When I write down my influences, I’m often pretty embarrassed. Terrible stuff like 80’s metal, schlock horror and comedy like Mr. Show inform some of my basic sensibilities. Despite a college education and continued study, the academic and arts portion of my influence pie chart is hovering at about 20% on a good day. I’m able to draw from those sources when I’m in work mode, or if I take the time to think (remember having time to think?).
Mostly, I’ve been adrift in a sea of pop culture and associated references. Now, that full of things I like, things the audiences that I’m studying like, things my kids like, and all the memes. In the absence of monocultural events, we’ve each become one of one in terms of our influence and application of those. One interesting development over the past year is the decline of American celebrity culture and gossip. Without mass pop-culture events and gatherings, the celebrity industrial complex has been vanishing like Marty McFly’s siblings in his photo, circa 1955.
As we return to normal activities, there are signs that people are anxious to return to theaters for movies and concerts. No doubt, there will be a return of the TMZ and other outlets along with this, and I’ll be watching to see what it is shaped like now that we’ve had some time away from the onslaught of meaningless BREAKING NEWS on E! about a celebrity project announcement or breakup. I haven’t missed it, and wonder if others will embrace its return. I suspect they will welcome the return of a meaningless distraction.
I spoke with Brianne Fleming, who consults brand and is an instructor at the University of Florida, about her love for pop culture and how she applies the lessons she learns in pop culture to branding. I really enjoyed the chance to chat with her again as her pop culture territory is wholly different from mine.
Listen this episode with your earholes here: https://specific.substack.com/p/brianne-fleming-connects-pop-culture
Adam Pierno: All right, welcome back to another episode of The Strategy Inside Everything. This is going to be a fun one. I can already tell because I got to have a test chat with today’s guests on her podcast making the brand, I have today the host of the Making the Brand podcast and instructor at the University of Florida. Brianne Fleming, thank you so much for joining me.
Brianne Fleming: Thank you happy to be in the hot seat this time after I did it on my podcast. This will be fun.
Adam: It was very much not a hot seat and the one thing is we’re gonna have a great time but we did have another great partner with us on that one. And we got to talk about Peloton that was fantastic. Yes, yes.
Brianne: Big fan still don’t have one, but it’s my list I haven’t sold this couch yet behind me, but thinking about it.
Adam: As I as I said on your show and I’m too cheap, it is well documented. I will not buy one. But before we dive into our conversation would you give people a sense of kind of your career and what you’re doing, and then that’ll help I think frame today’s conversation for sure.
Brianne: Yeah, absolutely. So as you mentioned, I am an instructor at the University of Florida I teach courses and advertising branding and social media. And that really stemmed from being a student in the program myself, I started and went back and got my Master’s in web design so that has kind of dovetailed into me starting my own consultancy and working with clients doing web design and brand development. So I have an LLC where I do that. But I also, really my passion is talking about pop culture and its impact on marketing but also lessons that we can learn from pop culture as far as marketing goes so that really started happening in my lectures, I noticed that to illustrate some of the points I was making, I realized that I didn’t have to always use textbook examples with my students, you know it’s not just Nike and Starbucks and, you know, Airbnb who have great marketing it’s also our favorite musicians and movies and sports, I realized that nothing is void of promotion. So that’s what I do with the podcast and also with my weekly Twitter chat called Pop Chat, we go over pop culture trends for the week and try to really delve into the marketing lessons behind them so it’s a lot of fun and it feels really true to my personality, as I’m sure it will get into because I just, I love it.
Adam: So far, so far my experience talking to you that’s been consistent with that. I met you through your pop chat, and that’s how I first found you on Twitter I was exposed, I’m a longtime lurker I don’t usually contribute much because I’m like, ‘Oh, what can I, what can I learn from this? I don’t need to have a voice because none of these things really apply to me,’ but so it’s time for me to see what rises to the top chime in.
Brianne: I mean, I always I always try to make, I do try to make the questions, General so even if you hadn’t heard of the musician or you haven’t seen the show or the movie, I kind of-I do like a two part question we’re all first tell you what the headline is, but then I’ll generalize the takeaway. So definitely feel free to jump in, I’d love to have you there.
