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January 30, 2024 37 mins

Ep. 150 Brandon Butler is Partner + Chief Culture & Innovation Officer @ Majority // CEO @ Butter.ATL, an Atlanta-based media company covering all things Atlanta, from sports and news to food and music.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
So I think that's what you gotta do.

Speaker 2 (00:01):
It's not just about oh, my cousin knows TikTok and
so he can do it. It's no, you should be
going on TikTok. Let's use the hoodie example. You know,
if you have a hoodie company, you should be on
TikTok finding out who makes dope content about hoodies. You
should be looking at every hoodie hashtag, you know, every
hoodie rated brand, every creator that's making jokes about you know,

the girls stealing your hoodies or its hoodie season, and
you will find somebody in there that probably resonates with you.
And then that's how you find somebody that can make
you hoodie content.

Speaker 3 (00:43):
I'm well, lookas this is black tach green money.

Speaker 1 (00:47):
Hey look.

Speaker 3 (00:47):
Brandon Butler is Partner in Chief, Culture and Innovation Officer
at Majority in CEO at Butter atl in Atlanta based
media company covering all things Atlanta from sports, news, music.
His storytelling about communities is a high ROI play which
feeds ecosystem. And when the ecosystem is strong for black

entrepreneurship and culture, are people thrive.

Speaker 1 (01:14):
I just believe that.

Speaker 3 (01:15):
All companies in organizations should see themselves as media companies
and put the work in to tell authentic stories. Butter
Atl believes this also and puts this philosophy to work
for the city. So I asked Brandon how this came about.

Speaker 2 (01:30):
Yeah, you know, it started with this idea that some
of the most successful companies and brands tend to operate
as media companies. The example that always kind of references
Red Bull. You see Red Bull doing all kind of
crazy stuff. You see guys, you know, jumping from outer space.
You know, you see them doing race cars. And you've
never really seen like a Red Bull commercial though, You've

never really seen a commercial with somebody holding the Red
Bull saying like go buy this or drink it. Right,
So they've associated their brand with this idea that just
you know, content and media and being associated with it,
you know, will give people what they need to know
that this thing exists.

Speaker 1 (02:06):
And so for us, we kind.

Speaker 2 (02:08):
Of had the same that same belief right that the
most successful brands operated that way, and and so we
kind of started looking around and at first, you know,
there was this idea that you know, maybe we do
it for like the culture at large, you know, So
it's just what's trending what's in pop culture right now,
and and I mean we we did that for a
little while, but honestly, it just didn't feel it didn't
feel right, didn't feel super authentic, you know, as my

uh as my gud Bame Joiner, one of the founders
of Atlanta influences Everything, says Atlanta influences everything. And so
you know, based on that idea and really based on
this idea that Atlanta is a really special place. You know,
I always say, I think our number one export in
Atlanta's culture. Uh you know, why not kind of turn
that that lens inward and and and really find ways

to kind of highlight and and tell stories and just
showcase the city that honestly has been overlooked in so
many different ways. You know, It's always funny to me,
right like when you go back and you look, you've
noticed that these brands would come in from you know,
the New York, LA and Chicago and they would want
to kind of give us permission to talk about Atlanta.
They'd come down here and say, hey, you know, we

heard y'all like Lemon Pepper wings down there. Can you
tell us about Lemon Pepper wings Man y'all don't eat
limp pepper wings in New York, you know what I mean,
y'all eat, y'all eat buffalo wings, whatever those are, and
so and so again, it was like, why do we
need to wait for somebody from another city or state
to come down here and ask us about that and
then take that story back home and say, so I
went down to Atlanta, and this is what I learned.

You know, if we're really leading in all elements of
you know, culture and media and all these different things,
why not be able to tell those stories ourselves? And
then even thinking about it even more, you know, when
is the last time you've seen a brand or a
media company really focus in specifically on a city like this?
And so, you know, for me, it was kind of
just an opportunity that was kind of hidden in plain sight,

and we very quickly, you know, I think we maybe
did the national thing for like a week or two,
but we very quickly said, you know what, let's just
focus this thing on what we think is the coolest,
most interesting, most you know, cultural relevant city in the
world really, which we think is Atlanta. And you know,
it just again, it really resonated with people connected with
people really quickly. You know, people down here we have

a tendency to kind of protect the culture in a
lot of the senses because we know how special it is,
and I think that, well, we both put that lens
on it. But then also people realize that the person
that was doing it was from here that understood those
kind of nuances about the city. There was just a
whole different level of appreciation for it. You know, I
always loved Atlanta on FX by Donald Glover because it

was kind of the same way. You know, if you're
from Atlanta. Even if you're not from Atlanta, you can
appreciate that as a good show. But if you're from Atlanta,
there's this additional level of appreciation you have for it
because they shoot that show in places that you've been to.
They shoot that show, and you know, you'll see things
allude to things that just you recognize instantly. And so

that was kind of how we approach Butter was you know,
if we tell this story, but we also just really
authentic and truth to the culture, people will hear it.
You know, people will hear the drawl in my voice
when I speak. You know, people will see the references
that we make the things that are authentic, and I
think a combination of all those things just really kind
of helped put Butter in a really special place for us.

