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Being Blunt Works for Chris Brogan

Chris Bro­gan tells it like it is. He’s a blog­ger, an author, jour­nal­ist, a con­sul­tant and a social media whizz, but unlike his peers, he’s brisk to the point of being blunt and could care less about Twit­ter and Face­book. Plus, he’s a man to watch close­ly if you’re search­ing for media jobs.

Brogan’s 2009 book Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influ­ence, Improve Rep­u­ta­tion and Earn Trust hit the New York Times and Wall Street Jour­nal Best­seller list as well as the Ama­zon Top 100. His sec­ond offer­ing Social Media 101: Tac­tics and Tips to Devel­op Your Busi­ness Online also enjoyed great success.

He’s writ­ten for Entre­pre­neur mag­a­zine, he’s a suc­cess­ful blog­ger – cur­rent­ly sits in the top five of the Adver­tis­ing Age Power150 – he launched the Pod­Camp uncon­fer­ence series and won the Mass High Tech All Stars Award in 2008.

As well as the above list of acco­lades, Chris Bro­gan is also pres­i­dent of Human Busi­ness Works and founder of Kitchen Table Com­pa­nies. He also serves on the board of HubSpot.

What’s His Story?

Bru­tal­ly hon­est, Chris Bro­gan will not tell any­one what they want to hear. In fact he prides him­self on his hon­esty and believes busi­ness­es have a duty to take risks and be total­ly upfront with their cus­tomers and stake­hold­ers. This he believes, is the only way they can inte­grate social media into their over­ar­ch­ing mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy and grow their sales.

“Mar­keters spend so much time wor­ry­ing about how to say some­thing,” he said. “Want to know a secret? If they spent 10 per cent more effort on learn­ing to lis­ten bet­ter (dig­i­tal­ly), they’d make tons more money.

“Mar­keters think they’re paid on clever. Agen­cies prop­a­gate that stereo­type. Mar­keters should be paid on rev­enue claimed. That would change the sto­ry­line dras­ti­cal­ly, don’t you think? To me, lis­ten­ing is the new black and will be for a long time.”

He’s a firm believ­er in not only hon­esty, but using cold, hard data to shift units and increase prof­its. He argues that tra­di­tion­al mar­ket­ing has had its day and when retail­ers for exam­ple, can use soft­ware to pin­point which aisles cus­tomers linger on and even iden­ti­fy the prod­ucts they hov­er around and lots of oth­er incred­i­ble infor­ma­tion;  a snarky tagline and a cute char­ac­ter devel­oped by a remote agency just isn’t going to cut it, accord­ing to Brogan.

Mov­ing Forward 

A pio­neer of Web 2.0 – Bro­gan start­ed blog­ging when it was still called ‘jour­nal­ing’. And remem­ber all of the PR hype sur­round­ing ‘the con­ver­sa­tion’? Chris Bro­gan and his con­tem­po­raries start­ed it. When you’ve got that kind of pedi­gree you can afford to be abrupt.

He is an out­spo­ken pro­po­nent of email mar­ket­ing and has been asked many times how he sees the future of Social Media devel­op­ing and you may be sur­prised by his response. He hopes it’s going to go back­wards. Yes, backwards.

He said: “I think the next net­works will be unlike what we’ve seen. I keep hop­ing some­one will pick up on what Nine Inch Nails (yes, the band) did years ago.

“They made a loose social net­work heav­i­ly mobile-based, that gave peo­ple prox­im­i­ty based net­work­ing. NOT Foursquare. Not ‘here’s every­one’, instead, ‘here’s every­one who feels like talk­ing about ____’

“That’s the sex­i­est thing. These ‘from the ash­es’ brands are just try­ing hard to revive, but you know what they’re try­ing as mod­els? Same thing: ads. The Inter­net is far more rich than ads. That’s just the easy first layer.”

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