Adam: No, I learned more from. I use it as a focus group where I’m learning okay I did this is something I didn’t think about this this way, and I just, you can scroll you get such good participation that there’s so much to draw from so I can sometimes make mental notes of things I need to want guys to Google or watch later on or listen to. I’m going to put you right on blast right now, so we’re going to talk about pop culture. Okay, you, your pop culture. I know that you love, boy bands and pop music, have a certain like the, the, what I call the Disney graduating class of: Britney and Justin and that class. Yes, and it definitely applies to a lot like you’re able to draw so many examples and so many stories and so many threads that really are applicable. What I wanted to ask you is, Is it because of those artists are intuitive, great marketers, or is it because the, the art that they create artists in quotes, I guess, but it’s because what they create reaches so many people and is an attention creator, that keeps people engaged for now almost 20 years.
Brianne: You know I never really thought of it through that lens. I mean, for me, I look at it as more of a personal approach to where those albums are what resonated with me and they’re just how they’re kind of part of how I see the world so I don’t really look at them as if ‘Oh, you know, this is, this is going to be more meaningful to a larger audience because of their impact on pop culture’ I just usually tweet what what I observe and what I’ve always loved. So, you know, for instance I tweeted a thread the other day about what the Spice Girls can teach us about brand purpose. You know I it’s just little observations that I personally have made just through my own upbringing and consuming the music and and their work, but I don’t know I don’t think they really set out to have that type of impact. I think it’s like you have to kind of put them under a microscope and look for those lessons, but they’re there, whether it’s from that era of music, or anytime period, I mean we can go into Michael Jackson and you know lessons behind the white sparkly glove that he always wore and, you know, Aerosmith and his, you know, Steven Tyler and like some of the ties and, you know,
Adam: The scarves
Brianne: Yeah, thank you. The scarves that he wears like it’s from every era, but for me it’s just my time I guess that I am able to put it out there because it’s what I’ve observed.
Adam: Yeah, and in ‘Specific’ I, I talked about how I think I use Radiohead is the example that I use I’ve recently switched it to Jay Z but I’m always trying to draw from brands could figure out how to be more like musicians, where the product itself is designed for a particular person to be bopping their head. But Tide doesn’t think that way. Tide is just like well we created the thing, now we have to create an ad to sell the thing, but the thing itself can be an ad. If, if you’re creating it correctly, it’s always bridging you to the next piece.
Brianne: Right. And I think it’s so interesting I was reading this book, maybe you’ve heard of it called ‘The Creative Curve’ by Allen Gannett, and he talks about how pop culture, helps brands because it, it helps bridge that gap between introducing something unfamiliar by attaching it to something that is familiar and using pop culture as the vehicle to talk about a product or to make an ad button to give it a level of comfort because you’re introduced to it through a pop culture phenomenon that you are already familiar with, so it’s it’s kind of a device that helps brands as well.
Adam: Yeah, and that’s always been a fine line of jacking connecting your brand to that trend, but not borrowing interest and making the ad or making the brand about that trend so much that you’re not relevant to the story it’s like, here’s the Spice Girls and then here’s our logo, right, like, I don’t know why I would drink Pepsi based on that, to me. Brianne: Yeah, exactly. You have to, you can’t force it. We see it with meetings and things all the time where sometimes brands, you know, might try a little too hard. It just has to feel organic and right you don’t definitely don’t want to force it just to try to get something out there.
Adam: Did it when you’re when you’re teaching. Are you, are these things that just come to your mind, from your own experience, as you’re teaching as you’re talking to your class, or are you I’m sure you’re, you know, thinking before you teach but are you using the most accessible things, or like a marketer, are you trying to pull examples that your class will more readily understand so looking for analogs from you, where you say, ‘Oh, this something I’ve experienced is like that but let me see if there’s something new,’ that’s like that.