Speaker 3 (05:22):
I want to go back to something you talked about
in the beginning, that you talked about the Red Bull
story and how they don't really do commercials about Red
Bull saying hey buy this, and there's such a key
there that a lot of small brands that you know,
are trying to get traction, trying to find their fit
in the marketplace. That's an investment to do what Red
Bull is doing because it's not necessarily a direct pitch

to by the thing, it's explicitly an indirect one. And
so how do you admonish or encourage people who have
a hoodie line or you know, a hair you know,
a shade butter and they're trying to make sales because
they need that to keep going at all and don't
have the marketing budget like a Red Bull would have
to actually find different ways to tell their story or

to show what people who buy that thing do.

Speaker 2 (06:09):
Yeah, I mean, the beautiful thing about where we're at
right now just in content and media is I think
the bar has been significantly lowered, which is making it
a lot.

Speaker 1 (06:18):
Of easier folks to get involved.

Speaker 2 (06:19):
Right, Like, everybody's got a cell phone, and all cell
phones pretty much shoot in HD quality.

Speaker 1 (06:24):
So there's your camera.

Speaker 2 (06:26):
You know, you can get a why I saw a
wireless microphone on sale on TikTok for ten bucks, right like,
you can get a wireless mic for your cell phones.
And now you got audio, You've got good video. What's
the only thing you need beyond that is just a
good idea? And you know, and even when you kind
of think about it, you know, there are trends that
go on. So I think it's I think it's kind
of easy to jump in.

Speaker 1 (06:45):
You know what.

Speaker 2 (06:46):
I what I noticed and I've really noticed is over
the last you know, Butter's been around now for you know,
five plus years, and we make content every single day.
So the thing I've noticed making content every day for
the last five years is that at the end of
the day, it's all about just continuing to kind of
throw you know. The thing I would tell my team

is if you if you ever watch a person that
knows how to juggle, everybody always watches, you know, the
hand that they kind of like they always kind of
just watch the person they watch the hand that they
catch with. The trick with juggling, though, is to wash
the hand that they throw with because if you keep throwing,
the ball is gonna land in the right place every

single time. And so what I what I use that
to say is with most people, most entrepreneurs, no matter
how big or small your budget is. My my thing
to you is just start throwing. You never know what
the thing is gonna be. I can tell you right now,
there are you know, one of our most successful pieces
of content on Butter was a photograph of some chicken

wings that I took inside a cafeteria. That photograph ended
up on us what was it, Good Morning America, and
ended up on Complex, ended up on you know, all
these different channels. And it was a literally a picture
of some chicken wings that we took with no photo editing.
You know, I think maybe we cropped the photo and
that's it, so you never know the thing is gonna be.

And like that created so much, you know, a claim
and visibility for us.

Speaker 1 (08:13):
You know.

Speaker 2 (08:13):
Another thing we did was a post about you know,
different types of sneakers, which again it was a super
simple post, but that led to a conversation with Killer Mike,
which you know, a year later, year and a half
later he became a partner with butter and so again.
But all that comes from, just like I said, throwing,
Like you know, we put stuff out, everything doesn't go viral,

and that's totally fine with me. A lot of times
I put stuff out just to see what will happen
because I'm kind of past this place, and oh well
it didn't work, take it down. So the biggest, yeah,
the biggest advice I would give the people that they
feel like they don't have a budget is you don't
really need that much of a budget. You just need,
you know, some ideas. And at the same time, again,
you just need to just kind of start getting your
stuff out there and throwing and and again I'm a

big believer in frameworks, you know, whether you're kind of
doing the the Gary v jab jab jab hook or
what I like to say is, you know, candy, vitamin
and painkillers, right, Like, I think there's certain kinds of
content that's candy. In other words, you know, everybody loves candy,
but too much candy or rocket teeth, you know, I
think that there is a content that is vitamins, and

