Do you believe that positivity is contagious? Meet Brian! His 127,000 Twitter followers (plus tens of thousands more on every social channel you can name) are probably happy people…because it’s a joy to listen to this guy. (The gesticulation is pretty impressive too, Brian.)
Not every social media consultant has a degree in computer science, has briefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon on cybersecurity following five deployments to the Middle East and spent two years at a booming cloud computing startup. After being named to “Top 25 Social Business Leaders of the Future” by The Economist and IBM, entrepreneurship called Brian to create his own personal brand, iSocialFanz.
We caught up with Brian, the brains behind “Press the Damn Button” who describes himself as “Translator of geek-speak, change evangelist, podcast host, emcee and keynote speaker on social media marketing, cross-generational communication, innovation, and digital empathy” to ask him about five things:
- what keeps you up at night?
- marketing tips
- consumer behavior
- whether we’re going to be carrying mobile phones around in 2039.
Brian’s unrehearsed answers are summarized below and there’s a 7-1/2 minute video as well if you’d rather watch him think on his feet.
Who’s looking forward to meeting Brian at the 20th Annual eTourism Summit next month?
Q: How does the rationale behind “Press the Damn Button” help us all produce snackable, shareable content?
A: “People don’t have time for crappy content. There’s a difference between creating content in real time and creating content at the right time.” In order to create snackable content at the right time, you have to be willing to press the damn button. Have a strategy, see an opportunity, create some great content in the moment and press the damn button.
Q: Let’s talk FOMO. Digitally-speaking, what keeps you up at night?
A: Emotional marketing is nothing new. But leveraging fear? “Today’s consumers are smart,” and a lot of people see right through the fear of missing out when it’s used to tease sales. What keeps me up at night is when brands lose trust; when someone unfollows, blocks or doesn’t want to be associated with you…that’s way worse than anything else. Jeopardizing trust isn’t worth it. Don’t compromise your entire overall mission because of one campaign. “Your customers want to build trust.”
Q: You’ve worked with some of the world’s great brands. Outside of travel, which brand marketing impresses you as truly outstanding?
A: Travel and tourism is fun and sexy, of course. But I’ve worked with some not-so-sexy brands: IBM, Dell, SAP, Oracle, Samsung. And I love AWAY luggage which is actually in the travel space.
Q: Do you think there are takeaways that can be applied to tourism marketing?
The underlying element is that it’s always about being experience focused. Not what the product is but how it makes people feel. We can educate people about travel. With social media channel takeovers, work with micro-influencers who are already your fans and let them create content for your channel; the content they create doesn’t have to be on their own channel.
Q: Crystal Ball: eTourism Summit is 20 years old, born when the internet was dial-up and search was Ask Jeeves. Do you think we are still going to talking about social media and using laptops in 2039?
A: “No, I do not.” I believe the tech and the medium with which we connect with people move into the background. It will be about how to scale trust, maintain trust, talking about data and privacy. How do we as an industry focus on that trust? We must understand that it’s the consumer who decides what’s valuable…not us as the marketer of a brand, and that’s true for all mediums across the board.