In an era where there is too much information, it is hard for brands to make their voices heard in the world. So then how exactly do brands, celebrities and influences get their messages out there? Acclaimed actor, producer and musician Will Smith has found a way to captivate a global audience and create profound connections within himself through his new YouTube channel. In this panel, Smith, with moderation from the Vice President of Consumer Goods, Government and Entertainment at Google, Adam Stewart, dives into why he started his channel, and how it has helped him use his voice.
Smith has been in the spotlight since he was at least 18 years old. Although he never planned to accomplish all that he has so far, his first record was a hit and since then he has been diving head first deep into his career. As he’s continued his career, he has not been able to complete all of the creative projects he has wanted to. He wanted an authentic way to connect to people through technology, which is what motivated him to create his channel.
For brands today, it’s important to realize how different the times are, he said. Before, there was a lot of emphasis on getting the job done while today, the emphasis is getting the job done well, and being authentic. In today’s time, paying attention to close details is more important that just getting the job done, and if brands do not pay attention, they will not succeed.
Nothing is more valuable than your gut. At the end of the day, brands have to make a call to find the extraordinary, and metrics may not be the best bet for finding it. Metrics exist to keep brands from failure, but they limit the capacity to find exceptional stories. Brands must be able to find the stories that are outside of the realm of what anyone thought was possible because that is where the successful stories are.
Another important aspect is the act of storytelling. The quality of the storytelling leads the engagement and the ability to carry people along, Smith said. The reason for storytelling is joy and expansion. Having a joyous moment as well as a life lesson to improve lives is what Smith looks for. If you can find both elements in a story, at least one person will need it. It is why he often tackles things that scare him. Smith wanted to confront the part of his mind that constricted him, because it kept him from exploring the world. In those videos, he often finds joy after the moment, and learns more about himself.
“I think a constant and daily confrontation with your fears and edges is hugely important to maintain creativity. You can’t even see things you’re scared of. Your mind rejects them.”
A story won’t hold people if there is no emotional connection. The greatest thing you can do for business and success is being a better you. People should experience their emotions to understand them, because those have been and will continue to be the greatest stories throughout humanity.