that's the that's where I kind of put a lot
of the Gary V content at like, no shade to him,
but he can yell at you about hustling all day
long until you actually go out and do something. It's
just the pep talk, right, but you're getting that motivation,
but you still have to actually do the work. It's
no different than taking vitamins every day and not going
to the gym, right like you said, to do the work.
And then there's then there's painkiller content. There's content that

like solves the problem. It has very high utility, right like,
and I tell that by the number of saves that
we get on the post particularly, right. So I think
you know, again, when you start thinking about content from
the standpoint of again whether jab jab jab hook or
candy vitamins painkillers, you'll see that, you know, the really
the only thing that's kind of stopping you from you
is is is really you know what you think people

want to see. And I can guarantee you that the
only way to find that is by putting out enough
stuff to really start to get good insights.

Speaker 3 (10:08):
That's so key there. And I want to dig into
that a little bit because you know, and I have
a couple of small businesses also, And to your point
of like when things work and when they don't, I
tell you this quick story. So last last Thanksgiving, this
would have been twenty twenty two, the coffee house was
like a year old, and there were still so many
people in the community who didn't know that we existed.
And so Thanksgiving the Black Friday, Black Friday morning, we

were open and I found I'm like, oh, I got
to tell the community we're open. So I just went
through my photo album real quick on my phone, found
the first photo I could find, put it up, say hey,
we're open today. Just so you know, I didn't know
this Sunday morning. It had twelve hundred shares on it
on Facebook. And if I would have spent any time

thinking about that post, I would not have used the
picture that I used because there was nobody in it.
It looked empty, you know, it was an angle that
was just it was just a random fhotto because I
just needed to get something up. But to your point
of you don't know what to work and what doesn't.
If it wouldn't have worked, I would have taken it
down on Monday. So how do you get old?

Speaker 1 (11:11):
I guess the question.

Speaker 3 (11:12):
A better question is what are you looking at in
a post metrics wise or otherwise. If you're saying just
put up shots, what are you looking for it to do?

Speaker 2 (11:23):
Yeah, I mean I think that's something that people have
to think about. Right again, I'm a big believer in
kind of starting with the end in mind for things.
There are certain types of posts that we make that
are specifically created to drive comments. I literally do not
care if they don't get a ton of likes. I
am more interested in the comments, and we engineer our

content like that. You know, we did a post the
other week about you know, I'm so old Atlanta, I
remember X, Y and Z and ask people to kind
of fill that out. Well, the thing is that thing
got like a thousand comments on it. And the beautiful
thing about those comments is if you start to think about,
just like marketing is now, you go on those comments,
you start to kind of go through and read, you
get ideas for new content. You see, you know, when

people somebody mentions something and gets a bunch of likes now,
or there's a whole bunch of replies to it, that
should be a signal that goes off to you and
says oh wow, there's an engagement around this. Maybe I
could build more content around that, right. You know, again,
when you think about stuff, you know, I would always
say like if you you know, it depends on what
you want to do. If you want to create content
that drives shares, you want to share like a really

interesting fact or something like that, you know what I mean?
Like something again, like people share content because it represents
them or helps them kind of tell a story. There's
this whole idea of like, you know, I always get
the example of, you know, there's certain pieces of content
that people send because it helps them prove a point.
You know, Like somebody sends a post is like see,
this is exactly what I was talking about, right, So

that's kind of that is this is so me kind
of content. Right, So I think you know, or again,
if you want to, if you want to, if you
want to drive you know, follows or likes. Again, you
want to create a content that has a like I said,
either tip in it or it's just something like really
fun and engaging. Right, So again, I think what you
have to do is just start to kind of think
about what you want and also again understand that it's

not any one post.

Speaker 1 (13:15):
It's kind of again the.

Speaker 2 (13:16):
Totality of all the things you do that really kind
of help you figure out what the real insight is. Again,
I would tell people, if you really want to figure
it out, you know, get get you know, get thirty
shots up, get thirty posts up, and then just start
to go back and look and figure out again what
are the things that absolutely worked what doesn't work? Again,
I can tell you a little trick, especially on social media,

is when something's gonna work, it works immediately. There are
very few things that I've seen go out to where
it sits dormant for like a day or two, and
then all of a sudden it takes off. In my
in my experience, the things that work work almost it's
crazy how it happens. I have some theories about why
that might be like that, but that's all different conversation.