Brianne: I definitely try to try to consider some of the generational differences. I teach in a master’s program so I have students some who go straight from undergrad right into the master’s program to other students who are, you know, maybe in their 40s or 50s, and are super experienced so I do try to diversify and include references that can apply to everyone. Like I said, I mean there are really lessons from every era of music. I’m sure we can go and really look at any album from any year and draw some of those conclusions but one of my favorites I love to teach about imposter syndrome using a Shawn Mendez reference, he, he won an award a few years ago I don’t remember if it was a Grammy or an American Music Award, something really prestigious award but but he won the award I got something Yeah, super prestigious, and immediately after he won, he went on his Instagram and shared this story about how he used to be this 15 year old kid putting covers on Vine and YouTube and how all of the, all of his classmates and people in the senior class used to make fun of him, and he would be like walking down the hallway and they would mock him and yell ‘Sing for me Shawn’ saying or ‘Where’s your guitar?’ Little things like that and he just shares his story about how he kind of pushed through their, their criticism and decided to keep putting himself out there and look at him coming full circle being this massively successful artist, and I think it just goes to show that you’re going to have people who doubt you it’s going to feel a little uneasy and uncomfortable at first to put yourself out there in that way but it can really make your dreams come true and that does sound cheesy but it did for him. And I couldn’t if you didn’t, so right but that’s a great example of.
Adam: If a brand created some piece of content that depicted that kind of story, everybody would roll their eyes and be like, if it wasn’t about him specifically but if they wrote a script that was like oh let’s tell the story of a young woman making it in the big city and she doesn’t think she can do it but this deodorant gives you the, we’re all like, oh god what a cliche, but when it’s specific to someone that we know. You know, Shawn Mendez okay that’s a that’s a true story and all of a sudden it has more meaning. So part of what I wonder is how do you see brands, leveraging what you see in pop culture, like what makes it successful and what makes it bomb, if you just license the music, that’s not enough. If you use a video technique is that enough? Where’s the, where do you see things that are more successful and clear things that are going to make it break.
Brianne: Well even before I address that part I mean one thing I was thinking as you mentioned that example is that even shows just why testimonials are so much more powerful than. Then, like you said, writing a script and crafting that story because you as a brand you probably already have stories like that that are real from your actual customers. So you don’t have to script this this narrative, it will hit so much better if you can go out there and find a real story, maybe it doesn’t line up perfectly with what you envision but more often than not, it actually turns out being even better to have that authentic story, and to humanize your audience and to build that social proof so you can even sort of follow the Shawn Mendez example without a superstar, or without a famous person and you know truly connecting it to pop culture and just instead using your own brand culture and your, your audience there. But as far as what makes it bomb and what makes it work well I think timing is really important.
Adam: Yeah. Yes,
Brianne: Timing is so hit or miss either has to be like, you have to jump on the trend immediately, or enough time has to have past that it now hits that nostalgia angle there definitely you can definitely below it. There’s like that weird gray area where you didn’t jump on it fast enough to now you’re late but not enough time has passed that it creates that nostalgic feeling. So I think that is a big differentiator there and that the biggest opportunity is to just get the timing right and that’s easier said than done.
Adam: Yeah, I mean, you have to look like you’re not.
Brianne: There’s also a weird thing where you have to not just look like you are saying ‘Yes, we like that trend.’ And so we’re going to put it in our, it’s going to all of a sudden be in our Instagram feed 20 times right you have to look like it makes it you have to convince people, or they have to already believe that that trend applies to your brand or that or to their lives and their connection with you. Yeah, they can see right through it.
Adam: I mean if you’re a pharmaceuticals brand and you’re just trying to tweet about the Bachelor, with no clear connection just to kind of get it on the hashtag.
Brianne: It’s not gonna work like you said you have to build that trust and make that connection, clear.
Adam: What are some other trends that show up a lot, you know, current pop culture trends that you see, having a big influence you mentioned the bachelor which is for a certain audiences. I mean, that show is older than a lot of people that I’m connected to on Twitter and they still love it and every season they have a way of making it feel like it is just for that person watching it which is incredible.
Brianne: Yeah. I think the big thing we’re seeing now I mean there’s always going to be memes, of course, but I think what I love to watch is how TikTok has changed things.
Brianne: Yeah, there are just so many TikTok challenges, and you know dance challenges and fun things that not only, people can jump on but brands can get in on some of these trends too I love when you see, sports, where they’ll have like your, your team’s mascot jumping in on a dance trend that’s that’s all over TikTok so –
Adam: Give me anything with Gritty and I’m in whatever way
Brianne: Is that is that the ASU mascot?
