So What Do You Mean When You Say “Digital”

When you think of the term “digital,” you automatically think “digital = social media.” You’re off to a great start but there is a little more to it. A few things I wanted to break down about the digital sphere is what does it really mean and what should you know about it?

It’s crazy to think that the apps we are so familiar with now: Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, will be completely different in 3, 5, and 10 years. Think about when we are older and see our kids on their iPhones, will we be able to comprehend what ever their newest obsession is on social media? I hope so. *GASP* As I think about not being able to keep up with social media someday.

SO WHAT DOES DIGITAL MEAN?

In today’s day and age, brands cannot thrive if they don’t have a digital presence. It is one thing having a Twitter account on behalf of a brand but what is the strategy behind it? What is the voice/ tone of the brand? Is it playful? Serious? Goofy? A combination? Having a digital presence on behalf of a brand means being up to speed with day to day news stories, and engaging yourself into conversation when appropriate. If an alarming dairy study came out and had the possibility to negatively effect the dairy industry, brands like Horizon Valley and Darigold might make a statement via social media channels where they see fit. A cereal brand MAY be able to enter the conversation because milk + cereal are essential to one another (obvi), but it might be trying a bit too hard if a poultry or chip brand tried to enter the conversation. Milk is to cereal as chips is to guac. Chips to milk? Mission abort.

Digital takeaways that I think are important may be different than someone who doesn’t have a background in public relations. In fact, someone who has been in public relations for 10+ years might have a different outlook on all things digital and where it is going. But, as far as my millennial self goes, here are a few key takeaways.

  1. Digital is always changing.

    And with that, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Take the realm of social media with a grain of salt. We as millennials can adapt to just about anything and if one thing is for certain, we can quickly adapt to digital change and transformation. Just last week, Facebook launched it’s rendition of Facebook Stories, which is similar to SnapChat and Instagram features. “How will we keep up with all of our stories?” is a question I think many of us have along with how will our phone batteries withstand all of the different networks. I am curious to hear people’s feedback at the very least. And in case you were wondering, Facebook creeping is no longer anonymous when it comes to FB Story.

  2. Brands are creating “influencer programs” for just about anything.

    If you have a passion for financial planning, colorful floors, or new and inventive cocktails, there is most likely someone out there who has worked with a brand who’s core values match that of the brands. Amazon just had a soft launch of an influencer program into beta where the new program will offer influencers commission on products sold, but is not open to the public. So in short, if you consider yourself an influencer, there is most likely a brand that fits your image and what you like to write about. And in case you were wondering, Amazon influencers must submit an application to be included.

  3. Digital platforms can tell a story from beginning to end.

    It is one thing to read a blog post about someone’s travel experience. But what was the actual story of it? Brands are continuing to work with the customer and not just for the customer, which is well stated in HBR. The customer continues to be kept top of mind and at the forefront of conversations. What are the consumer’s tastes changing to and how can brands quickly adapt? Digital strategy is essential to story telling and paralleling with the mind sets of consumers.

  4. Ways to measure a digital campaign is essential to success.

    You would not believe the tools companies use on the back end to measure success, especially for digital campaigns. Facebook ads are measured in so many ways (think engagement, click throughs, point of sale). It is every brand’s dream to be on the front page of the New York Times, and can you guess why? It has the ability to reach so many people. As of 2016, the NY Times has 72.9MM unique monthly viewers. Where do you even begin to measure the success of this kind of placement? Different measuring tools help answer different questions: How many people viewed the article, how many shared it, commented on it, how was SEO involved. One tool I recently learned about can track who viewed a certain page, clicked on the “donate now” hyperlink on the page, and then actually donated! 50% incredible and 50% creepy. I think you get the point.

What do you think is the next turning point in the digital space? I am curious to hear from my millennial pals and digital experts as well! Hope this helped clear up any questions you might have had about all things social media/ digital!

XO.

Lex

Chatting with Brandon Edler: Finish Line Digital Content Strategist

Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 12.57.47 AM“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.”

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.

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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?”

“I’m working.”

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.

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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:

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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?

 Brandon: Cash Money Records and No Limit Records influenced my whole life.

 

 

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