Subscribe to the daily newsletter.

What I’ve Learnt: Rob Hardman, Creative Director, Dreamlike State

Rob Hardman

Rob Hardman is creative director at Manchester-based content studio Dreamlike State, formerly known as IAMBOB.

Smyle Group acquired IAMBOB in 2022 for an undisclosed sum, which saw the studio rebrand to Dreamlike State in 2023 and now specialises in creating on-screen content for global brands such as Wella and Salesforce.

With former roles including as campaign video producer for Time Out and a surprising stint on Corrie, Hardman shares all the lessons he’s learnt across his personal life and career…

Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

I always start the day with a black coffee and ten minutes of silent chill. I live in a 10th-floor apartment in Manchester, and watching the city wake up just for a short time really helps ground me and prepare for the day. The coffee is the wake-up ingredient!

What’s been your luckiest break?

I was made redundant from a corporate job when I was 22, which led to moving into the world of production. At the time, the world was crumbling. I worked as a handyman and a parcel delivery man, then got a break as a runner. Looking back, that’s the best break I ever had.

What’s your best failure?

There are always learnings on every job: What could I have done better? How could I have overcome that challenge? So, every time I complete a job, I find something and use it to make the next one better. Every day is a school day, as they say.

What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?

Time, getting that work/life balance correct. I never had that before my little girl was born, but now, I know to switch off at weekends and focus on being a parent.

Which podcast or book would you recommend others to read and why?

Pod Save the UK – Fabulous political podcast!

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Take a moment each day and recognise how much further you’ve pushed yourself. Don’t take anything for granted or be too hard on yourself, it’s all part of a plan.

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

Before it was acquired and turned into Dreamlike State, my production company was called IAMBOB. BOB isn’t me. It’s my grandfather Bob Litherland, who was an MP for central Manchester between 1979 and 1997. He believed in giving people a voice and making sure they were heard. I took this ethos into IAMBOB when he passed away and made sure that all the pieces we produced cut through the clamour of society and noise and made the biggest impact possible for that brand. A clear, concise message and voice. Just as he did for his constituents.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I was on Coronation Street many, many years ago…

If there was one thing you could change about your career, what would it be and why?

I’d listen more to the people from my past. I think I’ve sometimes been too gung-ho in my journey so far.

What does success look like to you?

Happiness and being content.

Related News