Adam: No, no Gritty is the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, the crazy orange–He’s the crazy orange thing.
Brianne: Yes. Does he have a TikTok?, we’ll have to look at probably but what
Adam: I only, I am only a Twitter user, as you know, and so if it makes its way from TikTok to Twitter it’s it’s a winner in my book.
Brianne: I saw someone tweeted, I want to say it was my friend Dakota, I think, Dakota Snow and he was saying, Twitter is the best social media platform because the best TikToks get posted here.
Adam: And it was true for Vine even before Twitter bought it, it seems that the things that rise to the top, make it to my feed and so between that and one RSS I’m able to pretty much know what’s happening and be conversant when my kids come home and they’re singing a song I can know what the hell they’re talking about, right, we cheated the system there we found.
Brianne: Right. Exactly, exactly. I’m not mad about it because it is exhausting keeping up with all these platforms and if I even open TikTok, I need to know that I’m fully committing like three hours of just mindless problem.
Adam: It’s a problem even since last time I talked to you I didn’t understand when you said that because I was pretty new to it, as people who know me know I downloaded it because my daughter is now, old enough to have a TikTok so I, we have a shared account that I can keep track of. And yes, now I opened it and now my account is already customized the things I like so it’s all kinds of crazy. And yes, maybe not three hours but a lot of swipes where I’m just like, Okay,
Brianne: I know the worst is when you’re trying to go to bed and you’re like, why did I even open this it’s like one in the morning or maybe that’s just me but it happens, it definitely happens,
Adam: I wish I could undo opening that more times and I’m glad I opened it.
Brianne: Absolutely, but they’re definitely onto something. I mean, they’ve got the algorithm right and really they’re there, they just add so much value with the way that they customize your feed and just it’s, it’s pure entertainment.
Adam: So you mentioned means a couple time, and I’m a, I’m a nerd for means in terms of understanding how they spread and understanding how they travel across the internet and how they connect people. I’ve written a few things about how brands could learn from memes, but I don’t think I’ve cracked it. I don’t, I don’t really understand what is the best use and what is the worst use. I think it was Mountain Dew that did the campaign with Joel Embiid, who I’m not from Philadelphia I don’t know why all my examples in Philadelphia today but Joel Embiid, and they created this set of gifts that were like Joel where the gifs, and they were terrible, because the brand created them for the purpose of looking like memes, but they don’t have any, I’m assuming it’s got something to do with context, versus just showing up in a TV ad and trying to send me to a microsite to download. Like nobody’s doing that. Right.
Brianne: Yeah, it’s an interesting question because this week I was also asked, I mean, it’s the Super Bowl week at the time that we’re recording this and someone asked me if I thought the labyrinth seen from from the weekends halftime show performance. Someone asked me if I thought that he strategically put that in there knowing it would become a meme. And I thought, No, I mean i wouldn’t really yeah you think it was strategic,
Adam: I thought for sure. Yeah.
Brianne: I mean, maybe but I feel like for the most part, it’s hard to predict predict that you’re going to become a meme.
Adam: That’s correct.
Brianne: Like, it’s, it’s in the power of the people like we’re going to meme what we what we think is a funny moment and more often than not, they’re, they’re unplanned like the Bernie mittens like I don’t think he wore those thinking I’m going to become a meme today. I think it’s just something that’s, that’s why they’re so fascinating is because you, I feel like you can’t see them coming and they can just completely take off and the power is in our hands as the as the audience to determine what what takes off.
Adam? But why do you think that that Labyrinth caught on what of what about it made it work? In your opinion, or made it shareable not work but shareable or why did people –
Brianne: I think because of the expression on his face and just the the nature of that of that little moment where he looked completely confused. And I think maybe that is. I’m studying names all the time I don’t think I’ve cracked them either but maybe that is part of it is if you can. First extract what that emotion is that that picture that video or that gift is communicating and then apply it to your brand or apply it to yourself or things that other people can relate to.
