My team is a team of spectacularly talented people. They are arguably some of the best minds in this field — the field of spontaneous creative brand communication. If that seems like a series of buzzwords, I’ll remove the wank factor — we’re social media strategists. We’re the people who impersonate your favourite brands on Facebook. We write the tweets. We make the carefully planned and executed ‘hidden camera’ pranks. We are the ones who find a link between Kim Kardashian’s latest newsmaking belfie and a chicken burger. We are the ones deciding whether your online snark constitutes an actual attack on our brand, and in all probability, we’re the ones who write back for your favourite tech company or fast food brand or car maker.
It’s an interesting and ludicrous profession, tantamount to impersonating fictional characters. Brands aren’t real anyway, but at least twice a day I have conversations about what a brand would and wouldn’t do. Brands don’t have lives, but I run their Instagram accounts and pretend they do. And I’m part of a team of more than twenty people, who (to varying degrees) either sit at the digital coalface and respond, or sit in the brainstorming vault and come up with cool shit for brands to do, so that people buy their product, based on a Facebook post. It’s a hard job to explain to the family.
For as long as I’ve done this job, there’s been a debate about the nature of ‘reactive content’ vs ‘ narrative content’. Is it better to jump on the news cycle, or to start one? Is it better to create fast, unrefined content to attach yourself to the news through parody/comment, or create something that might get picked up and become news?