Put a finger down if you did yearbook in high school and then started loving photography and you moved to New York City after college without a plan and then you started taking iPhone photos and working with brands, then you signed up for Popular Pays, and now you work for a large global agency while creating content for brands at the same time.
Brian Cason is one-of-a-kind in the Popular Pays family. He’s not only a content creator, but also works full-time as a Digital Strategist at Pahnke US, an independent ad agency based in Chicago. Brian has completed over 14 campaigns for Popular Pays in the last five years, and was one of the first creators to sign up for our platform. I wanted to step inside his mind to learn about his creative process and hear what he had to say about his unique perspective in working with our team as a brand and a creator.
Would you consider yourself an influencer and/or content creator?
I would say I’m more on the content creator side. I am more passionate about content and capturing things, rather than promoting myself as a brand. You could say that I’m more of an introvert when it comes to that. Simply put, I like to capture cool stuff.
Please share some of your content creation story with us?
I started taking photos for yearbook where I fell in love with capturing something people can look at or enjoy for years to come. I think it was Junior year of college when I got my first iPhone and the accessibility of a great camera always with me helped me to fall back in love with photography. I moved around a lot after college, attended a lot of Instagram meetups, met a lot of cool people and got even more into photography. Through the people I met and places like Popular Pays, I started doing some odd jobs and although I knew photography wasn’t going to be my full-time career, I’ve grown deeply passionate about it and am thankful to have it as an outlet.
How would you describe your creative process?
I like to find things that make me pause. For example, if I’m out and about and something causes me to do a double take or look at it again–that’s the creative in me telling me I need to take a photo. It’s more so a process of being more aware of things that make me pause, snap a picture, and then I figure out what to do with it later on.
What’s your favorite Pop Pays campaign you’ve worked on and why?
The Google photos campaign was fun. I mean, it’s Google…a huge legacy brand, so it was humbling to do a campaign like that. I loved that the brief encouraged me to showcase photos I captured through my travels, and share about how I store them.
What do you do in your current role?
I am currently a Digital Strategist and I help clients with all things digital and social marketing. I help develop holistic 360 campaigns living as digital ads and create programs for them that help meet their goals and elevate the brand’s presence and story. My roles have looked different, but I always want to be involved in something creative. It’s cool to work in an area informed by research and insight as well as gut instincts and creative decisions outside of just strategy.
Does being a creator influence your work?
It does, as a creative, I’m a highly visual person. When I’m developing any type of strategy I think of how it’s gonna look and feel even before the creative team decides on that. I always reflect on what will help us make the best work possible. There is always a creative side of me that influences decision making and informs the standards I set for the work we do. I want things to look the best they can.
Does working for an agency influence your content creation? If so, how?
Yes, it opened my eyes to things I didn’t realize before. I never saw the ins and outs of how agencies operate. The selling of work, the hurdles, the approvals. It gives me a better understanding of what it takes to get stuff done. Working on both sides has also given me insight into what kind of content might be most successful.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about being an influencer/content creator?
I think sometimes people assume that the work and content comes easy. Many creators do a good job of curating their feed and the content they put out, so it can be assumed by people outside the space that it’s easy. It’s a process for me to think through a finished product and what it’s going to be. People also often think the jobs come easy and there are always tons of people knocking on your door with work, but it takes hustle and time to build up a network of clients
What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone looking to collaborate with brands?
Make sure you do the work you want to do, not just what is offered to you. Also, it’s important to work really hard to understand what it is the brand is looking for. That being said, make sure you are honest with yourself and if you are the right person to accomplish their goal. Don’t try to fit yourself into a mold–stay true to the content you create so you can be proud of it.