Adam: That’s, that’s how you bridge the gap and that’s really where the magic happens. So I think any meme that can communicate, an emotion that can then translate like confusion for instance can then translate to other other things that makes it repeatable and shareable and multiple instances.
Brianne: Yeah, that’s a great point, it has to work on those two levels, it has to.
Adam: In that case of the labyrinth. The first thing I think I saw was somebody that had two shots of the camera turning past him and it said this is what pizza rolls see me see when I’m looking in the microwave I can see that one. And then the next one was some other thing. And so, in that case, It was the ability to communicate multiple, and somebody else had to translate it multiple people had to translate it into ways that it could what was expressing for them.
Brianne: And that made me say okay that is that’s worth remembering. And that’s, pretend I didn’t share it but that’s potentially with sharing or bookmarking for when I have a similar emotion that I want to communicate, right or the Bernie mittens, which is just a one very specific thing that it’s communicating consistently and if I put it in.
Adam: You know I saw it in everything from UFC fights to sitting in, you know, in a chair next to David Letterman they moved it everywhere, but it was such as consistent like that’s of a particular time in place, and feeling that it worked everywhere.
Brianne: Right, right. Yeah, that one. I love names like that because that one was was different in the sense that you everyone could put their own creative spin on it, not just from a caption perspective but from the actual graphic, you know, since they could put them in different settings so I think that one was particularly interesting and fun, but glad it came and went, I think, I think it had its moment.
Adam: But it live longer than most.
Brianne: Yeah, absolutely.
Adam: Do you, do you see brands doing that right I’ve mentioned the Mountain Dew, and they didn’t leverage an existing meme, but they tried to create their own energy during the during the NBA season last year. You have you seen brands that have cracked the code or done it well with, with regard to memes, putting you on the spot a little bit.
Brianne: Um, I mean, I feel like it’s harder if they try to create their own. I think I’m a big believer in that they kind of have that have to happen organically where your audience leads the charge and tells you what that mean moment is going to be trying to think of some examples. I mean, the Ocean Spray thing I mean that wasn’t really a mean but that was just something that i don’t know i think was also a happy accident that that went viral I like to think of means that way i don’t know i think they have this magic that you can’t always predict and force the same way those pop culture moments do.
Adam: But otherwise, an Ocean Spray is a good example because they had nothing to do with it.
Adam: But they figured out, okay, how, what can we do to take advantage of this moment without looking like the dorky consumer packaged goods brand that is so they have their CEO do an imitation of it.
Brianne: Right, right. That’s not offensively dumb. Right.
Adam: What I think they got smart about was, let’s go to that person that creator. And let’s figure out how to partner with them and milk, every pixel of attention that we can get for this, and they gave him a lifetime supply of their beverage and whatever else. At least as a consumer and a critic of of brands, I could say, all right, they rewarded somebody for doing that now potentially that will see it doesn’t seem like the brand is doing something out of character.
Brianne: Right, so worth it and then that generated a whole new wave of press and I think what’s funny about that is, everyone on Twitter was kind of like Where the hell is Ocean Spray Why haven’t they retweeted this like what’s taking them so long and then they’re like, we have something better up our sleeves and I think that’s also a huge opportunity for brands is ask yourself where you can take things offline and take this a step further, we don’t have to only build relationships within these digital spheres. So I think that was really smart of them to go beyond. I think what even us marketers expected them to do was just give it a retweet and call it a day.
Adam: Right, they did, way beyond that. Yeah. And to your point about timing there the pressure on whoever is running the social for that brand, the pressure that they were probably getting to have a, you know, some witty dunk in the dark response that immediately captured everybody’s feeling about that, it would have ruined it and what a top of the entire thing. So so high fives just for chilling out and not not pushing send on anyway yeah I didn’t think of it that way because, yeah, it had a bigger impact the, the truck and the lifetime lifetime supply, just because of their silence.
Brianne: I’m wondering if they could have done both did did a retweet or responded on Twitter first and then done. The surprise but i think i think that silence created that tension that just made it that much sweeter.
Adam: Yeah. And a little tart
Adam: Your point earlier about timing now is also making me think about brand voice and brand tone so if that was Wendy’s.
10:31:35 Obviously he’s not drinking. Maybe he’s drinking Wendy’s, you know soda and Wendy’s.
