We sat down with Ayokay’s newest digital strategist, Brandon Harris to ask him some questions about his role at the company. We’re so excited to have him come back to the company! Keep reading to learn what things Brandon stans and how his work writing novels helps him in digital marketing.
Q&A with Brandon
Q: What brought you to Ayokay?
A: Well . . . I had already worked with Jack back in 2012 or 2013. Coming off a high-paying customer service position in the wireless space, I was doing a lot of writing for them—mostly how-tos and “Tech Notes”-style pieces on the corporate level. That company merged with another and I was made redundant. (The British have such a nice way of saying “you were fired.”) Around then, Jack was looking for what would be his first Ayokay employee. He asked me to join; I joined. The rest is Ayokay-History.
In my role, I was fine-tuning my coding skills, learning about marketing trends, data analysis, and other skills that continue to help me today.
I met the l.o.m.l.* in 2015 — I remember it because it was the year before Prince died (rest in power) — and made the decision to move to South Bend shortly thereafter. But I still worked on projects here and there for Ayokay and finished projects that I was on.
Jack asked me a couple times to come back to Ayokay full-time, but the positions he was looking for were probably better suited for others. When he told me he was looking for an SEO person who would also do some copywriting, I knew the time was right to come back home.
* “love of my life“
Q: What’s one thing that you wish people knew about your job?
A: On the writing side: Yes, everyone can write. No, not everyone should write. Because not everyone can write well.
On the SEO side: SEO isn’t a one-and-done thing. Nor is it an overnight fix. It requires constant vigilance and patience. And, if I’m being honest, a fair bit of luck.
On Continued Growth:
Q: What are some areas you’d like to learn more about while at Ayokay?
A: Probably traditional marketing—meaning, things like buying media time and the like.
And also more coding stuff, too. I would like to become an expert on that technical side of SEO.
I know folks who can take a quick look at an SEO log, analyze it, and understand some basic problems just from the log files. That’s #bossSkills right there!
On Empathy & Writing:
Q: You’ve mentioned that you write novels. Can you say a little bit about what that process is like for you and how, if at all, it influences your work at Ayokay?
A: It’s all storytelling, really. Advertising has always been about storytelling, and digital marketing is no different. That’s why folks create personas—businesses need to have a starting point with their marketing efforts, just like a novel needs to have a starting point for their narrative. For most companies, that starting point is a persona; for most novels, a protagonist.
If you’re trying to sell something, you want to be empathic with your audience—understand where they’re coming from and the problems they’re having, and how your product can help solve that problem. From there, you need to tell the story of your product as it relates to them; otherwise, it’s just words on a page/screen.
On Having Fun:
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I play Dungeons & Dragons (which helps a lot with writing) and . . . well, write. I used to DJ fairly often (which is where Jack and I originally met).
I was fond of going out dancing but COVID really sucked that life out of me.
Anything Else Before We Go?
“The things I stan:“
- A well-placed semicolon.
- camelCase (and PascalCase, if I must)
- Descriptive > Prescriptive, which leads me to
- Language is not mathematics, which leads me to
- double negatives are actually awesome;
- “Could care less” is perfectly fine;
- and “yeah, right” is the one of the only double-positives that is actually a negative. And it’s perfectly acceptable, understandable, and anyone with a teenager at home knows this to be true