In today`s Buzz Session we were lucky to catch up with Brian Solis Author of the acclaimed new book on social media and business, Engage!, Brian Solis is Principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning New Media marketing and branding agency in Silicon Valley and the Chief Web Analyst at PeopleBrowsr. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing.
1. First off what is the best part of your job and why do you do what you do?
My job…well let’s just say that I have several jobs at the moment. While I have run a new media marketing, branding and strategy firm for the past 12 years, I’m also an author, speaker, student and educator. We live in transformative times and I dedicate my personal and professional time to learning, interpreting, and sharing – understanding what’s unfolding and deciphering it in ways that allow others to embrace change and in turn help lead the way. I am inspired by the ability to have an impact and to also help others make sense out the interesting times.
2. You run a company called Future Works and also manage your own personal blog and brand BrianSolis.com – how do these two entities connect and what is your role in each of them?
My research and writing is published mostly at BrianSolis.com as well as in my books. I apply this insight at FutureWorks to benefit the brands we work with. I then share my real world experiences back in my writing and research to help others learn through both theory and practice.
3. Around the business and PR world you’re known as a thought leader, how did you get yourself into that category and what do you think was the biggest factor(s) in getting this recognition?
I’m often asked what it takes to be a thought leader and the only answer I can muster is that it starts with being a thought leader. Now, with that said, I don’t view myself as a thought leader, but I do challenge the system and the status quo to try things in ways that seem to align with behaviour and technology.
I noticed in the 90s that discussion groups, forums, and message boards, represented channels where brands could connect directly with consumers. But as marketers or communications professionals, were ill equipped to truly engage. It took a different approach. That approach would eventually require a supporting set new of alternative methodologies and systems. Over the years, I’ve shared my observations and vision and continued to do so relentlessly. As more “experts” hit the mainstream with the socialization of media, I was inspired to increase the volume and reach of my work in order to have a greater effect. It’s an overnight success 15 years in the making.
4. Here at our blog we recently talked about how publishing books as a consultant can really help with your career. Can you speak a bit on that and give any tips on how consultants can get started in the publishing world?
When I worked on my first two books with Geoff Livingston and Deirdre Breakenridge, I was often asked by my peers, peers who I might say are leaders in the new media industry, why I would write a book when blogging was obviously the future of publishing. My response was that a book wasn’t about just reaching who we already inspire, but those who don’t yet know we can help. Books provide a sense of tangible legitimacy and for many, they are the culmination of expertise and personal branding that speak for you in the physical world. The book is your sales and marketing team. They help people embrace your message and your experience and transform them into consumers of other media your produce as well as customers of the services you offer. Publishing is more important than ever before and with the advent of e-readers, your message can reach broader audiences.
However, everything begins with crafting a message and packaging it for the people you’re trying to reach and help. The irony of publishing today is that publishers want to see individuals develop personal brands online AND in the real world so their book has the potential to connect with a built-in audience.