Social Trends Podcast: Let’s Mourn the Death of Spray and Pray Marketing

Last week, I announced that we have a brand new Podcast coming up, and we’re thrilled that it’s here now and we’re ready! Through the Social Trends Show, we will share ideas, expert comments and trends on social and digital media. Episode one of the first season is now on SoundCloud today! We’ve also sent in our sync request to iTunes, and once accepted, it’ll be live there as well.

Listen to to the show here:

Social Trends Podcast: Let’s Mourn the Death of Spray and Pray Marketing

Credits of the show/ music:
Production: hosted by Upasna Kakroo
Show Guest: Nick Brennan is the Founder & CEO of Watch Social Media, a social media marketing firm based in Chicago, IL. Nick started WSM after working in sales and marketing for tech, public relations and consulting firms throughout the Midwest. He is an avid craft beer and cocktail enthusiast as well as a mediocre home-brewer.


Upasna: Hey everyone! My name is Upasna and I’m thrilled to welcome you to the first audio series produced by Brandanew. Podcasts are such a fantastic way to connect and share stories, that I’m amazed that I could stay away from it for so long. The idea really made more sense from the writer’s community that I’m a part of in Ann Arbor. We realized the voice you have when you create stories is kind of different from when you speak them out aloud. There’s definitely some sort of a commitment and a stronger engagement when you hear yourself back. And I am hoping that’s what you feel at home or in the car as you listen to these stories. This is the first season and we would present 7 sessions for you, twice a month through summer.

As a note, all the content has been produced and sponsored by Brandanew which is a content marketing and branding firm. We’re based out of Ann Arbor but our guests are from all over the world- which is truly fantastic, considering we do talk about global social and digital trends. You can find more about us at

Without further ado, I’d like to share what this season is all about. We’ve managed to have conversations with social media experts, editors, bloggers, creatives and startup owners to look at their own crystal balls and let us know what the future looks like. We’ll be discussing trends, consumer behavior changes and what companies can do to stay on top of things in the marketplace for 2017 and beyond. If you’re a business owner, a blogger or just someone interested in this rapidly changing space, it would wonderful to get your feedback and questions. Tell us what you disagree with or what speaks to you the most!

The first guest we connected with, is Nick Brennan, founder and CEO of Watch Social Media – a boutique social media firm based out of the very Windy city of Chicago. Nick had some fantastic ideas about social and the rationale behind key digital trends we see today. And what we should should expect going forward.

Before we do that, here’s a word from our producers

The first season of The Brandanew Social Trends show is edited by Upasna Kakroo. Our theme music is called Fingerpoppin’ and our break music is called Celebration. Both of these come to us courtesy of

Upasna: Welcome back.

The first thing we checked with Nick on was his own story. How did he get started in the social media/ digital marketing field. And here’s what he had to say,

Nick: I got into social media marketing primarily because I am a millennial myself and I find that social media has so much to offer to businesses large and small. And I learned a lot of that in my previous work life. I worked for small tax startups, mid-sized consultants firms and for larger organizations as well. 

Working with a variety of companies and clients in a sales and marketing capacity, taught me that there were a lot of commonalities between the way that people think they are perceived, the way they want to be perceived and the things they need to do to change how they’re perceived in the industry. To me social media is such a big part of giving them the opportunity to do that. 

So when I took my writing experience, which is something I’ve always enjoyed doing on the side, as well as prior background in sales and marketing, I felt that i had a little bit of a jack of all trades situation going on where I had enough to bring to the table – from I understand your business and your world perspective, as well as hey I am a young guy in the tech field that understands the strengths and weaknesses of these platforms and how really to apply those to whatever situation your organization brings to the table. For me, I thrive on change. The tech and social media space is always changing. And a big reason why I started the company is that social media is the intersection of all these things that I am very passionate about. 

Upasna: The most fascinating part about this new world really is the pace. To think that Pokemon Go has over taken Twitter and Instagram in active usage in the US in a couple of days is so shocking if you compare it with the fact that it took Television took 75 years to get to a number of 50 million users. Our adoption and consumption of technology is moving at an unprecedented pace. What does that really mean for companies?

You’d obviously think that every firm wants to stand out in the digital marketplace and get their share of the pie. But on the other had consumers are bombarded by new adverts. What are the key necessities for an organization trying to reach future customers?

Nick weighed in on this one, and here’s what he had to say.

