Social Media App, an interview by Mariam Brown, Talk Show Host
What is Branndet? Express yourself with the Branndet social media app. No likes, NO ADVERTISEMENTS, just fun! Here at Branndet you are a person, not a product. We value our users and work hard to make your experience memorable.
BOLDBoss Question (1): Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself? Who are you and what inspired you to start Branndet?
A: I’d like to keep my name anonymous for now. I am 42 years old and from Long Beach, CA. I am the father of a 4-year-old girl and husband to my wife Delilah. I’ve worked in media and technology for about 21 years—my major in college was journalism and during that time I interned for several tech companies in Silicon Valley. Ultimately, I started my career at The Los Angeles Times and am still in the industry.
After COVID I noticed a shift in media, people were getting insta-famous and everybody was dropping a new business left and right. As a member of the media, it became overwhelming. I think more people now are obsessed with the idea of getting famous and let’s be honest, it can happen, people like me, the media, we make it happen. I started thinking more about that and then decided to develop a place where the media and users can come together—Branndet.
BOLDBoss Question (2): What is the purpose of Branndet and how do you feel it will appeal to the general public?
A: All are welcome. It is a social media app. It’s also there to ensure proper compensation for those in the media aka change the way we do media; to grow a business, a celebrity, or a brand without inundating everyday people with advertisements and sponsored content. I wanted to limit that because I feel like shoving advertisements in someone’s face who just wants to be entertained or entertain is selfish. People should feel safe online and offline using an app.
Their data should be used to help improve their experience, not become a danger to them. I think the GP will receive the app well. The UI is simple and easy to use and there are multiple features that people can take advantage of. Even our motivational messages are personalized to each user.
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BOLDBoss Question (3): When you say, “change the way we do media” what do you mean by that?
A: As a member of the media, I can tell you now, there’s no respect for what we do. I think journalists, paparazzi, and so forth have become so demonized in today’s time. But let’s think about it, how can you demonize the very thing that helped to make your dreams come true? How are you angry at the paparazzi for snapping photos of you when in reality no one would know who you are or find you relatable without those photos? I am not speaking to the crazy papps who photograph children and stalk celebrities, no. The sane ones—they know who they are.
Then, there are the journalist or interviewers. People like the late Whitney Houston are talented. Her talent speaks for itself, she is newsworthy! In today’s time, there isn’t much that is newsworthy with a lot of “celebs” or people who become “insta-famous” and even businesses for that matter. I’ve received more press releases for a new skincare line and candle company in the past year than I have in my whole career. That says a lot.
I don’t care that another celebrity launched another skincare line! Who cares? Yet, my inbox is flooded with press releases from publicists who don’t even know my name but are getting $10,000/month because they fibbed and managed to convince some company owners that they have good relationships with members of the media. Well, I am the media and I am not friends with publicists. I’ve made a name for myself in this business. I am well known and respected.
Journalists aren’t paid enough to discuss people and businesses that are irrelevant to make them relevant. Branndet is here to change that. Want me to read through that press release? Here, there’s a $3.99 fee for my time. Want me to do a write-up or interview of your client who needs the press to become newsworthy to the point where journalists will write about them in their sleep because they can generate income from clicks and views? No problem, I charge a fee for my time.
I see a lot of publications with paywalls for their content online. Why are you charging readers to read about irrelevant people who paid you dust to write about them? Most of whom, aren’t talented and haven’t done anything newsworthy or created something game-changing! You don’t know me, but you’re asking me to work for free essentially. What are you paying me? Product! Ha! Why aren’t your clients paying you with product?
Influencers are paid, models, photographers, publicists, etc. But the journalist should work for free? That’s laughable.
BOLDBoss Question (4): Doesn’t this way of thinking violate one’s first amendment: Freedom of the press?
A: No. I am not asking anyone to pay me for coverage, I am asking that I be compensated for my time in [considering] you for coverage. Getting paid for your time is never a bad thing last I checked. When you put a price on something it gives it value. If a publicist or brand or aspiring public figure knows that to get me to care they have to respect the fact that I’ve monetized my time, they will think twice about what they send and what they choose to invest in or build. Now, when a publicist goes to build their media list for their client who sells hair care products, they won’t just blindly send a press release to a journalist whose beat is solely politics and world news. Do you get what I’m saying? You’re wasting someone’s time because you don’t care enough about what they do.
BOLDBoss Question (5): What would you say to those who don’t agree? I mean, isn’t this essentially asking someone to pay for the possibility of coverage, there are no guarantees.