But you know, it's like so so it's like, when
you see the things that are working, you do those things.
I think too much with people, like we have this
weird thing about oh, you got to work on this
stuff you're not good at. Nah, forget that. There's a
lot of stuff I'm not good at. I don't want
to spend all day trying to get better that I
want to get better than things I'm already good at.
And so again, I think it's figuring out, Like I said,

what works by putting up shots and just being really
honest about what are you seeing? What's the feedback? Like,
what are people saying reading the comments? You know, I
tell people when we first launched Butter, I actually put
a post up one day and said, hey, you know,
I think we had maybe ten thousand followers at that point,
and I said, hey, you know, thank y'all for following Butter.

Look we have some questions for y'all. So if y'all
are interested in, like, you know, being a part of
our user group, fill out this form and I'll call you.

Speaker 1 (14:51):
And I literally called like fifty people.

Speaker 2 (14:53):
Yeah, and it was like, hey, hey, this is Brandon
from Butter atl They were like, you're really calling me? Yep, Yeah,
you filled the format, you put your phone number on there.
But I literally asked them, hey, what made you follow Butter?
Just out of curiosity? What made you click the follow button?
What made you how did you find out about the page?
And I'm just what I'm saying, like even that level
of insight is informed things that I do to this day.

Like I'm not really in a position to do that
right now, but like I said, it's that whole idea
of like do things that don't scale.

Speaker 3 (15:20):

Speaker 2 (15:21):
And that was one of those things to where you know,
actually talking to people having those conversations, even with those folks,
you know, those are some of our early followers. So
I feel like those are the folks who were really
rocking with us right out the gate. But to kind
of go back and ask them, like, what do you
want to see? It just gave me more perspective in
what kind of things people were looking for, and then
we just gave them more of that stuff over time.

Speaker 3 (15:42):
There was an interview I saw where you did and
there was a quote from you where you said, we're
most proud of our ability to tell the story of
Atlanta's culture with high quality, intentional content. This was some
time ago when you said that, so, and I wonder
if it's still true in this way. Is because it
seems like today there's this battle between high quality production

and raw and where produced content may not get be
as valuable, not that it's not good, but it may
not be as valuable to the mainstream audience that consumed
social media content. What do you say to that?

Speaker 2 (16:17):
Yeah, I mean, I don't remember when I made that comment,
but I think the thing that probably changed a lot
of that stuff was, honestly, COVID. I think the pandemic.
You know, I told people coming out of the pandemic because
my backgrounds actually in tech. I spent the first half
of my career as a engineer and a solution architect,
so I just kind of have a different perspective when
it comes to a lot of this stuff. But coming
out of the pandemic, I told people like, look, this

thing moved us ahead four years. I don't know if
y'all realize it or not, but again, when we went in,
nobody was using video conference, and we came out, even
my mom was using video conference, and you know, we
went in, nobody wanted to use QR codes. Now everybody
uses QR codes, right, So it really like moved us
ahead in a very short period of time. And I
think in that again, what started to happen was, yeah,

they're like, produced content is good, but it's very easy
to over engineer something. And I think, you know, again,
people get just sense authenticity they can sense, you know,
when you've probably gone through uh you know, a table
read and getting the script created and all that kind
of stuff and getting the perfect shot. I think there
are times for that. But you know, again, I think

just in a day and age, and also just the
volume of content that we kind of have out there,
just honestly, the expectation of people is a little bit lower.
So even what that means for us is that means
that it's not as important for us to go.

Speaker 1 (17:34):
Out and shoot stuff on red cameras.

Speaker 2 (17:36):
It's not as important for us to go out and
you know again, uh, you know, create a create a
deck in a script about a thing. Sometimes we just
kind of turn the camera on and start going. Sometimes
we just make a piece of content and we're not
you know, overly worried about is it pixel perfect, because
again I know at the end of the day, we're
gonna be right back at it. So uh, you know,

I think it's I think it's not as important now,
and I think it's actually a good thing because again now,
which is it's lowered the barrier to entry for so
many other people to kind of create opportunities and content
and get their stuff out there. That it should really
hopefully not intimidate people and really want to enable them
to kind of stick their toe in the water and
start doing what they need to do to get their

selves or their brand out there. So, because you also
managed creative talent today, what are you looking for in
that talent? Because I imagine.

Speaker 3 (18:27):
The portfolio matters. But and I want you to answer
this from the perspective of small businesses, medium sized businesses
who are looking to bring people on their team and
see themselves as a media company, because what they might
say is, hey, my nephew knows how to do TikTok,
let's give him the keys to the thing. So how
do you do this?

Speaker 1 (18:45):
Yeah? You know what really, So it's a couple of things.
What really worked for me was.

