Posted on 01 October 2012.
I’ve been involved in social media now since 2009, which isn’t a long time in most people’s books, but in this industry it can feel like an eternity. During this time I have watched those who have been doing great things in sport and social media, people who think like I do.
One of those who constantly caught the eye wasn’t in Europe but over the pond in the US. That person was Amy Jo Martin, the founder of Digital Royalty; someone who took the risk and set up her own business in an industry that didn’t really exist at the time. Something I admire.
She started off working with the one and only Shaquille O’Neill – an enviable first client! Since that time she can include some of the biggest names in US sport; Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), the UFC (and its president Dana White), the Chicago White Sox , FOX Sports and LA Kings.
But it’s not only sport she has been busy helping navigate these new seas; add to the previous list Zappos, Double Tree by Hilton and The X Factor USA.
Not a bad list of clients!
Recently, I was one of the lucky few who managed to get my hands on Amy’s first book. At the moment it is available on pre-order with general release tomorrow (2nd October).
The book is entitled “Renegades Write the Rules”. It hits upon two of my reading passions; Social Media and Entrepreneurship. (I’ve read many autobiographies from business giants including Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Google, Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis and Duncan Bannatyne.)
What Amy has produced is a personal insight into her experiences as she evolved from Director of Digital Media & Research at the Phoenix Suns to running her own successful company.
My most recent book aquisition in this area was ‘Velocity – the Seven Rules of a World Gone Digital’ by founder of AKQA, Ajaz Ahmed, and Nike’s VP of Digital Sport, Stefan Olander. It was very much a conversation, concentrating on their beliefs and punctuated by the odd case study. It was interesting without being inspiring.
“Renegades Write The Rules” offers more of what I enjoy reading. It really fired up the mind, providing inspirations that had me dreaming up new ideas. It is creating this inspirational feeling that makes a book significant for me.
One of the biggest announcements she (and almost anyone in sport) has been involved with was the shock announcement about Shaq’s retirement. Rather than it being a straight press release or tweet, they went one step further, planning out the script for 15 seconds of video using the new app Tout.
It sent shockwaves around the NBA universe.
“The mind-boogling statistics of Shaquille’s tweet are ultimately the result of a creative, personalized communication strategy that anyone can use as a template for social media success and much more. The foundation is an understanding of a major shift that has occurred in our media-driven world that established a new rule of innovation.”
“No longer do the broadcasters, advertisers and PR moguls control the news. In the digital age, you are the media.”
Yes, this was Shaq talking to his 2.1m fans but it is open for others to try as well. This is not a matter of doing one off stunts, but building up a relationship and trust with fans so that when something like this does happen they are ready to listen.
It’s about laying sound foundations when it comes to your social media presence and working on what you are connecting with people about. As Amy says “The foundation is mattering in people’s lives. The more often you matter, the more often people will tune in.”
“…to matter, you have to continually deliver something your audience finds valuable, even if that value is simply great entertainment.”
Amy draws our attention to the fact that for all the changes we have seen in the technology, the human behaviour behind it has rarely altered. The real change has been in our ability to reach others in real time around the world.
Many brands are still very faceless on social media, much as they always have been, because they are used to controlling the message and perceptions of their brand with consumers. Now that has all changed. At the end of the day, people like to deal with people. How many times have you been faced with choices between different items to buy or services to bring in? And how many times have you gone with recommendations from friends or because you know someone within that service?
So, in this new world of communication, how can we ensure that our brands are the ones that remain trusted and at the forefront of peoples minds? Well we look to personalise our brand and give it character through the people within the business.
Amy talks about building loyalty with the people who are engaged with your product, whether that be a hotel or the NFL. Looking past the sponsorships, advertising campaigns and logo placements and thinking about how to actually connect with fans.
[Connecting with People, not Logos]
The book makes you think about what you are doing and how it can be done better (or differently). If your methods aren’t working then it may help you to find out why and gain new motivation to bring about the change needed.
What Amy delivers isn’t a “5 steps to social media success” but an honest look at the work she has done, what has worked and how this journey has impacted on her personal life.
Do you see yourself as a Renegade? Do you find yourself ‘colouring outside the lines’? Then you should read this book, you will take a lot from it. Even if you are not quite so much the renegade there are enough anecdotes to spark off ideas and give you new things to go into work with the next day (and the day after).
Is the book perfect? No. Is it going to be of interest and useful to many of us in the industry and those who just want to learn more? Definitely, yes. And the reason is where the book starts, when her boss wrote down three words:
‘Work. Family. Self.’
“Choose two,” she said. “You can’t have all three.”
But Amy Jo Martin, Digital Royalty and ‘Renegades Write The Rules’ prove otherwise.
So well done Amy on a great first book. If I find myself in Las Vegas at any stage I’ll certainly pop into the Digital Royalty office and say hi to the rapidly expanding crew!