Adam: When. Yeah, Wendy’s we would expect to respond right away with something, because that’s who they are. That’s the speed that they’ve taught us to expect if it’s today’s Thursday I think they’re doing a roast me Wendy’s Thursday, today, which I don’t love, but they’ve, they’ve trained us to expect this fast back and forth. If they didn’t react, it would be a bust.
Brianne: Right. I can see that. Yeah, I mean it’s it’s all about that consistency I don’t really know how frequently Ocean Spray was was or how active they were on social before but I want to say that, yeah they weren’t that active so it didn’t seem out of character it kind of created this suspense, waiting to see what they would do so it gave us a reason to pay even more attention. I was thinking about that this morning. As far as that conditioning and you know training your audience and what to expect because this morning, Taylor Swift announced that she’s releasing I don’t know if you saw, she’s doing like her records of all her whole discography. And tonight, she’s releasing one single and the album isn’t coming out till later and I said to my friends I was like, What do you mean this one single like she’s, she’s dropped two albums in the past like six months, I need the full album now this is not what she’s conditioned me to expect. I have not go with just one song where is the full album. So I don’t know if maybe it’s a blessing and a curse to always, you know condition your audience to expect so much from you so maybe, I don’t know, maybe we should pull things back more often than we do.
Adam: Not like she needs attention. She has no problem getting attention but she will if she releases them one at a time, she will get 10 million listens to each song independently as they drop versus somebody going to Spotify, playing the first song going like, oh, it just sounds just like the other version, and then maybe not listening to the rest of the record, three or four times. So I think it’s a thing, I understood it that way. And I am correct about what Taylor Swift is thinking she’s smarter than me about how she markets herself for sure.
Brianne: I mean she definitely has a lot of research just from releasing two albums back to back like that so I’m sure she’s learned something from those two before embarking on this new release So, but I’m being selfish and I want all of it now.
Adam: That cadence and the cadence of TikTok creators and YouTube creators has become something that pop culture is driving. And for brands that’s a real challenge because it’s not like the top YouTube creators are doing it for no cost, it’s very expensive business to get in at that at that million follower level.
Adam: Well, I think you just knock out TikToks and YouTube. I wish it was that easy, as we’ve discussed before, it’s a pain in the ass. But brands now have to if they want to be visible have to decide. ‘Are we going to try to keep pace with these creators who are not just dumping videos but really great, smart things and that are fun, or do we wait it out and go even slow down so that we can inject in at the key moments and YouTube as a paid opportunity?’ What are your thoughts on cadence.
Brianne: I think it calls for brands to be really nimble and, you know, I feel like these moments these pop culture trends, these means these things that you don’t see coming. They can really derail your brand a little bit or at least your internal team, you could be focused on something and then feel all this pressure to jump on a certain trend, but I think since timing is so important you do just have to either prepare for those moments as best you can, or just know when it’s okay to sit out. You don’t have to jump in on everything so cadence and consistency is is very important, but if it’s if these pop culture moments, come in and they interrupt that cadence and it’s gonna it’s not going to be worth it, you really have to judge the outcome and if it’s worth it and if you have the resources and the, just the bandwidth to make these things happen.
Brianne: Also looking like a wannabe is way worse than missing the moment. Right. If you miss the moment consumers don’t miss you, marketers do on in your pop chat people would say oh this brand should have been there but nobody else’s digging the brand for not being there but if they create some crappy thing that tries to plug into what Taylor Swift is doing. It’s more harmful than good. In most cases, unless you really nail it.
Adam: Right. And that applies I think to being late. Also, late to the game late to the trend so it’s like you said, it’s better to just sit it out if it’s if it’s not worth it. It’s–no one misses you like you said, it’s no one’s digging you are docking points for your brand and never going to buy from you again because you didn’t jump on a train unless it’s super relevant to you, like maybe Ocean Spray unless you’re called out in some way to respond. That’s the only moment where we’re waiting for that response. Yeah, I don’t need Doritos to weigh in on on a anything that’s happening in pop culture, necessarily.
Brianne: Mm hmm. but there are some brands that have transcended I want to get your opinion on this there are some brands that are part of the culture that are driving culture.