Speaker 2 (18:52):
Find some you know, if you want if you want
to find people that, if you want to find good people,
find the good work and then find the people that
made it.

Speaker 1 (19:02):

Speaker 2 (19:03):
I remember when we first kind of launched Butter we
were doing this post on the Clairemont Lounge here in Atlanta.
It's a iconic establishment. I'll let your audience look it.

Speaker 1 (19:12):
Up one day. But you know, I was I was
coming up.

Speaker 2 (19:15):
I was looking for ideas, and I said, you know,
let me jump on ig for some inspiration. And so
I kind of started clicking on the Clairemont Lounge hashtag
and I'm just scrolling and then I see this post
that somebody made about the Claremont Lounge and I just said,
you know what, that is what I was looking like,
I want that. So what I did was I literally
DM the person that made it and was like, yo,

my name is Brandon. I got this company called Butter.
I'm not crazy, but I saw you make this post
about the Clairemont Lounge and I'm actually working on some
content very similar. Would you be interested in work with
me on this content? And they were like, yeah, well
that ended up. Person ended up working on that thing.
It went well. Then I ended up hiring them full time.
They worked with me for three years, right, And so

I think again, if you want to find so I
think that that's what you got to do. It's not
just about oh, my cousin knows TikTok and so he
can do it.

Speaker 1 (20:04):
It's no, you should be going on TikTok. Let's use
the hoodie example.

Speaker 2 (20:08):
You know, if you have a hoodie company, you should
be on TikTok finding out who makes dope content about hoodies.
You should be looking at every hoodie hashtag, you know,
every hoodie rated brand, every creator that's making jokes about
you know, the girls stealing your hoodies or its hoodie season,
and you will find somebody in there that probably resonates

with you. And then that's how you find somebody that
can make you hoodie content.

Speaker 1 (20:33):
You know.

Speaker 2 (20:33):
Again, like so, and even with the portfolios and stuff
like your portfolio, you know, I don't need to see
your overly crafted, curated online portfolio. I can look at
your Instagram and your TikTok because if you're really making stuff,
it should be on there. So I wouldn't trust anybody
that's a maker that isn't making stuff and putting it
on there in their free time, right because again, if

you're doing this, a lot of these folks are like
really in this for a living, and even when they're
not making stuff for their job, they're making stuff for fun.

Speaker 1 (21:01):
They're making things that inspire them. Right.

Speaker 2 (21:02):
You want people like that because if they can get
inspired on their own, they can definitely get inspired and
it comes to kind of working for you. The other thing,
I kind of tell people too, is like, you can't
work for me until you work for me. So you know,
when you find that person that's doing good work, give
them a project. You know, I tell you the only
way to find out how somebody works is to give

give them a project. And what I what I like
to do is I actually will depending on the kind
of job, but I actually give people like test projects.

Speaker 1 (21:31):
Just to see how they're going to react to stuff.

Speaker 2 (21:32):
So you know, I had I was looking for a
video editor and I kind of came down to three candidates,
and so I gave them a couple of things.

Speaker 1 (21:40):
I said, look, i'll pay you. I said, here's the rate.

Speaker 2 (21:42):
I'll pay you this rate, which I think is more
than fair because it shouldn't take you more than this
much time to do this work. Like I don't want
you to spending a week on this, but I need
you know, a video about this. I need a video
about this, and I need you to go on my
social media and give me your feedback. And even with
the videos I gave them, it wasn't the best video,
but I want to see how what they were gonna

make with it. I can tell if you're just gonna
stick stuff together on a timeline and just put some
fades between it or if you actually did something with it.
And so again I think you know, we should do it.
Is the only way to see how people work is
to actually get them to work for you. And I
would much rather pay somebody for a project. See what
they work like, See how we interact, you know, see
how long they take the turn stuff around, See if

they do the minimum, if they go above and beyond,
and if you know, if you're amazing, I have no
issue whatsoever, and in paying you and keeping you around.
But again if you don't, if you don't knock it
out the park, and that that's cool. It's no issues.
You've got paid, I got something. But you know, we're
probably not gonna work together. And so like, those are
the ways I've seen, especially kind of in this again

world where like everybody's just making stuff or some hacks
that I found to kind of like find talent, but
also find the right.

Speaker 1 (22:53):
Folks, because again, you just have to.

Speaker 2 (22:54):
It's it's a continuous effort to find the right people
to kind of get on the bus to get it
that understand what you're trying to accomplish. That they have
their own goals and it all works together. So you
have to always kind of have your antenna up for
talent once you kind of get into that game as well.

Speaker 3 (23:10):
So what does it mean to be chief culture and
innovation officer?

