My Creative Process…

So, what is my process for creating, curating, and developing content? It starts with listening and watching. I’m always looking for ways to learn as much about someone or something as I possibly can. Therefore, I’m always on FacebookInstagramTwitterSoundCloudYouTube, etc to immerse myself in the stories that allow me to gain a deeper understanding of the driving factors behind people who are doing amazing work.

As I came across Diamonde Williamson‘s interview with the founders of The Startup VanMark McDonagh and Graham Hussey, Diamonde touched on a few topics which inspired me to publish this quick post.

Here are some points she mentioned in the video while discussing her work with Blossom:

+ “How do you scale your team but also manage your team to scale with you?” – DW

+ “Start with the community and get them involved.” – DW

+ “In terms of media, we want to dominate and disrupt that space in terms of how we are represented.” – DW

+ “As long as we keep going and surrounding ourselves with people that remind us that it’s okay, we are going to make it!” – DW

Enjoy the video!!!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking brand strategist, curator, and educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development and social impact. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Behind The Hustle, Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about bridging the gap and building value between brands, communities, and culture. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

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Why Is Content So Important?

Brand Storytelling Quote

This past October 2017, I had the great honor and privilege of being interviewed by the CEO of NewsmodoRakhal Ebeli for their Brand Storytelling podcast. Throughout the course of our conversation, we spoke about my work in the fields of branding, content development, and education. In addition, we also discussed the importance of bridging the gap between brands, communities, and culture.

I was first introduced to the work of Newsmodo and Rakhal Ebeli after listening to their interview with Julian Mitchell on the topic of, “What Does “Content” Actually Mean?” After listening to this interview, I was inspired to compose a quick write-up on LinkedIn. My written piece was aimed at addressing the importance of building stories around the history of our products and services. As Julian mentioned in his interview with Rakhal, “The best brands in the world aren’t the companies or the products. It’s the spirit that represents the brand! Nike is a great brand that people purchase because it represents the spirit of any athlete that aspires to excellence.”

Here is my exact post:

 

Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 1.15.54 PM

A few days after posting this article and sharing my thoughts, I connected with Katherine Auchterlonie who is the Digital Marketing Manager at Newsmodo. About one month later, after learning more about one another’s work, I received a message from Katherine asking me if I would be interested in joining Newsmodo as a guest on their Brand Storytelling podcast. Of course I said yes. More importantly, a key thing worth mentioning here goes as follows:

Due to this, I want to stress the importance of staying strong and true to the messages we believe in and subscribe to. For years I have been creating and developing content. Although my content may not get many eyeballs…yet, I take the eyeballs that my work does garner very seriously. The content I do have allows people from all areas of life to identify a touchpoint which they may be able to resonate with. This is why creating content is so important when it comes to building relationships and creating opportunities for ourselves and others. Every time we publish an article, podcast, video, etc…it’s an opportunity to either positively or negatively impact someone else’s life. I personally choose the former. As a result, my content is a reflection of my brand, character, personality, mission, and vision.

There are always experiences and stories we can share and tell. Those who decide to do so are usually those who end up creating an impact on the lives of others. This is my mission. I discuss this mission in further detail with Rakhal throughout the span of our 18 minute conversation. This conversation is being broadcasted from my home in New Brunswick, NJ and his workplace in Australia.

In this interview, I discuss my work with Behind The Hustle, Driven Society, and We LOVE Hub City. I also discuss my admiration for Gary Vaynerchuk and the importance of building brand one interaction at a time. In addition, I share how and when I was first introduced to Fast Company magazine and why I’m inspired by brands such as H&M, Ikea, Warby Parker, and TOMS. Lastly, I share how curating and remixing culture will continue to allow us to form more meaningful and impactful relationships throughout the course of the future.

– Enjoy!!!

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking brand strategist, curator, and educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development and social impact. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Behind The Hustle, Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about bridging the gap and building value between brands, communities, and culture. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

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The Thinking Class: K-Swiss

Kswiss-Home

Photo via Kippered.

On Tuesday July 11, 2017, I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk’s interview with Barney Waters (President) and Patrick Buchanan (Global Marketing Director) of the globally iconic brand, K-Swiss. Throughout the course of this 43 minute interview and call-in session, a lot was discussed. In particular, I was personally intrigued with the overall conversation on entrepreneurship and sneaker culture.

