Friday, April 10, 2009

Experts in the Industry: Ken Burbary (69 of 45)

Here are just a few words I would use to describemy friend, Ken Burbary, VP of digital at Big Communications... smart, thoughtful, sports enthusiast, late. Doh! [Sorry Ken, I couldn't resist that last one]. Seriously though, Ken is one of those people that I've enjoyed following and chatting with on Twitter over the last couple of years. I was also fortunate enough to meet Ken when he came to Boston last fall when we held a tweetup in his honor.

Before I make Ken's answers to the Experts in the Industry series questions any later, let's see what he had to say:

In one sentence, please describe what you do and why you’re good at it.
I help companies navigate an incredibly complex online world to improve their online marketing, advertising and communication efforts. I focus on helping them develop the strategies and capabilities needed to do so. I'm a natural teacher, and get satisfaction from showing others "how to fish", and then watching them move forward successfully.

How did you get into the world of online community, social media or social marketing?
I've been involved long before we referred to it by those names. Basically, I'm a Digital native. I have my dad to thank for being an early adopter, and bringing some of the earliest personal computers into our house. I was an avid user of bulletin board systems in the 1980s, Compuserve, Prodigy, and then eventually AOL. All of that time online, interacting with others, eventually led me to the online marketing and advertising industry in the early 1990s. I'm hooked on it, and can't imagine doing anything else. Since then I've done corporate web marketing, some consulting and spent most of my time at agencies big and small.

If you had $10 million to invest in one company and one company only based on their use of “social,” which company would it be and why?
Easy answer. Zappos. Any company that is as focused on serving the customer as Zappos is will succeed in the marketplace, regardless of what they are selling. People remember how you made them feel. Zappos customers feel good about their interaction with the company, and that builds a strong relationship (aka loyal customer).

Which business leader, politician or public figure do you most respect?
Bill Gates. Refrain from rolling your eyes and hear me out first. He is an incredibly successful business leader (currently the wealthiest individual on the plant to be exact), and yet he also possesses a sense of social responsibility that we see in so few people in similar positions. What he and his wife are doing with the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation is a shining example of philanthropic work. He places a strong emphasis on the notion that everyone has equal value. He has given back a large part of his success (money and time) for the benefit of others. I respect his accomplishments and would like to see these qualities in more of our business, political or public leaders.

Would you join a toothpaste community? Why?
Yes, I absolutely would. If only to learn what actually happens in a toothpaste community so I could finally answer the question you've been asking for almost a year now. ;-)

In all seriousness, I don't have any personal interest in joining one but could probably learn more about online communities if I did join, even if it comes from one focused on toothpaste. I'm a optimist and try to see the positive in things.

Freeform – here’s where you can riff on anyone or anything – good or bad. Or just share a pearl of wisdom.
I debated coming up with something nifty to say here but instead want to thank the people that I have had the benefit of learning from, collaborating with, and allowed me to develop friendships that I cherish. This is hardly a comprehensive list (too many people to thank) but the people I frequently look to for guidance and/or inspiration when navigating the social space are Adam Cohen, Blagica Bottigliero, Damian Rintelmann, Amber Naslund, David Armano, Scott Monty, and YOU Mr. Strout. Thanks a million everyone!!

1 comment:

  1. Blagica and Damian are new names to my eyes, so now I have to go click and see who they are. Thanks, Ken!