Speaker 2 (23:14):

Speaker 3 (23:14):
What is your what are your days like?

Speaker 1 (23:17):

Speaker 2 (23:18):
So so on the other side, So again for the
folks though, I actually I'm a co owner and partner
at the agency I here call majority. We started with
Shaquille O'Neil a couple of years ago. We do you know,
big creative work. And the whole idea behind the company
was founded on the idea that the reality is in
most agencies, you know, people of color are the minority,
but so much of the content that the agencies make

wants to land in culture. That and the culture at
a macro is you know, again more black and brown
than people want to admit. I mean, by twenty thirty,
the minority will become the majority in this country. So
the whole idea with us is that what if you
actually flip that model and made it so that you know,
seventy to eighty percent of the company, especially the leadership positions,
were you know, minorities, right, But we're also still making

general market work, and so because of that culture is
super important, especially in the city like Atlanta. You know,
what Butter has given me the ability to do is
be able to get into different rooms and just connect
with people. But also it's given me the opportunity to
kind of give people, to give people opportunities. Again, especially
in the agency world. You know, Atlanta's kind of looked

over the talent. It was always kind of considered this
is the place that you can't start a career at
if you were serious about working an agency, you had
to go to New York, LA, Chicago, Miami or something.
And so, you know, from from a keeping people down
here standpoint of keeping talent local, you know, one of
my biggest remits is really just to kind of go
out and engage with different you know, people, schools, talent creatives,

just anybody in that space around the city and just
kind of build relationships so that they know that at
the end of the day, that majority is is authentically
rooted and connected to the culture and it's a priority
for us. That means again making sure that we're you know,
again being proactive and going to the auc to make
sure that we're getting talent from the Atlanta University Center
and make sure that we're you know, doing things around

the seed to bring in people that might not have
had a traditional path. You know, everybody doesn't go to
college anymore, so how are we looking for people that
didn't go to school and can how how can they
get into this industry? And then on the innovation and
then also just again how do we even manage our
culture internally? You know, I'm not HR, but I'm a
big believer in you know again people people you know,

high achievers want to be around other high achievers, and
so you know, I really want to help us. I
work to kind of help us create a kind of
a high achieving atmosphere for our team. That's fund, it's engaging,
but you know, we also get stuff done. And then
on the innovation side, like I said before, you know,
my background's in tech. I always just have a love
for technology. I spent the first half of my career
in that. And so it's also about figuring out what

are the tools and things that we can use to
help innovate and make ourselves more efficient so that as
an agency, one again, we're just being more efficient so
we can create more opportunities. But We're also given our
people in employees access and experience to use, you know,
more cutting edge things that will just help them stay
competitive in their jobs. I'm I'm a big believer in AI,

but I think even with AI, for example, the people
that learn how to embrace it and integrate it into
their workflows are going to be the ones that are
the most successful. Like, it's very true that AI might
replace some jobs, but on the same time, I think
it's a lot like a computer, you know, Like there
was a time when everybody had typewriters, and now we
have computers. And so the folks that embraced learning how

to use email, learning how to use a computer, you know,
learning how just to use tech in general, had just
more opportunities than the folks that said, I'm only using
a typewriter. And so I think, you know, AI is
kind of that same thing, right, like the folks that
learn how to you know. I literally was just in
a meeting a little while ago with my creative team saying,
you know, how can we use AI to help make

us more efficient? Like, you know, is it recording all
our meetings, you know, with a tool like and then
you know, then sharing those meeting notes backed out to everybody,
so that somebody just have to do it, is it?
You know, using tools like mid Journey or you know,
Getty Images even has an AI generator now to help
us quickly ideate on you know, conceptual you know design

for clients to kind of just get stuff out the door,
not that they will ever go live, but it just
gets the juices for them. Right, How can we just
think about technology to help us be more efficient? So
you know, that's kind of what my day typically includes,
is that, and you know also a lot of spreadsheets
and budget stuff too.

Speaker 3 (27:32):
So with Butter, I mean, you guys are covering every
category of the culture in Atlanta, and that's you know, sports, news, food, music,
and et cetera. What is so special about the black
entrepreneurial landscape and these particular verticals in Atlanta?

Speaker 2 (27:52):
Yeah, I mean, you know, well, I always say Atlanta
is a special place in general, just because if you're
ever not clear why the once you get off the
get off your plane at the airport, you know, Atlanta
is different. I've been all over the world and that's
one of the few places I've ever been that when
you get off from the moment you kind of touch down.
You see people of color at all, you know, all

walks of life, from the pilots to the janitors, right,
you know, so and I think you know, the different
verticals around Atlanta are very much the same thing.

