Obvious Chats: Aaron Reese drops aggregated cultural beats
If you’ve collaborated or attended an event with Obviously over the past few months, chances are you’ve been lucky enough to run into Aaron, our incredible influencer engagement specialist. He’s a shining beam of sparkly, unicorn joy gracing our office with his wit, wisdom, and seemingly endless energy. He’s also a treasure-trove of pop culture knowledge, which is especially fascinating to me, as someone whose particular brand of nerdiness is centered on a love of Shakespeare and early enlightenment philosophy, skills which never come in handy at trivia night. But I digress.
I sat down with Aaron for a chat about his unique take on influencer marketing, Taco Bell, and how comic books could save the world.
Tell us a little about what you do at Obviously?
I spearhead influencer engagement. That means I identify, onboard and vet influencers we work with to ensure we have the best network of influencers possible! I manage most influencer facing outreach and ensure the influencers that work with Team Obviously are happy! Also, I throw fun parties….for the influencers of course.
Most of Obviously’s work is online, but you get a lot of face-time with influencers. How is this beneficial for Obviously and for the influencers?
I do! I think, because we’re so immersed in the digital world, facetime is refreshing. We email our influencers a lot, and the Account Managers are always in contact with them for campaigns, so the face time is always welcomed. We’re all about making the experience at Obviously a human one. #NoBotsAllowed
I’ve heard you say you’re the biggest nerd at Obviously. Convince me.
*Hold my comics*
Favorite Comic Book Character: Storm of the X-Men
Favorite Anime: Sailor Moon
I’m fluent in fantasy & sci-fi. (Dragons or bust)
My spirit is ⅓ unicorn ⅓ Grace Jones and ⅓ Blue Power Ranger
I love your spirit.
You have a podcast called “Mutant and Magical Boy” Where did this name come from?
My podcast partner and I inherently talk about nerdy things ALL the time and some of our revelations have been pretty astounding so we wanted a place to house them. Our name comes to some of our favorite genre of fiction. Mutants are the focus in the X-Men (and that’s my podcast partner’s Alias.) Magical Boy refers to the magical girl genre in anime...a la Sailor Moon and as you can imagine, that’s all me.
Feel free to give it a listen here.
You describe yourself as a pop culture encyclopedia. But this is a pretty broad term. How do you define pop culture?
Pop Culture is indeed broad, because it touches everything. From music to history, fashion and food. It’s a monolith that exists outside of memes and hashtags. It’s a literal time capsule of aggregated cultural beats. And being in tune with that helps you to navigate spaces such as marketing. Brands such as Taco Bell expertly play up pop culture in an attempt to connect with a distinctly millennial audience.
How, in your opinion, can a knowledge of pop culture benefit an influencer?
Influence requires awareness. Being ahead of the curve pays off. Sometimes that's in the form of taking relevant politics and making hilarious memes. Or its taking relevant events and using them to optimize your network on the digital scale.
How do you think pop culture influences our daily life? Our politics? Our worldview?
There are literal agencies that help to add data behind these insights. Sparks & Honey is my favorite. And one of their most fascinating findings is how the age of the emoji has altered the way we speak IRL. (See what I did there.) These little nuances are also the subtleties that help influencers engage with their captive audience.
I’m a pop culture dummy. What should I run out and read/see/try right now?
Black Panther for a film. It’s an Afro-futuristic wonder!
Books: Anything written by Neil Gaiman. Seriously the man does no wrong.
(If you've never heard of Afro-Futurism, This American Life has a great episode introducing the sci-fi genre.)
Give me one tip on how to be more cool. :-P
Heck if I know...I read comics. Isn’t that the antithesis of being cool? Lol
No, Aaron, you are the most cool.
Keep an eye out for emails from Aaron in your inbox. Oh, and follow him on Instagram @_theblkunicorn.