With the market domination of sneaker brands such as Adidas and Nike, Barney shared his following philosophy, “If you can’t be first, be different” (10:46). Barney also went on to mention that Nike pretty much owns the athletic category while Adidas owns the cool kid celebrity category. So…what does K-Swiss plan to do? According to this interview, K-Swiss aims to cater to entrepreneurs who are creating and leading their own businesses. In fact, as I’m writing this article, I just thought of the following idea:

In addition to aiming to cater to entrepreneurs, how about we add the category of “Thought leaders” to this conversation? These “Thought leaders” are those who aspire to create their own cultural movements and shift society through advocacy, business, education, health, social impact, etc. I believe that as a collective, the future leaders of society will be as diverse and multi-faceted as we have ever seen in the past. If I had to come up with a name for this category, I would entitle it… “The Thinking Class.”

Imagine the day we live to see the President of The White House casually rocking a pair of sneakers on a daily basis. What will these sneakers look like? What will these sneakers represent? Most importantly, what brand is going to be responsible for creating these sneakers? Due to my natural curiosity and passion for wanting to bridge the gap between brands, communities, and culture, I ask myself similar questions all of the time.

If K-Swiss is to really invest in the philosophy and process of entrepreneurship and thought leadership, I do believe that they can successfully create and dominate their own lane. Will the products have to be stylish and stellar? Absolutely! However, what is it that can potentially bring K-Swiss to the next level? Supporting the culture and lifestyle which they aim to engage with. Selling products is transactional. Yet, engaging with and supporting the development and growth of the culture and lifestyle around those products is transformational.

As Gary always says, “It’s thinking marathon over sprint.” Living in accordance to creating our own legacy is determined by our daily actions. When our behavior is in alignment with what we want our legacy to be, our true greatness begins to rise to the surface. So, what might K-Swiss want to consider doing to spearhead a new revolution of emerging leaders?

Leaders Create Leaders

Photo via Gerard Adams.

1. Ask Questions – I believe that all of the right questions eventually lead toward the right answers. Communication is vital and often overlooked. When brands express an interest in actually listening to and learning from their current audience and potential consumers, gains are usually made. Consumers always want the best products. As consumers, we would usually stay with a brand that receives feedback well and improves on something that we like as opposed to spending energy to entirely taking our business somewhere else. It’s natural, we’re creatures of habit…at least for the most part!

2. Address Challenges – With all of the challenges and problems that currently exist across the globe, what brands are endorsing and supporting the thought leaders across various industries who are working to address these challenges? There’s so much great work happening. I’m sure that authors, architects, doctors, educators, engineers, etc would love to be acknowledged, appreciated, and supported for the amazing work that they do on a day to day basis.

As Gary often says, “Every business and brand should be thinking like a media company.” I often like to say, “Content creates conversation, conversation creates opportunity, and opportunity creates impact (educational, financial, social, etc). As a consumer, when I see brands that align with and support causes which address challenges bigger than the products and/or services the brand sells, I feel more inclined to trust and engage with that brand in some capacity or another.

3. Provide Tools and Resources – In order to effectively address any problem or challenge, we must always be equipped with the proper tools and resources. This may include capital, insight, relationships, etc. I believe that the brands who are helping to connect the world are also the brands who are helping to change the world. One of the reasons why I believe that content production is so important is because it adds value in ways that products do not. Content can educate, empower, entertain, inspire, and inform. Audio content is just as important as video content which is just as important as written content.

Should K-Swiss become more than a sneaker company? Should K-Swiss become a media company who just happens to sell sneakers? Should K-Swiss aim to equip and empower thought leaders with the tools and resources necessary to shift culture and change the world at large? Should K-Swiss begin to identify and partner with organizations and programs across various industries and sectors such as The Aspen Institute, Ted Talks, SXSW, and Zeitgeist? Picture K-Swiss as not only the official sneaker, but more importantly a cultural contributor and supporter to platforms such as these. How might this look? I guess we shall see…

Lastly, it’s only right that I share some of my favorite looks:

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(Uh • Kway • Us) Aquaus Kelley is a forward-thinking brand strategist, curator, and educator. As the Founder of A Lovers Ambition Lifestyle Group, he specializes in identifying talent and creating opportunities for brand development and social impact. Aquaus has worked with companies and organizations such as Behind The Hustle, Cornerstone Agency, City Year Miami, and W Hotels. He is extremely passionate about bridging the gap and building value between brands, communities, and culture. His ultimate mission is to use his influence to project positivity across the globe and invest in the collective future of society through the arts, education, entertainment, and leadership.

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