Adam: What are those brands of the brands that come to mind I don’t want to put any in your mind, what do they do differently that allows them to maintain that position. What first of all what brands do you think of as those those culture influencing brands?
Brianne: I’m just the first one that comes to mind, I don’t know if I love their approach but do you follow Velveeta.
Adam: I’d see enough of it again Yeah, when it works it makes it into my feed so yeah, they will like jump in on moments
Brianne: Yeah, or like just fun little things, and, you know, they always tweet in all caps they’re just, they’re very present I think that is really the first step for every brand is just awareness being aware of what your audience is talking about and just doing more listening then publishing perhaps dare I say, you know, the listening is is more important.
I think those are the brands that get ahead and when is that they’re the ones who just kind of have their eyes open and have a pulse and are just always observing and listening and then that empowers them and equip them to know when is the right time to insert themselves into the conversation. Yeah, it’s just more about having a cultural presence so that you know when it’s when it makes sense for you to shout out.
Adam: Right, right.
Brianne: You have to have here, here, you have to have a pulse on what’s going on and what is going on and culture and that also that addresses. You know when when you would potentially be tone deaf, when to stay silent when you know it feels like you’re capitalizing on something that’s inappropriate you have to really use your judgment and have a good sense about things before you publish to you what makes it more-which is more useful, and it’s probably the answer is, it depends. But is it having your own tone or your own filter as a brand to respond react or contribute to a trend, or is it to be.
Adam: The ability to create things that become more plugged into a trend or part of a trend.
Brianne: Oh, that’s hard I think the the tone and the voice thing keeps you top of mind for a while and it helps with your brand recognition and really cements who you are, for your audience. But I think something is also to be said of just kind of coming in hot and being there for that right moment and, and just having the perfect crafted tweet or or content.
In that moment, even if your brand voice isn’t particularly flashy or recognizable or unique. I think that may be more, if I had to choose may even be more special because you’re not leaning on, you know, a quippy voice or a snarky voice to kind of carry you into that trend you’re finding a way to be relevant just from whatever it is that you created, but I want to preface that by saying, I know we talked about Wendy’s and some of these snarky brands but I feel like there’s a misconception that to have a personality, your brand has to be snarky every brand has a personality, whether you’re serious, or funny or kind of bullying like Wendy’s can be sometimes every brand still has a personality and a voice, it just, it sounds different but it’s like people we all have personalities, no matter for introverts extroverts or whatnot so it really just depends.
Adam: Yeah, it’s interesting, I was just thinking of SteakUmm while you were giving that example and it’s such a weird stuff hold their Twitter account where there’s a clearly identified person who was at the at the keyboard.
Adam: It’s just like reason my political beliefs on behalf of this brand, and I’m like this does not make me want to eat these sheets of freeze dried meat. this is not making me want to engage, I don’t understand this at all, but it is constantly retweeted and shared in my feed so it’s driving awareness. I don’t know how it’s participating in culture in a positive to the, to the business, but I guess maybe I haven’t stopped doing it. Did it inspire you to follow them?
Brianne: It didn’t.
Adam: But I, but it made me more aware of them there they have a relevance that they didn’t have before because I could just explain to you what was happening with SteakUmm and I sure 12 months ago, I would have no idea if they were still in
Brianne: Same here. I think I was reading something recently and it was asking, do we need to have a relationship with every brand and steak I’m not a customer, either but for some reason I want to have a relationship and follow this frozen meat brand. You know, even if I never buy, I don’t know if there’s still value in that to me. I mean, we’re talking about it now maybe we have some frozen meat fans listening that are going to go out and buy some right now, but I think they cracked the code and found a way to make me and a lot of other people want a relationship with frozen meat. So, I’m in a creative created an avenue for attention, that is different than moon pies or Wendy’s, kind of, like you said snarky tone that really doesn’t apply to everybody.
Adam: I wouldn’t have applied that to steak them i don’t know what i what i would have said their voice should be but this is definitely different than what I would expect.