Speaker 1 (28:21):
You know.

Speaker 2 (28:21):
It's it's it's a very unique thing that we can
go to these brands, go to these companies, go to
these large organizations, and the people that are making decisions
at the top, you know, look like you. And you
know what does that mean. It means that one, it's
easier for you to be your authentic self. You know,
it's easy for you to walk into certain conversations and say,
you know what, I don't have thought I have to
you know, overly code switch or be somebody I'm not.

I can actually be authentic. I could bring my whole
self in here to this conversation. But also what's amazing
about that is because you have people that you know
that are from the culture or or they get it
at the top making those decisions, you're just able to
do things that resonate more broadly because everybody's kind of
understanding it.

Speaker 1 (29:04):

Speaker 2 (29:04):
So again, you know, it's it's it's it's like again,
it's like, you know, when people would say, yeah, we
got to get an influencer on this, it's like, well,
why you know?

Speaker 1 (29:13):
But but now when you have.

Speaker 2 (29:14):
Somebody in there at the top that understands the nuances around,
I'm just gonna use it Atlanta as like Atlanta culture.
It's not like you're just you know, throwing things in
there to say we gotta do this, we gotta do this,
we gotta do this. It's really the conversations more often
not tend to leverage around what's impactful, what would really
you know, resonate, what would really help this be successful?

And then how can we kind of do that together?
And again it's just having that ability to be collaborative
while also just being your full self, I think is
what makes Atlanta really special and unique.

Speaker 1 (29:45):
And again, having.

Speaker 2 (29:47):
Traveled and worked all over the world, I I you know,
I've said that's not always been the case, and that's
why I think that again, that's why lant is such
a special place.

Speaker 3 (29:55):
So if you think about what you guys have done
with butter Ato and how it's work for Atlanta, and
then giving the platform to people doing really great things
in Atlanta, what can other communities learn from that think
about Detroit, you know, Cleveland, Baltimore, Chattanooga. What can other
cities replicate that has worked well for Butter.

Speaker 2 (30:20):
Yeah, I mean at the end of the day, you know,
every city. I think every city has a story. I mean,
use Detroit as an example, right, Like you think about
just the history from you know, the car companies, the
motown and everything in between. Right, Like, there's an element
of just having pride, you know, in your city, in
the place you live, in the place you call home.
And I think, you know, the great thing about that

pride is is that you can activate it and really
fun and interesting ways. Just recently, you know, just recently,
we did the very a very similar thing, right you know,
here in Atlanta, an announcement came out that the city
of Decatur schools had a path do balance of almost
eighty eight thousand dollars for student unpaid school lunches, and

because of that, they were going to start giving students
that had unpaid balances a cheese sandwich and a cart.

Speaker 1 (31:12):
And of milk.

Speaker 2 (31:13):
Now, there's a lot of common questions that come up
when you say that, like what if they're Lato's intolerant,
or you know, is that now singling out the people
who might be having issues at home. But what was
really interesting was, you know, we partnered with another amazing
entrepreneur right here called Jasmine, Jasmine Crow of Gooder, and
she had this idea to basically say, you know what,
because we're the people that you know, care about this city.

If the city of Decatur can't raise eighty eight thousand dollars,
why we can. And literally, in forty eight hours, we
raised eighty five eighty six thousand dollars on GoFundMe, enough
to pay off the entire outstanding Student Outstanding Student lunch
balance for the entire city of Decatur.

Speaker 1 (31:57):

Speaker 2 (31:57):
So I think that's where that whole city pride comes from,
right because why the people that followed Butter, they went
to school, Indicator, they went to school, they have kids,
they have family around there, they have pride in that sense.

Speaker 1 (32:07):

Speaker 2 (32:07):
So, while we have fun and we try to keep
it positive and we try to you know, do things
when we do need to activate our audience, our audiences
is very engaged and they want to see the city
and the culture be protected.

Speaker 1 (32:21):
And so I was super proud for that.

Speaker 2 (32:23):
Moment just and again it wasn't even my idea, it
was not that we helped out with, but the idea
that we had a huge audience and you know, just
putting this message out here drove tens of thousands of
dollars and you know, submissions literally in twenty four to
forty eight hours, you know where on Monday, you know,
they were saying this is what was going to happen.

Two three days later they're like, Okay, the balance is
paid off.

