Andy Sernovitz: State of the social media industry 2016 — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Jordan Ynostrosa of Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

8:50 —'s Kurt Vanderah introduces CEO Andy Sernovitz.

8:51 — Andy: This is the 38th meeting of the members of We always say that these aren’t meetings, that these aren’t conferences … This is a family reunion. This family has been going strong for 8 years now – helping each other, taking care of each other, lookin’ out for each other.

8:51 — This is huggiest group of business people you’ve ever met.

8:52 — Andy: I want to talk for a bit about family. And I want to talk a bit about parenting. Friends – The hardest job in the world might be parenting…But running a social media program is a close runner up. And raising a happy, healthy social media program is a lot like raising a kid.

8:53 — Andy: The challenges are the same: You're responsible, but you’re never in control. Endless of outside influences trying to tell you what to do. Conflicting, often terrible, advice from people who have no idea what they’re talking about, but think they have all the answers.

8:54 — This is exciting. It's scary, but it’s exciting. But the rewards and satisfaction are intense.

8:55 — Andy: So as the parent of a growing social media program your job is clear: Teach your children well. Try to keep them away from bad influences. And be there for them when things go bad.

And the most important thing: You’re not on this journey alone. Many people have gone down this path. Many of them are here with you today. And we’re going to figure this out together.

8:56 — Andy: Friends, I want to introduce you to my baby. I gotta raise this baby. You all have a baby just like this one to raise.

That’s part of this life: Lots of people out there when there is credit and awards being handed out.

But we’re always here, like all good parents, washing clothes, packing lunches, dealing with trolls, moderating comments, handling all the non-glamorous day-to-day. Dealing with the poop.

8:56 — It starts here. Happy brand new baby social media program.

Your job is figuring out the basics: Don’t break the baby, don’t lose the baby, feed the baby (And there will be more poop.)

8:57 — Andy: As your kid grows up, new people are telling you how to do your job. Your single friends with no kids. Horrible advice from celebrities. Your parents. Your in-laws. — They're old school. Trying to help but haven't raised a kid in 30 years. “What’s this car seat nonsense. When you were a kid I sat you next me in the front seat so you could light my cigarettes.”

8:57 — It gets harder as your program grows up – too big to control. So this is where you learn to monitor. You want data: Where were you? Who were you with? What were doing? Why did you do it?

8:58 — Andy: High School is where the outside influences kick in big. Your kid is getting all these ideas from all these other people – teachers, media, peers — and you don’t always agree with them. At the same time — societal influence is messing with how you raise your kid:

8:59 — But teenagers are going to do their own thing. So what can you do?

  1. Teach them your family values.
  2. Teach them that all their embarrassing moments are on their permanent record.
  3. Be there when they screw up.

9:00 — Andy: Now college comes along … and they aren’t living at home. Now they’re hanging out with someone new: Agencies and Platforms — your kid's party buddies. You know what? As much as we worry, they’re just wild college kids and it'll be OK. Eventually, they’ll figure out what really works and what really matters

9:00 — Andy: You know where this all ends: Your baby gets married. The kid’s spouse has replaced you.

9:01 — Andy: Just like a parent – we have total responsibility, but we’re never in control. Because the good times are easy. But when things get hard, it's you, and your baby. And that's when we shine.And that's the story every CMO needs to hear.

9:01 — In the end, your baby will grow up great. Even when you screw up, even though it's hard. Because you're good at what you do. You’re doing it right, and the future is going to be wonderful.

9:02 — Andy: And that's why we're here today. A place to hang out with other parents, have a drink, share your troubles, and know you're doing the best you can. It's a “mom's club” & “dad's group”.

9:02 — How do I win this game? Which brings us to the big question: Who is looking out for YOU?

We do.

This is a place for People Like You. That phrase — People Like You — has been the guiding principle since the start of this organization. That’s why it’s just us. No sponsors, no agencies, and nobody with an agenda.

9:03 — The members of are People like you, with jobs like yours, at companies like yours.

9:04 — Andy: Now I want to go back for a minute to raising that kid …Because it’s important to remember that it’s not just your kid. Which means each and every one of us in this room has an obligation to embed the highest values and ethics into this program we’re building and this child we’re raising.

9:05 — Andy: We're calling on you to HOLD THE LINE on ethics and honesty.

Let’s be honest here. We represent the biggest companies on earth. And our money makes the world go round. I challenge you to raise the bar. You stand on point of leverage that can change the world.

9:06 — Andy: You represent the resources of the greatest brands on earth. And if there is one good soul in those big companies – it’s you, the social media leader. You are the voice of good and humanity in corporate America.

You’re the one who’s going to make business better. You’re the one who’s going to make business kind.

9:06 — And while you do that…We’ve got your back. We’re here for you.

9:06 — Andy: We’re so glad you’re here, and we’re so proud to serve you. 400 amazing people from 200 great brands here today. 2,000 people from 375 great brands altogether.

9:06 — Andy: Welcome to your family reunion. We love you. We’re so glad you’re here. Thanks for coming! We're going to have a great time!