How I met @thebrandbuilder

Or Olivier Blanchard as business associates and friends might know him

It all happened very quickly, impotent during the sessions of Leap into Digital, patient a one-day event organized by my colleague Amber Burton and Futurerising for our undergraduate students and looking into the all things digital as a place for future job prospects.

Mentions to monitoring and measuring social media efforts were often made and some of them included references to Olivier Blanchard and his Social Media ROI book but were not specific enough to indicate what the organizations that the speakers were representing were really doing to monitor and measure social media. If I were a student, I would have wanted to find that out rather than hear that there’s a book out there that people use or hear how great it is to work in and with digital and social media. I tweeted about that. It wasn’t in frustration or criticism, it was looking for an aswer.

And I got one, but not the one that I expected. Olivier Blanchard himself anwered good humoredly.

From there, to having him accept to join my Digital Communication Strategy students via Skype took 1 tweet, yes you’re reading it right: ONE. It took a couple of more tweets to set up the actual meeting and make it happen at time when he was in Europe however, that was to be expected.

When the time came, after some technological hickups, the class and Olivier were connected and we spent a good half an hour hearing, among others, his story about how he started to work with social media. Here’s the video:


Learning from @thebrandbuilder

  • Live what you preach. Olivier is helping companies with their social media strategy. One of the ways to show that he knows “his stuff” is by actively engaging with social media. I wonder, how many companies and consultant out there are offering social media services but hardly ever use social media for themselves?
  • Be polite even when you say things that others might not like. Olivier’s first reaction to my comment was sharp but made with a smile “If people mention me as their measurement answer, I should probably be on their payroll”. He showed that he listened and, perhaps, to a degree that he would be willing to work more with the people who mention him as their measurement answer.
  • Play, experiment, learn.
  • Give something back. To be honest, I have pondered for a very long time reaching out to Olivier and other industry stars, but I feared that I would be facing silence or at best a polite rejection since what I was asking was for their advice and time for free. I do not know why Olivier accepted my invitation but by doing so not only did he give the students taking my course an opportunity to hear his story, but he certainly inspired some of them with his eloquence, enthusiasm, confidence and smile. He contributed to their education by giving them something to aspire to, something to think of and he helped me, by enforcing (even if he didn’t know) many of the points I’ve been making throughtout the course.

For this lesson and all the others that he usually shares on his blog or otherwise, thank you Olivier!


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