Speaker 1 (32:46):

Speaker 2 (32:47):
So I think that's the benefit of a butter like
object in other cities. Right, It's like there could be
moments where because government moves slow, or because it takes
a while to activate, like, how else can you just
get the best of a sty to kind of stand
up and say, you know what, we're all gonna get
behind this thing and make something happen right now. And
I think, you know, when you cultivate that audience by

providing them value, giving them an outlet, letting them have fun.
But then when you say hey, y'all, I need y'all
to step up and they do it, it's just an
amazing thing to kind of see. And so I think
that's something that again, all these other cities could really use,
you know, a very a very similar like I said,
Butter like object.

Speaker 3 (33:23):
And then so when you started Butter, like this was
this design to be a business or was this design
to be something We care about the community, we want
to tell these stories, et cetera. And here's why I'm
asking this question is you know, I have the belief
that and maybe you agree that you can build You
can try to sell a product without a brand, and
you may sell something, but if you build a brand,
you can sell anything almost that aligns with your product,

it aligns with your you know, true north Like, think
about a Rihanna. Rihanna can sell almost anything. She can
sell many things. But if she just had didn't have
the name, but just had a product, she could sell
some product, maybe sell some fansy, maybe people will buy it,
maybe they don't, but they will follow her anywhere now
because she has a brand. And so my reason for
asking question about Butter is was this design to be

I guess was it more contributory, contributive to the community
and a business happened, or was like, Hey, we're going
to start a business and we're going to create content.

Speaker 2 (34:22):
Yeah, So when we started Butter, I actually launched and
incubated it inside of an agency that I was working
out here in Atlanta. You know, in the beginning, folks
thought there was like some weird angle. I had people
hitting me up like, are y'all just trying to market
to black people? Or what are you selling? I said, no, honestly,
there's no hidden agenda. The only agenda is I'm just
trying to do cool shit for the city. But the

beautiful thing about that it kind of being incubated was
it allowed us for the first couple of years to
not worry about making money and just focus on the brand.
I think there was always an there was always a
goal or I think a vision that this could be something.

Speaker 1 (34:59):
We just had kind of figure out what it was.

Speaker 2 (35:01):
And you know, the trick is is, like I said,
when you actually have the ability to build an audience
and build a brand first, what you can then do
is you can then go to them and ask them
what they want, and then it's easy. Like that's honestly,
that's that's like almost the definition of marketing at its core, right,
It's like understanding your audience and just giving them what
they want. And so, you know, building up this brand,

building up this audience, is super just tied in and
resonated to Atlanta. You know, we would do little stuff
here and there to just kind of have fun, but
it was never kind of a you know, Okay, we
got to do this to pay the bills kind of situation.
When I left that agency and then fully acquired all
the IP for Butter, you know, I was like, Okay,
we have to do more of a business now. But again,

we already kind of knew because our audience and we
knew what they wanted, what are the things that would work?
And so for me, the fun part is is now
that I have such a good understanding of our audience,
the fun part is really figuring out, Okay, what are
the things that we could do to kind of do this,
because at the end of the day, you know, great
content needs a business model. You know, I'm not a
huge fan of the advertising business model in general, even

though I work in that space, but you know, I
do think for us, it's it's kind of similar to what.

Speaker 1 (36:08):
You said about Rihanna.

Speaker 2 (36:09):
What I'm looking at now is what are things that
only Butter could do and that could push out because
of our audience and they would just love this and
they would actually want to you know, buy it or
do something with it. So you know, I'm thinking about
you know, different you know, events, activations, we think about
actual real products. There's lots of stuff that we're kind

of working on right now with that idea that we
kind of came out of last year, with that realization
of Okay, the audience is here. We kind of we
have the distribution built in. Now, the question is what
do we put in front of them? What do they want?
And so that's going to really be the focus. You know,
that was the focus last year and going into this
year is you know, products and services that our audience
you know, we know they'd like that we could just

put right in front of them, and we know they
would just you know, snatch it up off the gate.
Because again, you know, in order to stick around, you
do got to make money. And you know, again that
money goes to help you know, fun, the salaries of
the team and everything else. And so that's why it's
important that we that we go out and create those
things so that this can exist one so we can
do things, but to the next time a Decatur Schools

type situation happens. There's a brand here that can also
help activate people and make stuff happen, you.

Speaker 3 (37:17):
Know, black tech. Green money to production to Blavity, Afrotech
from the Black Effect Podcast Network and I Hire Media.

It's produced by Morgan Debonne and me Well Lucas. If
you got something out of this episode shared with somebody,
we'll get your money.

Speaker 1 (37:50):
Piece of luck.
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