Setting the Social Standard: Q&A with SVP Sales Dylan Conroy
As the buzz of terms like “influencer” and “creator brand campaign” wanes, having become more commonplace and understood, curiosity around their newness is replaced by an understanding that the change is a sign of the times; influencer/creator brand deals are the new normal. Still, despite its achieving normalcy, brands are discovering firsthand that it’s difficult business striking common ground between a brand’s desired messaging and a creator’s own personal brand. That’s where a company like the Social Standard shines.
The Social Standard is in the business of partnering creators and brands on the basis that fit comes first; The brand and the creative must be a succinct aesthetic and creative match. Take, for example, their latest facilitated brand partnership between Adobe and Casey Neistat.
This week, Neistat and Adobe invited a small team of carefully selected visual creatives to participate in creating work for 368, Neistat’s new media studio and creator community designed to accelerate creator culture and grow opportunities rooted in a highly engaged audience. The team was selected via an open call to designers, filmmakers, and photographers to participate in a freelance work week developing the creative DNA of 368.
The content output of the campaign as facilitated by The Social Standard will be a series of videos on Adobe and Casey’s channels (a cumulative 11m subscribers) documenting the design process with the selected freelancers.
Brand Storytelling caught up with Dylan Conroy, Senior Vice President of Sales at The Social Standard, to learn more about the developing campaign, what it takes to work with great creatives, and the immense value of collaboration:
This looks like the beginning of something big! How did this deal get put together?
It wasn't easy, that's for sure! It required the client and me to jump on flights with less than 24 hours notice a couple of times! When you want to work with someone like Casey, you don't just fill out a form on a website or send a DM on instagram. It took a lot of back channeling through relationships with other creators that are friends. Once we piqued initial interest, we had to build out a program that aligned with his brand and what is going on in his world. We saw what he was doing with 368, trying to build a physical space and a community that fosters collaboration for creators in NYC. That aligned closely with Adobe's goals of inspiring creativity. It was a great baseline for a partnership.
What makes Casey Neistat a good fit for Adobe in The Social Standard’s eyes?
Casey has huge scale which is important, but he also has such a genuine relationship with his audience. He's also one of the only creators who started on social and has bridged the gap to become a mainstream celeb. We also have some great tools that let us look at his audience beyond the basic data that's out there and know that a good percentage of his fans are working creatives. That helped us make the case with Adobe.
How do you get the best influencers and creators to come on board with you? How did you do it in this case?
I think it's a lot of things but probably the most important is reputation. You have to be known in the creator community as being professional, trustworthy, being willing to collaborate, and having the best interest of the client and the creator that fosters a partnership with both parties' goals in mind. In this case, we worked with our client to build a program that spoke to what we felt would resonate with Casey but also kept our primary goals in mind.
How does the way you foster relationships between new media creators and brands differ from other companies?
I think the biggest difference in our approach is collaboration. A lot of influencer companies try and wall off clients from talent. This is done in the name of a lot of things. Some frequent excuses we hear are that "you can't scale if the client wants to build a relationship with every creator they work with", or, "they don't want to turn talent off by giving too much feedback on creative". Really it comes down to transparency. We believe that if a client gets to know talent, and they build a direct relationship with them, that will lead to more work. Are we taking a risk letting clients be so directly involved with talent? Sure - but more times than not it leads to clearer stronger campaigns and longevity in partnerships.
When can we learn more about this developing partnership?
You will see the bulk of our content roll out in the early part of next year.
What’s in store for The Social Standard in 2019?
We are very excited about 2019. We are always looking to be first to market with new ways of using influencers. We were the first company to use influencers for Instagram Ads through our partnership with Buick last year. Facebook just announced that our program with Jeep was the first time a brand "went live with a friend" on instagram around our activation at WSL's Pipe Masters. We are very excited about the new work we are doing with podcasting and esports. Wherever talent is building new audiences and creating relationships with fans, we want to help brands be the first to leverage those opportunities.
The Social Standard will be represented at Brand Storytelling: A Sanctioned Event of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About Dylan Conroy
Dylan is the head of revenue for The Social Standard. He's also the host of the Ad Podcast, a podcast featuring interviews with the C Suite of Media companies, Brands and Agencies documenting his quest to build the worlds greatest sales culture.