Brianne: Yeah, I mean what do you think that there are some brands and products and things that we don’t need to have a relationship with, because I feel like that just makes it harder for them to figure out like okay then who are we on social media, what is the point like does the manufacturer of the gutters on your house need a Twitter account. Do I want to follow that like, Yeah, I know. Yeah, I agree there’s a lot of things I don’t need to have a relationship with Alcoa, to your point, but there’s also.
10:43:14 I’ve worked on brands with teams of community managers and content creators, were changing the role of having the community manager, move off the account change the brand, you know, unintentionally someone quits gets a new job and all of a sudden Pocky has a different tone and people notice people are asking like what the hell is going on over there because this isn’t the same response I would have gotten six months ago, and they’re like, well, this person left so.
Brianne: Right, right. That’s.
Adam: Yeah, it did fill a place in those people’s understanding of the brand.
Brianne: Yeah, I feel like we don’t talk about that enough like just how much the person who’s managing the brand is the actual voice, and it doesn’t have to be like who you are as an actual person but it’s a lot like like acting, you know you’re you’re creating this persona and some people are better actors than others and if you replace the actor, your audience can tell so I think there’s something to be said for that and just how much of your brand’s personality is actually you know the person who has the right judgment and the right the right timing again the right. I find that they just have to get it. Sometimes you get people in that role to take over that account and they don’t get it. The way that other person did and it’s really hard to teach, but that turned out some of it can
Adam: It’s the same thing with some talk shows or, or seasons of TV shows where the writing staff the writing room changes, and then people have a different take on where that show should go or they don’t really, they have a different sense of how that host would do a monologue and all of a sudden you’re like, that’s why some seasons of Saturday Night Live, are just garbage and some are incredible because it’s
Adam: and they don’t know how to connect and they connect in a different way that the audience didn’t want that year.
Brianne: Right. Right. Yeah. And it’s interesting to see you know from cast cast it’s kind of the same thing it’s the same as it’s like that turnover that you get. It’s a big dilemma for brands I mean people will come and go. So I think the more, maybe it’s the answer is involving other people into that process having to community managers and having them coach each other and really refine that brand voice together so it’s not just that one person I don’t think it ever really is one person but I feel like you always need someone that that gets it that can kind of lead the charge, and you know if there is another person that steps in.
Adam: They’ve shadowed and seen enough where they can understand what to do.
Brianne: Yeah, yeah, hopefully they hopefully some of it seeps in today yeah and while you’re doing what they’re doing and not just doing it right.
Adam: Well, Brianne, this is awesome, thank you so much for joining me today. I’m glad we got another chance to talk.
Brianne: Yes, this was so fun talking about all my favorite things this was really.
Adam: Where can, where can people find you online. Tell them more about Pop Chat.
Brianne: Yeah so Pop Chat is my weekly Twitter chat where we pretty much continue the conversation we just had here so if you’d like this conversation. Pop chat–we go over weekly weekly pop culture trends for the week and try to draw marketing takeaways from them. So this week we’re doing a whole Super Bowl recap, we’re going to talk about the weekend means things like that but it’s a great community of people with a ton of different perspectives. I’ve got people who are interns and entry level all the way to, you know, seasoned executives sometimes pop in. So there’s just so many different people that we can learn from and everyone’s perspectives are welcome and pop chat so it’s Fridays at 1pm Eastern, you can just follow the hashtag pop chat, but my Twitter handle is at @Brianne2k, like y2k
Adam: I love that I will yeah I will definitely link to that in the notes here and also the making the brand podcast the best episode of that obviously is the Peloton episode with Christina and I but there was also has been a guest on this show, and we had a great conversation about Peloton but you’ve got one does that how often is that gonna.
Brianne: Um, gosh, I wish I could tell you I was more consistent than I am, but it’s about every six at this point, shoot for every two but sometimes there’ll be a small gap. That’s what I shoot for every two but sometimes there’ll be a small gap. This semester of teaching I have more students than I’ve ever had. And I’m like, ‘Okay, maybe I have some free time to record an episode like no I don’t I have 75 projects to grey that are just sitting there waiting for me.’ So, it’s, it’s tough but there are other thing that’s to backtrack until I get my act together.
Adam: Awesome. Well, again, this has been great, thank you so much for making time, of course.
Brianne: Thank you for having me such a blast.