A: Hiring a publicist does not guarantee you press or that your business will boom and things will start flying off the shelves. Hiring a publicist—especially in retail—is a risk you take because if all goes well the outcome can be great.
Hiring a publicist for an event, to represent you as an artist, etc. it’s all a risk. Nothing in life is a guarantee. What I can guarantee is that the time I am going to take to review your press release, draft questions for an interview, learn the software to edit said interview if it’s on video, etc. is all time I cannot get back, and therefore, my time should be monetized. I want journalists and members of the press to think in this way.
BOLDBoss Question (6): I think this sounds great for freelancers, but what about larger publications? How can they implement this new way to do media?
A: Well, we already have publications scrambling around to keep their businesses profitable—events such as Essence Fest, Embracing Single Status: Relationship and Music Festival or The Met Gala. Google ad sense, YouTube, affiliate marketing and you know, paywalls. For larger publications, I think something like Branndet can be extremely beneficial. I mean, if they are hiring out a publicist versus keeping someone on the payroll for marketing, they’re shelling out thousands of dollars unnecessarily. I think the way to go is to have a page on the app and use the monetization tool for press releases, hire someone for marketing and have them in charge of the SM account on Branndet. They receive press releases and distribute them accordingly—beauty editor, lifestyle editor, etc. This way they can generate revenue from the app as well and in some cases, this will essentially cover the salary for that marketing hire.
We do also encourage book publishers to use the tool as well to receive queries from aspiring authors. Remember, a book agent is going to shop your book to these houses and if it’s picked up, they take a percentage of that. With Branndet, that can stop. Publishing houses can accept a fee for a query, you upload, they review and they get back to you. Most of the time we don’t take things unsolicited because if it’s free to send it then, of course, they’ll be an influx of it coming in. However, if you add a cost to it, people will be more mindful of what they’re sending.
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BOLDBoss Question (7): What advice would you give a new business, aspiring public figure, influencer, artist, etc. joining the app but don’t have a big budget for representation? And what about publicists and agents? I mean essentially this app may cause them to lose some business.
A: First and foremost, you have to work hard. I do encourage those individuals to speak with Lisa. It is my understanding that a marketing agency is spearheaded by her to help businesses and PF’s make the most out of Branndet. Next, of course, is to get verified so you can start utilizing the monetization features on the app.
Publicists and agents, you know, just be a bit nicer you know. I think um, this will allow them to work a bit harder for those who continue to use their services, and instead of marketing themselves as people who have relationships in the media, ha ha ha—they can focus their efforts on social media content. Also, damage control for actual public figures and celebrities where needed, getting brands into retail stores, helping their clients put together a media budget to pay journalists and publications for press release reviews, etc. I mean their services are most definitely still needed. But again, Branndet will have its marketing agency that will provide these services as well, so I mean. It depends.
BOLDBoss Question (8): Essentially then once someone is verified, they can use the monetization tools.
A: Yes. If you have a book blog or do book reviews, for example, you can charge a fee right on the app for reviews.
BOLDBoss Question (9): Is it hard to become verified on Branndet? I know other platforms take a lot of things into consideration.
A: Hard? No. But there is a process. Similar to those other platforms we do want to make sure our verified accounts are authentic, trustworthy, and safe and are verified elsewhere.
BOLDBoss Question (10): Is the app ad-free?
A: Yes, there will be no advertisements along a user’s feed.
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BOLDBoss Question (11): So, how will the app be monetized?
A: Branndet does take a percentage of the fees charged by freelancers, influencers, publications and brands who wish to sell from the app. Plus, there will be short 0.05 sec. video ads between the Storytime content.
BOLDBoss Question (12): How did your partnership with She’s SINGLE Media come about?
A: She found me online actually. I wrote an article about this very thing: journalists, book reviewers, etc. just not getting paid for their time and consideration. She liked the article and emailed me. Oddly enough she was feeling the same way but felt like she couldn’t say that out loud, you know, given the industry. But contrary to popular belief some dues are paid in this business and by no means should a journalist, reporter, publication, writer, you know, get the short end of the stick. Then I met Lisa in person over the summer, it was me, my wife and her, we went and grabbed coffee when we were visiting NYC for an event.
From there you know we tossed some ideas around and then the app was born. Lisa is handling the creative side—UI and UX. I am overlooking the apps functionalities and since her magazine is doing very well, we just decided to pair the two.
BOLDBoss Question (13): When will Branndet be available for people to download?
A: We are hoping for a November release. The app will first launch on Apple devices. We will then move to other app stores and platforms. I am encouraging brands and businesses to start working with the marketing team to get their Black Friday campaigns in order. I think the launch is going to be very successful.
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