brand journalist

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Brand journalists aren’t for every company. Certainly most small companies can’t afford them. The first brand journalist I ran into worked for JWT, a forward thinking ad agency. He worked on Microsoft and helped the brand do some really smart things in the B2B space. But he worked for the agency. When I moved client side to an educational technology company, I was lucky enough to have a chairman with enough vision to see the value of a brand journalist. We hired a photographer/videographer who was also a wonderful visual storyteller. His ability to make people feel things was amazing and powerful.

Thomas Simonetti was his name and he came to us with a newspaper background. The company we worked for, Teq, had a great brand strategy and I helped Thomas understand it: the claim and the proof planks. The plan was Thomas’s story guide. His mission: Go forth, research, compile and communicate stories that convince consumers that are what we say we are. We do what we say we do. We live how we say we live.

A traditional journalist has no agenda. That’s what makes them good. Brand journalists have an agenda. And that’s what make brands great. And rich. And successful. Peace.


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My current company Teq is looking to hire a person who is part blogger, part videographer, part brand raconteur. At JWT there is a great writer and mind — Kyle Monson, whose title was Brand Journalist. Today, he is titled Editor and Content Strategy Director.  I like his previous cognomen better.  I’ve used the words Media Socialist a few times in my blog but never put a job spec together for it. Media socialist, to me, suggests all media are important and all parts of the target are important.  But my company is in the business of selling educational development, with the emphasis on selling, so I’m going to use the title Content Socialist, putting the focus on the message rather than the media.

The hire will have to manipulate readers and viewers with strong content, but that will only work if the content is good for the community – the tribe.  Too many social media professionals are about their brand and the pass along.  They should be about what’s good of the target community.  One of my guard rails for social is “be interested in what your target is interested in.” That’s social. 

Social media professionals will abound in corporate marketing departments in coming years. Soon, ours will have its first content socialist and I am ecstatic. Peace!

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