. Amplification came naturally! It’s one of the reason I became a DJ for a while: I love it when that room is jumping. And yeah, while I always loved school and studies, I was invariably the noisy kid in class — mainly because I felt I had something to say. The stories and products we produce are intentionally designed to be disruptive, problem-solving, and attention-grabbing. In a crowded content market, those are the only stories that get noticed.

You’ve worked with a number of big brands previously, ranging from Discovery to World Economic Forum. What made you want to co-lead a start-up?

The vision for CP5 is to create stories and solutions that resonate. That’s one take on our brand name: Content’s Perfect Fifth, the point where everything resonates, where things flow perfectly. I’m a big believer in offering a service whereby you can always work with the movers.

Why be consultants and not a typical agency?

It’s less about structure and more about mindset. Now is definitely the time for the independents — because we reject legacy thinking. The current circumstances demand agility, local knowledge and fresh approaches. We offer decades of experience with brands. And our independent, non-aligned status means that we put your brand centre stage. And yes, where necessary, we’ll constructively tell you where it has a problem with its storytelling — and how that can be fixed in a way that doesn’t break the bank. Yet importantly for clients, the innovations and solutions stay with you the brand. The mantra of the consultant has to be discretion. We’ll help you unleash your content — then you own its success.

To get the resonance you speak of, does the client relationship have to change?

Put simply, the old master-servant relationship isn’t the best one to get results. Of course, we need to prove our mettle, and clearly it won’t happen overnight. But given we’re lean and low-cost, we have the freedom and flexibility to go searching for visionaries in business, those who really have a story to tell, and are in a hurry to do so.

Is the world still a good place for storytellers?

Undoubtedly, maybe even more so. As Steve Jobs said, “The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller.” Those with the passion to tell a story, will be those who command a platform to turn up the volume and leave the competition in their wake.