Nick: The biggest thing with social media marketing and digital marketing in general when trying to reach your future customers is understanding where they are. And that sounds like common sense, but unfortunately too many organizations waste money and time jumping on the latest platform or the latest bandwagon because those platforms are getting headlines. And they do so before they’ve had a chance to understand the demographic of people that are joining those networks. So it’s a shot in the dark completely and it happens over and over and over again to organizations and they never understand why they’re not getting traction. Obviously all this is prefaced on the idea that you know who your customers are.  That really is step one. So who they are and where they are.

Upasna: This was pretty much on target. Most of our clients and those interested often struggle with just the proliferation of platforms everywhere, and often don’t know which ones to pay attention to or scale. Nick went on further to nail down what most businesses were missing and failing at.

Nick: What I want to hit on, where a lot of organizations fail to spend too much time is who they are as an organization. To me, understanding how you are perceived in the industry versus how you are perceive yourself in the industry, acknowledging that difference and figuring out how you want to be perceived and then analyzing how do I change the perspectives of people you want to target on the platform that they’re on and that their time is spent on is key. And it’s that third key component- that idea of the perception, the way a brand resonates or doesn’t resonate with people, that organizations doesn’t put too much time into. In order to get a campaign started off on the right foot, you have to understand all three of those components and you have to bridge that gap- that perception gap is too huge , so too often people that don’t understand marketing well – they think it’s as simple as putting out a great creative and just watching the sales roll in. But that idea of who we are compared to our competitors. Are we perceived as a market leader, are we perceived as a competitor to a market leader, are we even on our core consumer’s radar, those kind of conversations have to dictate the messaging that you’re using on the platforms where your core consumer is. Because, if the messaging says, I am the best and you are not perceived that way, you could be doing more harm than good. So, I think it’s really a combination of understanding who your core consumer is, where they are , how they perceive you- who you are and then figuring out how to bridge the gap and create the creative around the change that must be made. That’s how you find your best future customers.

Upasna: This does make you wonder who’s got it all sorted. We asked Nick for his personal favorites when it came to doing digital media right. Also in this race for getting to the right customers, what was it that really mattered?

Nick: Two of my favorite companies when it comes to branding are Red Bull and Apple. When I look at the best branding lists for the past decade or so, they are consistently mentioned and they deserve it beyond all belief.

Red Bull has always had its “it gives you wings” campaign which I think is super identifiable for them. But for me, I think the reason they do so well digitally is all the events they do. As a global brand they keep it fresh by getting involved internationally in a way that few other brands can. They’ve gotten involved in everything from motor sports, to music, to e-Sports to extreme sports. There’s really no other company out there that can produce a drink like that and then get involved in everything from a Nascar race to a guy jumping out of the stratosphere. I think the interesting thing about it is that regardless of where you are geographically, they’re almost guaranteed to be involved in something you’re interested in. Even though we’ve got all these cultural differences from one country or one continent to the next, they’ve become so ubiquitous wide because they’ve turned themselves into a media outlet of their own. Their digital coverage of these events is so spectacular almost to the point that many would rather check out their coverage over traditional media outlet’s coverage of some of these events. When it comes to them, they’re doing everything right, even though when you look at them from a media perspective, it has almost nothing to do with their product itself, which is why its so engaging.

Apple on the other hand, they put their focus on the products in such a real world benefit oriented way that you don’t even feel that you’re being marketed to. You just simply want to be involved. And you want that perk. So what I am talking about here is the shot of an iPhone 6 campaign which started last year and rebooted this year with the iPhone 6S and the camera’s so incredibly important when it comes to social media today that you see these ads and you identify because you’re using Instagram , you’re using Snapchat. You understand that video is huge and that camera seems like a small component of the device, but it lets you do so much in such a high caliber way. Their campaigns don’t have the energy that Red Bull’s do, but they put the emphasis on the right thing so that the consumers realize that they can create beautiful work with their devices that they put in their pockets versus having to go out and get some expensive DSLR and that kind of connection is something that rarely happens in marketing today.

The key takeaway from both of these companies is that they have to be authentic. Their authenticity shines through and a lack thereof is always deadly. So tie your campaigns and ideas to what your company is all about and you will be well on your way to create a great digital brand for yourself.

