Monday, July 26, 2021

Social Media, Brand Authenticity and Stories

Over the last 12 years, thanks to social media, I have had the privilege to meet a variety of amazing marketing, social media, and leadership experts from all over the world. One of these experts is Ross Simmonds from Canada, who I met on Twitter back in 2013. We recently had a discussion about digital marketing, and highlights follow Ross' bio.

Ross Simmonds is the Founder of Foundation Marketing, found online at, a content marketing agency that combines data and creativity to develop and serve ambitious brands. Foundation Marketing provides content marketing services to organizations all over the world ranging from some of the fastest-growing startups and consumer products to global Fortune 500 brands. Ross and the team at Foundation have launched marketing initiatives that reach millions of people and generate millions of new business opportunities through SEO and social channels like Instagram, Slideshare, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more. The company can be found on Twitter @FoundationIncCo, and Ross can be found on Twitter @TheCoolestCool.

QUESTION: Your pinned Tweet reads as follows:

“What's your Twitter strategy? It's simple:
I tweet about the things that are interesting to me (marketing, entrepreneurship, growth & software) and format them in a way that is easy on the eyes.
Oh. And I talk to people.
It's called "social" media for a reason.”

With over 33,000 followers in 12 years on Twitter, what are your best memories of that social media platform?

ROSS SIMMONDS: There are so many great moments that have happened on Twitter. I have a hard time thinking of just one, whether it's the random memes I come across that make me laugh out loud in real life, or the amazing opportunities that have come my way through content creation, sending DM's, building relationships, engaging with people, and more. There's no question that Twitter has opened up a lot of doors that would have been closed, had it not been for consistency in content creation on the platform. I have received news about everything from business to celebrity's deaths to new-found content that rewrote the way in which I think about business, life, and more. I can't really put my finger on one thing as to why Twitter is really valuable, but I can say with certainty that my life would be completely different if there were no such thing as Twitter.

TWEET THIS: I can say with certainty that my life would be completely different if there were no such thing as Twitter. -@TheCoolestCool #Twitter

QUESTION: In one of your Blog posts, you wrote, “Don’t be afraid to find your own lane(s) and win.” Can you explain that statement?

(Post referenced:

ROSS SIMMONDS: Everyone gets so caught up in the idea of competition and seeing what the other company marketer, influencer, or guru is doing, yet they lose sight of doing, themselves, what they envision as being the most important things. It's very easy to lose track of things that are interesting to you and the story that is truly your own. I believe every brand, human, and person on social media has their own authentic self that is often watered down and not brought to the forefront of their social media channels, but when you acknowledge that people want you to be different, and that people are okay with your being different, and you lean into that, you'll realize the game becomes a lot easier.

QUESTION: What brands stood out to you that pivoted during the pandemic?

(Post referenced:

ROSS SIMMONDS: The pandemic brought out a lot of good in a lot of companies. New Balance is an example of one organization who went from making shoes to making masks. Hoover, the vacuum company, went from making vacuums to making ventilators. And across the globe, there were distilleries that shifted from making hard liquor to making hand sanitizer. When you look at how organizations like these from around the globe came together to try to find a solution and move the culture forward, it's hard not to be an optimist.

QUESTION: What are your three favorite marketing campaigns of all time, and why?
ROSS SIMMONDS: Here are my three:
(1) I'm a big fan of the Old Spice commercials. I believe they fundamentally changed the way that marketers think about omni-channel communication.
(2) The Band-Aid brand did an amazing job with their story (in the 1980's, I believe). That jingle sticks in my head even today.
(3) Marvel and the combinations/integrations of multiple universes into one move franchise was great work...And I know a lot of people will say that's not a marketing campaign, but it ultimately connects with humans the way that marketing campaigns should.  

I believe there's a lot of inspiration that every marketer can take from how these stories have evolved and how they capture the attention of people of all different walks of life.

QUESTION: What does this quote mean to you? “Give something of meaning to your audience by inspiring, engaging, and educating them with story. Stop marketing. Start storytelling. ~@StorytellerAgcy”
ROSS SIMMONDS: Stories are the backbone of society. Stories are the backbone of culture. The world that we know, see, believe in, and move through is all built around stories. It's a story that we believe that money is a thing. It's a story that we believe that anything around us is a thing. It's all a bunch of stories. So yes, I one hundred percent resonate with that idea, because at the core of humans and what makes us special is that it's stories that connect us all to one another, stories that we tell each other, and stories that have allowed us to continue to progress as people.

TWEET THIS: Stories are the backbone of society. Stories are the backbone of culture. -@TheCoolestCool #brandstorytelling #brandexperience

My thanks to Ross for sharing his insights and for appearing here on my Blog.

Image Credit: Twitter and Ross Simmonds.

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