Steve Williams
Steve Williams
A view from Steve Williams

Global viewpoint from Los Angeles

Los Angeles: a city of extremes (aside from the climate!).

A utopian and movie-based dystopian state welded into one. LA is a brand that stands for creativity, innovation and freedom. It’s the fifth-most-Instagrammed city in the world.

Nearly 19 million people live in the five-county area that constitutes Greater Los Angeles, with 44 million more visiting each year. It’s a melting pot in constant "refresh" mode.

So, apart from the near-perfect climate, the thriving creative and tech industries, being the worldwide mecca for the entertainment industry, its proximity to some fine wine country, its supreme college system and its naturally multicultural population, what’s the big deal?

If LA were its own country, its economy would be bigger than Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Sweden’s. This puts the "city" into an interesting perspective, right? It’s a significant economic growth driver. The city’s commercial spine is writ large, everywhere you go – if you’re ever visiting the LA coroner’s office, you will find that it even has a gift shop (although, to be fair, it funds a programme to educate youth about the dangers of drunk driving).

As Frank Lloyd Wright (some say the greatest American architect of all time) exclaimed: "Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles." The city has always had a way of blending influences, ideas, attitudes and, of course, people. LA rolls with, and creates, stuff constantly as a result.

It’s this creativity and pervasive idea-based attitude that resides in the city that makes it stand out. Imagination is in LA’s DNA. 

No surprise, then, that the motion-picture and entertainment industry in LA County generates approximately $120 billion annually in output. That’s what I’d call effective creativity.

And it’s the business of effective creativity that we are in. It takes imagination, innovation, heart and diversity – and that is what the city delivers in spades.

If there is one sector of marketing that is defined by imagination and innovation, it’s the movie business. Clients such as NBCUniversal keep us fast, fit and creative. We imagine and reimagine for them every day, just as they do in the creation of their movies and shows. 

It’s this creative business ecosystem that keeps smiles on faces, energy high and the weather at a bright and cheery 72 degrees and sunny.

Steve Williams is the chief executive, Maxus Americas