Executive director, international strategy for BuzzFeed Keith Hernandez says people don’t want to be friends with brands.
In Sydney for the Mumbrella360 media conference, Hernandez told the audience: “People inherently don’t want to be friends with brands. The reality is they align to the content more and it speaks to them in a great way.”
BuzzFeed opened an Australian office early this year and Hernandez said he didn’t know if the site would get traction in international markets. “But we discovered the internet was universal.”
Since its local launch, the social sharing site has worked with a number of Australian brands including Kit Kat, ING, McDonald’s, CommBank, Telstra and 5 Seeds.
Hernandez said: “Right when we opened the door, brands came to us and said ‘hey, we’re interested in working with you’, that shows Australia is ahead of the curve with social storytelling.”
“The Buzzfeed mindset with brands is ‘we want to understand what you care about first’.”
“Humour always works but you have to be careful. Humour is one of the biggest holes you can fall in. People will jump onto humour and think they’re doing something fun but they might ruin 125 years of brand equity based on one fart joke
Internationally BuzzFeed is moving toward custom social video and Hernandez presented three examples of brands utilising this.
Hernandez also highlighted the importance of mobile to the BuzzFeed model. He said: “When we’re building stories we think mobile first. If it doesn’t get shared on mobile it won’t get shared.”
BuzzFeed’s Australian office is also expanding with Hernandez announcing that a breaking news reporter has been hired for the Sydney team.