Thursday, January 3, 2013

Brian Solis: Blazing Along The Social Media and Internet Marketing Trail

As one of the trailblazers in the realm of social media and internet marketing, Brian Solis has indeed come a long way.  Currently recognized as one of important and most prominent leaders in the new media industry, he is also an award-winning author, internet marketing guru, digital analyst, futurist, and aspiring social scientist.  Brian Solis is also a leading blogger via his blog, which is in Technocrati’s Top 100 business blogs and in AdAge Power 150’s Top 10 marketing blogs, and the host of Revolution, his very popular online video interview series.  He also hosts and curates the yearly Pivot Conference.

After establishing FutureWorks Labs and propelling it to the top, Brian Solis remains as its advisor while serving as one of the principal analysts of the Altimeter Group, a Silicon Valley research-based advisory company.  As he continues to study how new technologies affect human behavior and how the future of the popular culture can present opportunities to improve the relationship and experience of consumers with companies, Brian confesses to find himself assuming the student role once in a while.

Early Beginnings.  As a kid, Brian Solis confessed that he was really fascinated with technology and anything related to it.  He learned programming early on and started his career in a Southern Californian technology marketing agency as a database programmer.   Eventually, he found himself switching his interest and focus to advertising and marketing. 

In 1991, he officially entered the field of technology public relations when he worked in the Dodge and Mansfield firm, an agency based in Ventura, California.  He also became Director of Silicon Valley’s The Benjamin Group from 1993 to 1996.  During the 90s, Brian Solis began to become involved in early blogs, message boards, and communities.

Unlike most other marketing strategists, Brian did not believe in fluff, hype, or buzz words.  Instead, he believed in transforming specifications, capabilities, and benefits into timely solutions for the problems and opportunities in the real world.  It was during the mid-90s when he experimented with direct customer/consumer engagement via dedicated technology boards and forums.  From this, he developed new methods to engage people in a more informed and social way while marketing a product. 

FutureWorks Labs.  This eventually led him to start FutureWorks Labs, an agency dedicated to doing interactive marketing, in 1999.  FutureWorks eventually specialized in branding, business strategy, and new media marketing.  Through this company, Brian led the social and interactive programs for notable celebrities, Fortune 500 companies, Web 2.0 startups, and many leading brands. 

Altimeter Group.  In March 2011, Brian Solis joined the Altimeter Group as a principal analyst.  He works on new media frameworks and strategies with businesses in order to connect the companies with consumers, employees, and the other stakeholders. He also specializes in organizational transformation in order to help businesses introduce and implement new media resources, management layers, and systems and processes that respond to the needs of the social consumer.

Brian’s first book, Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Business to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web, was published in 2010.  It became helpful guide for effective social media practices and strategies and an important reference for organizations on how to conduct business and assess their success in the new media.

His latest book that was published in 2011, The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution, examines how top companies find success with their connected customers or the Generation C.  Aside from exploring the emergence of the connected customers, the book also looks into how businesses can compete effectively for the consumers’ attention and loyalty, build relationships with them, and improve a business’ relationship with its employees and consumers.

Brian also worked with Deirdre Breakenridge to publish Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, which became one of the communications industry’s important bestsellers.  He also partnered with Geoff Livingston in 2007 to do Now is Gone, a critically-acclaimed book that helped companies know why, how, and where to start in the new Social Media.

He contributed forewords to other published works, including Vincenzo Cosenza’s Social Media ROI, Michael Brito’s Smart Business, Social Business, Becky Carroll’s The Hidden Power of Your Customers, Deirdre Breakenridge’s PR 2.0, Jacob Morgan’s Twittfaced, and Sean Percival’s MySpace Marketing.  He also contributed to BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Mashable, AdAge, and Harvard Business Review.

During the early 2000s, Brian realized that big changes were unraveling and that many others like him were finding success with the internet, which was becoming a more social and democratic form of media.  He spent time to share everything he knew and learned via the articles, blog posts, and books he wrote.  He actively wrote about new marketing and businesses, emerging business models, and disruptive technology. 
Brian was also one of the leaders who worked to define and organize the “Social Media” movement, which significantly helped in establishing it as a definite media category.  He also wrote “The Social Media Manifesto” in 2007, a certified worldwide hit that detailed why organizations should rethink their business, service, and marketing strategies in the face of the developments in the social media. 

In 2008, Brian designed an infographic that depicts the various social media categories and called it The Conversation Prism.  In 2011, he came up with another infographic that depicts how brands propagate on the transmedia or digital media landscape.  His admirable work in the emerging social enterprise earned him accolades like the CRM Magazine’s 2010 Influential Leader and SoftwareAdvice’s 2011 Authority of the Year awards.

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