Upasna: Trustworthiness and authenticity are 2 of the top 5 attributes listed by millennials for brand marketing. And it’s not just the US. 63% of consumers surveyed across 12 global markets would buy from a company they consider to be authentic over and above its competitors. That’s remarkable! Nick spoke about more digital trends that he sees the markets going towards…

Nick: Social media platforms and marketing on those platforms is going to dominate for the foreseeable future. Quite frankly, people don’t want to be sold to anymore. And social media puts them in the driver’s seat that they don’t have to be in that situation. The internet has made it incredibly easy for people to find out what they want about a company’s offering and what people think about it, and what the drawbacks and the benefits of working with XYZ company are these days. We’re in this situation where people come to the table ready to buy now because they’ve already pre-wetted  these companies out. And social media is such a huge part of their ability to do that. But I think where the big change is from what we’ve seen in the past, 10 years ago before social media but when the internet was churning, was that now people are looking for more than the best product. They want to know who they’re buying from and what those people stand for. So what’s happening now is that social media is the place for the company to not only talk about themselves on occasion but talk about who they are. And sell themselves socially and sell the personality behind the company. When it comes to the marketing side of this conversations advancements in social media analytics is where it is at for the companies themselves.

Social Trends Podcast: Let's Mourn the Death of Spray and Pray Marketing

Upasna: While we agree that social is the way to go, there’s also a definite sense in the industry that it’s overwhelming and people are feeling saturated with so much brand messaging across so many different networks. Nick think this is in fact quite the reason why another trend is picking up…

Nick: This spray and pray marketing is completely out, it’s a waste of money and new tech is allowing for hyper tech, hyper relevant marketing. Tech enables this approach but it’s actually born out of necessity. People are tired of  being marketed to and they’re tired of the noise, and they’re tired of the 100s if not 1000s of times they see advertisements every day. However when a relevant creative finds the right person, everybody wins. Thats why this hyper targeting is so key and the tech behind it is what is allowing orgs to use and benefit from social media platforms. The other side of the same conversation that same hyper targeting are these niche networks that are coming up. And again this is a product of people being tired of the noise that they get when they’re on bigger platforms. For businesses you could argue that maybe the volume isn’t there like it’s on Facebook where they are billions of people on the network but you know that you’ve got somebody who’s interested in doing what you’re doing because its a hyper targeted smaller community. And because people are so tired of the noise, they become more willing to join these smaller communities that serve exactly what they’re looking for. Businesses have a unique opportunity there because of that. They don’t have to worry about being noise to people on aren’t on the network, because people are on these XYZ niche networks specifically because they’re interested in whatever you do as a company.

Upasna: Before we continue further, another a word from our producers

You’re listening to the first season of The Brandanew Social Trends Show. Our theme music is called Fingerpoppin’ and our break music is called Celebration. Both of these come to us courtesy of

If you’re interested in social media and digital marketing trends, don’t forget to check out the content marketing 101 eCourse listed on Invest in your own learning and stay ahead!

Upasna: Welcome back.

Being authentic, staying closely aware of where the consumer’s at- especially with hyper targeted small networks, brand marketers may in fact discover the way to find elusive the millennial consumer. Nick who’s a millennial himself, offered some rich advice…

Nick: Along those same lines when it comes to consumer trends, the analytics are going to be really big and companies will need to stay on top of where the audience demographic is and specifically the millennial market place. Right now boomers have a much greater spending power. But as the millennials age, that’s going to change. And the thing about the millennial generation is that it’s a lot harder to stay on top of them than the older generation, who were a bit more averse to technological change. Millennials jump ship more quickly compared to their elders when it comes to technology. People use videos for example which is the hottest trend right now. Boomers aren’t really interested. Platforms like Snapchat and Periscope are dominated by our youth but you never know if its going to stay that way. So staying on top of the millennials- where they are at and where they are spending their time, through those analytics is huge for organizations today particularly those selling into the B2C space.

Upasna: I’d definitely say that these digital and social trends are not just critical for B2C but any sort of personal or professional brand. No matter what sort of a business it is, most of your consumers are on social media and experiencing digital like never before. Sometimes it sounds complex and overwhelming, but it’s also fun when you start using data to make decisions that create opportunities for your brands. Doesn’t it?

Come back next time, when we speak to our next guest expert and discuss another facet of digital media marketing. If you had questions, write to us at on Twitter at @brandanewco or drop us a line via These are exciting times and we can’t wait to share more!

Have a good week everyone!


Upasna Kakroo

Upasna co-founded Brandanew in 2014 for the sheer love of storytelling and authentic connections. She has been blogging and documenting digital stories since 2003.