Co-founder of Jacht Club now project manager for Archrival
By Jonathan Crutchfield
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
When Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of Earth’s atmosphere as a part of Red Bull’s Stratos project, Erin Reynolds and her Archrival team, located in Lincoln, Neb., were hard at work with their client.
“We did a lot of the consumer facing and digital content for that, like the live stream and some of the Facebook advertising,” Reynolds said in an interview.
Reynolds, a 2012 University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate with a degree in advertising/public relations, said it was fun to see the Stratos campaign make a huge global impact.
“It’s just really cool to be a part of a brand and a part of these campaigns that are seen globally, and knowing that people like yourself know what’s going on,” she said.
Reynolds is now the product and brand manager for Archrival and works with clients such as Red Bull, HP, Adidas and many more.
Q: How did your career start?
A: I was actually interning at The Minnow Project just across the street, and just did a lot of networking and was involved in pretty much anything you possibly could be in the journalism college and met Clint (Runge, creative director for Archrival) through networking and those sorts of activities. And we basically just started talking, and he offered me a position here at Archrival and I started working here a year ago.
Q: What is your role with Archrival?
A: Since Archrival is a small shop, we have a lot of crossover between creative, brand management and account services, so a lot of my day-to-day is project management for one of our largest clients, Red Bull, and a lot of that includes managing the project scope and working with my internal team here, like designers and developers, to make sure that the project is running smoothly. I create a lot of to-do lists, timelines and budgets; a lot more of mundane work. I’m also a community management specialist, and so I do everything that has to do with Facebook advertising that comes through here, I do a lot of social strategy, particularly for Red Bull and another one of our clients, Oakley. So I guess I’m not a social expert, but more of a social specialist.
Q: What interests you about social media?
A: I think, just my young age. I’m just a digital native, and I was pretty much raised in social media when it started in 2005 with Facebook and it’s just very second nature. Consumers these days don’t have an online/offline experience anymore, and it just completely merges together, and I think it’s fascinating how quickly it has evolved over the past seven to eight years and how it’s so inherent in our daily lives that you can’t ignore it. And it’s just a huge opportunity for marketers and brands, too.
Q: What are some things you think the general public doesn’t understand about social media?
A: I think there’s a lot. We’re really luck here to work with brands that are very much at the forefront of what’s going on and are very on par with trends and what’s hot and what’s not. But it is frustrating to kind of browse through your Facebook or even on TV and to see brands try tie in their social to their standard campaigns. I think a lot of brands that are behind the curve on trends think that Facebook is still king. Whereas, in reality, a lot more of the image and video-based sharing platforms are really at the forefront, such as Instagram – by far the most popular with its demographic – Vine, Videe, Tumblr and those sorts of sharing platforms. Especially with the youth market, when we see brands trying to win over that group on Facebook, they’re generally just not on Facebook anymore because their parents and their grandparents are all over it. And they see it as still necessary to have in their social media “pocket” if you will, but don’t go to Facebook first to share their life experiences. So I guess in general, it’s frustrating to know that a lot of brands are behind with what’s cool and what’s the best vehicle to move your brand forward.
Q: What kinds of changes have you seen social media gone through?
A: One, I think, is more recent than the other. I’ll start with the less recent. It’s the idea of Web esteem and … the fact that social media has become so integrated into our everyday lives. You often see individuals share things that they know will get a lot of likes or comments, or retweets or whatever, and so they are more apt to share those sorts of experiences on their social media to kind of paint this rosy picture of what their lives actually look like. Rather than letting social media be a part of life, they’re so often letting it define who they are and creating a digital identity, so I think that’s really interesting. There’s actually a lot of psych studies out there that revolve around what happens when someone posts something on Facebook and no one likes or comments on it, people suffer real psychological consequences from that, which is mind blowing to know that it’s so engrained in our everyday that it has those sort of effects. And then also, I would say the slow down of sharing that’s happened, especially recently. I don’t know if you’ve heard that the shelf life of a tweet is three hours if it has a link and four minutes if it doesn’t have a link attached to it. I think, especially last year, the influx of information was so rapid all of the time. Right now we’re seeing a little bit of a slowdown and a little bit more discretion when people are choosing to post on social media or tweet or create videos that will actually gain attention and some attraction, rather than just putting out something that was created in two minutes or less.
Q: What are some of your big accomplishments or big projects you are/have been a part of?
A: In undergrad, one of the best experiences for me was I was a part of the original group that started Jacht Club. It’s been really cool to see that grow and evolve over the past two and a half years and to know that I had a hand in the founding. That’s actually opened a lot of doors with networking and with absolutely having to be on top of my game and knowing what’s happening in the industry. Here, in my short time, I do work on Red Bull about 85 percent of the time. When I started last year, I got to be a part of the first Red Bull global air-drop. We’re doing it again actually, but I can’t reveal the date … it was really cool last year to see that make such a huge splash globally and people really loved it and were excited about it. It’s cool that we got to bring it back for year two. I had a little bit of a hand in the Red Bull Stratos, when Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space this last October, and we did a lot of the consumer facing and digital content for that, like the live stream and some of the Facebook advertising. It’s just really cool to be a part of a brand and a part of these campaigns that are seen globally, and knowing that people like yourself know what’s going on.
Q: Do you have any advice for students?
A: I’d say, first and foremost, is to read as much as possible. I know that sounds boring and mundane, but getting in on every industry blog, and even ones that don’t particularly relate to the industry, but something that you’re passionate about. I recommend making that part of your daily practice. Also, if you want to be in social media, you have to play in the game. Don’t just be a sidelines watcher, but get in there and create your own content. Stay on top of what’s cool and what’s not cool and just really demonstrate on your own personal channels, like how consumers like to be interacted with and how social is a real big advantage for brands, and yourself as a personal brand, also. In terms of involvement, I would just really, really, recommend getting involved, not just in the J-school, but also in undergrad organizations in general. It’s really, really true what they say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” You’d be so surprised at what organizations can open what door to which people. Just spreading your network as large as possible is my best advice, I guess.