Meet Ken Brown, Strategic Communications Manager for the City of Charlotte
Meet Ken Brown, Strategic Communications Manger for the City of Charlotte.
What’s the purpose of your brand?
We provide services that improve the quality of life for all Charlotteans.
How long have you worked with/on your current brand?
How many people are on your team?
How do you adapt your account to popular/trending themes?
Most trends worth jumping on belong to a culture or subculture, so avoiding appropriation is our top priority. We’ll pass on attempt to capitalize on a moment if there’s a chance that it might come off as offensive, insensitive or tone deaf. When we do jump on, our nods to popular culture are typically low-key. I really enjoy seeing people catch on to our subtle references.
Have you ever made a reply on social media that had to go through multiple approvals? Tell us about it…
ALL. THE. TIME. Much of what we say is attached to major projects, so it’s understandable that the powers that be would want to keep an eye on what we’re saying before it hits the public. During major moments (ex. Sept. 2016 demonstrations and 2012 Democratic National Convention), nearly everything has to be approved. Social media moves fast, but sometimes you have to slow down to get the right approvals when stakes are high.
Tell us about the craziest mention you have ever received or conversation you’ve been pulled into…
A lot of people (including Lady GaGa) mentioned Charlotte instead of Charlottesville in Tweets during the Unite the Right rally and counter protests in 2017. The misdirected comments were not that important (in my opinion) considering what was happening on the ground in Virginia, but it was crazy to see the speed at which misinformation can move. A lot of the comments were honest mistakes, but others were something more. People were calling out former Mayor Jennifer Roberts and North Carolina as if the event actually happened in Charlotte.
What do you wish people knew about your role/account/brand?
This isn’t a social media thing, but I wish that people knew how much power they have to make an impact in government. Not just on voting day, but every day.
Whose social media do you admire? (locally or nationally)
Charlotte Agenda found the sweet spot on Instagram. The Panthers get it on every platform. CLT Airport, CMPD and Belk Bowl. Vice videos are great, and their reporting is exceptional (most of the time). Same with NPR. Fenty Beauty and House of Highlights are masters at harnessing the power of user content. The Atlanta Hawks have done an incredible job at fusing the city’s culture into its brand on social. I look to universities and museums for inspiration. I love the brief, smart copy from liquor brands on Instagram. Hamburger Helper on Twitter. I can do this all day.
Anything else to share?
I’d like to see more people speak up and ask questions about Charlotte local government on social. Council members are tapped in and see your conversations, and senior leaders in our organization are always curious about what I see. One tweet can start something big if the right people see it.