In 140 characters or less, tell us who you are and how you got to where you are today.
Sports, movie, podcast junkie. Blessed to be where I am through dedicated work, purposeful relationships and a little luck.
What’s one trend in media or marketing that you’re buying or selling?
My answer to this would have been different a month ago but I am buying the “at home/home video” look is here to stay. Video as we know wasn’t going anywhere but for the time being, the glossy produced look I think will subside. It was oversaturated and in my opinion, it’s been a nice change of pace to see everyone from TV anchors to brands incorporate the at-home look. I think this will affect the video we consume moving forward and the approach to advertising.
How do you define engagement?
The definition of engagement has shifted numerous times over the years and while there are technical ways to track “engagement rate”, to me it all comes down to one thing: how much is your audience interacting with the material on your account? Having an active engaged audience has always been more important to me than a large number of followers. Even though I will always take more followers!
What’s a lesson in audience (fan) engagement that every marketer should learn?
Discipline is the key to engagement. The personas or brands I engage with the most are the ones who consistently bring me as the consumer value. This isn’t to say post content all day, all the time. Keep it simple by being strategic and on a schedule as that will help build trust with your audience. Once you compound that over time you have an actively engaged audience. Side note I am preaching to myself here!
What’s the project or campaign that you’re proudest of? Why?
The project/campaign I’m most proud of to date is Russell Wilson’s 2019 Nike Alpha Menace Cleat Release. The direction from Nike was that flag football was important for this release with a higher emphasis on women’s flag football. My coworkers and I love movies like Sandlot and Super 8 and we wanted to capture the essence of sports as a youth. Having a clash between a young male and female character was essential to the story based on Nike’s direction. TK McKamy, who is a well-established music video director and dear friend of mine, collaborated on this project with a handful of production partners. We did a one night shoot until 6am with limited resources but we were beyond thrilled with the final product. What made me so proud was that we took a brand direction, limited resources, and great production partners and turned it into something everyone took great pride in. Watch the BTS here.
What are you working on right now? Any exciting future plans that you’re able to share?
Again this answer would have been different a month ago. With the shift in media production and consumption I’m trying to work on figuring out this new puzzle we’re in. The biggest question for my job is how do we make content for Russell without having physical access to him? Our team is working around the clock to figure out different solutions. It’s also exciting to break away from what we’ve been doing in the past and come up with brand new solutions. Russell and I will be back on DangerTalk podcast here soon so stay tuned!
What are you reading, listening to, and/or watching right now?
I’ve been focused on reading more during this quarantine! I’m generally a huge reader but didn’t do so well in 2019. It was a goal of mine to read 1-2 books a month in 2020 and I’ve been successful to date. Two of my favorites so far have been Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism and Anita Elberse’s Blockbusters. Anyone working in sports or branding I would highly recommend Blockbusters as it couples case studies of hard data from sports leagues, athletes and entertainers and quantifies their success. ESPN Daily, Colin Cowherd, and Tim Ferriss are my most frequented podcasts. I finally finished all of Peaky Blinders, just started Mad Men and pumped for the Michael Jordan documentary coming out this month.
As a connected fan, who’s your favorite athlete to follow on social media?
I’m a little biased but my top choice is my quarterback Russell Wilson! It’s been a pleasure to help him grow his brand on social media and at West2East we are always trying to maximize the latest trends on a given platform. The other two I enjoy following are probably two layups but LeBron James and Tom Brady. As two athletes who entered their careers without social media they certainly have mastered it. LeBron I enjoy because he always seems to have his pulse on what’s happening in the world, whether live-tweeting another sporting event or posting a fun video, his social media timing is impeccable. Tom Brady has grown on me for his tone of voice that he uses on social media. You can tell he’s kind of messing with us because he can, but it never crosses the line. He’s done a wonderful job of showing us behind the curtain into his family life, training and personality all while staying on the top of his craft.
What’s a piece of advice you received that you’re glad you ignored?
I’ve been fortunate enough to receive phenomenal advice from people like Tony Dungy, Fred Gaudelli (Sunday Night Football Executive Producer), and Terry McGuirk (Braves CEO). Strong mentors have always been something important to me. One experience that I learned from however was the summer before my senior year of college. I applied to a prestigious internship in New York City and was down to a finalist and unfortunately didn’t make the final cut. Doubt and frustrations overcame me and I almost talked myself out of the business. In a way I’m glad I didn’t listen to myself but chose to listen to my family and those in my inner circle who kept encouraging me to go after my dreams.
What’s a piece of advice you received that you’re glad you ignored?
This might sound a little cynical of me but here it goes. I was fortunate to be one of the youngest members covering sporting events with NBC. Being surrounded by the best in the business they were always pushing us to find the story in everything with meticulous detail. The tide has turned the last few years and you’re seeing younger folks fresh out of school covering events. While I’m excited that this youthful change is happening I do think the older hierarchy provided value. Anyone with access, gimbal, and smartphone can make something look “cool” but can they tell the full story?
So I would just push/challenge the upcoming content creators to think deeply about story structure, finding the moment, as it can get lost with the unparalleled access and new technology at hand. Maybe I am turning into a salty old man but that is just my opinion. On a positive note, one change I’m deeply encouraged by is the amount of women working in sports from when I first started to now. I’ve had the pleasure of learning from and being coworkers with some phenomenal women (Michele Tafoya is the best!) over the years and I hope this continues to grow in the industry for years to come.