Brandon Edler is the Digital Content Strategist behind Finish Line, one of the most respected sneaker spots around the world. In the last year or so, we have seen Finish Line go through a massive overhaul with branding and social media, which Edler is mostly responsible for. Between being mentored by Joe La Puma for two and a half years while Edler was at Complex, to working alongside some of the best in the industry, Edler was set to be one of the most influential people in the game. Take notes.
Alex: Thanks for chatting with us! So you do a lot of crazy awesome stuff in the industry. How did you get to where you are today?
Brandon: I got my start in this industry thanks to Joe La Puma (Director of Content at Complex Magazine) believing in me and mentoring me to work harder than anyone else. Between his motivation, Russ Bengtson’s wisdom, and Nick Engvall teaching me daily how to perfect my craft—it was the greatest “education” I could have ever received. Those guys are arguably three of the most respected people I know in any industry.
Alex: Those sound like some incredible people to have worked with. What exactly do you do at Finish Line?
I’m currently the Digital Content Strategist at Finish Line thanks to some help from Don Drew. A lot of my day is focused on developing content to hype the right releases and products for the company. It can be something we do internally with our own content and social team, a co-op with a brand like Adidas or Nike, and also partnering with the right influencers and publications.
Alex: How does your past experience at Complex, which is one of the most influential magazines out right now, influence what you do at Finish Line?
Brandon: Now Nick Engvall and I are together over at Finish Line trying to bring that Complex content mentality to a retailer. It takes some patience and persistence but everyone at Finish Line seems to be genuinely excited with the direction and execution our content team has been able to achieve.
Alex: You’re a busy guy. How do you balance work and personal life?
Brandon: One of my aunts always says “all things in moderation.” Balancing things isn’t my strongest feature but as I get older I try to realize that there are so many important things and it’s imperative to make time for all of them—for the people and things you care deeply for. A lot of it is just having a plan and sticking to it. How can I be better? I could start with just the basics.
Alex: Between being the Digital Content Strategist at Finish Line, to slaying it on the daily in your killer Alphets…what does a typical day look like for you?
Brandon: I get up and watch new product pushes online to make sure we are supporting them correctly on social [media] so our customers have the best shot at getting them. I get very protective about our company being the first source for our product information.
After that I usually head into work and grab a large Ice Caramel Coffee to get me energy for the day. The rest of my day is a mix of meetings, collaborating on projects, and researching for future trends and content ideas. Sometimes I’ll just be at my desk on Complex or Hypebeast and people will walk by, like:
“um, what are you doing, fam?”
Just like any other job, certain things have a tendency to exhaust you, but I am very fortunate to be doing what I love every day and to be surrounded by an incredible team.
Alex: Trying to keep up with technology is nearly impossible, but somehow you manage to stay ahead. How do you feel that the digital industry is changing as social media evolves?
Brandon: Everything happens so fast, it pushes you to be a little more off the cuff with content. Our communities want to see things on their level and have organic conversations around it. It allows you to reach a lot of people so quickly. Our digital content is typically the first impression for our online customers, so we have a great challenge and opportunity of influencing someone to believing in the story and appeal behind a product.
Alex: How do you manage to keep up with it? I feel like it would be exhausting.
Brandon: I stay glued to it all and try my hardest to never get too old. Once I can no longer organically relate to and produce content that resonates with the millennials, it is time for me to re-think my career path. This basically sums up my future:
Alex: A lot of people look up to you in the industry, between making moves at Finish Line, to writing for Complex. Who do you admire?
My family and my friends—nothing else really matters.
Alex: That…is a really awesome answer. If we looked through your closet, what would we find?
Brandon: John Elliot + Co for clothes and anything adidas Boost for sneakers. John’s hoodies, tees, and denim are the perfect blend of quality, comfort, and fit—seriously about all I wear now. adidas Boost line is the most comfortable series available right now and the designs and lines are clean but still noticeable enough to get props from people that geek over the rarest sneakers.
Alex: You have interviewed incredibly well respected people like Adidas Global Director James Carnes, just to name one. What’s your favorite thing that anyone has said thus far?
Brandon: It wasn’t so much what he said, but it was how passionate Theophilus London was when we spoke. That immediately made me a huge fan of anything he did. I’ve never interviewed Joe La Puma per se but he also has a way of drawing you in to his every word, just a lot of real life knowledge.
Alex: Any parting words?