From Baseball To Social Media: Tinuiti’s Brathwaite Talks Strategy
Amar Braithwaite, SVP, head of social at performance agency Tinuiti, has an affinity for baseball and social media — baseball because he loved to play the sport as a kid and young adult in college, and social media because of the conversations between bands and consumers that occur globally.
He joined Tinuiti in December from Publicis Groupe to work with the agency’s growing creative division and data insights team to deliver strategic paid-social solutions that advance lead generation, app downloads, sales, and customer loyalty. His team consists of about 33 employees support social campaigns.
The social practice continues to grow for Tunuiti, he said. Many brands, even smaller ones, have begun to take their social media strategies global.
Search Insider: What drew you to Tinuiti?
Braithwaite: The opportunity to build with them. They created a model that the agency world hasn’t seen. At Publicis Groupe you were given a salary and expected to work an 80-hour week.
You might get an end-of-the-year bonus, but at Tinuiti they really honed in at rewarding people for doing the work they execute. It’s a model that’s difficult to replicate.
SI: When you were in grade school, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Braithwaite: I wanted to be a major league baseball player. I grew up playing baseball in south Florida and had some pretty amazing coaches. Unfortunately, as I entered college I had my first elbow surgery. A piece of bone broke off from my elbow, but I kept playing. Four surgeries later, I am now an SVP of social media.
SI: Can you see a parallel between your love for baseball and social media?
Braithwaite: Playing baseball influenced the way I went about developing my career.
As a pitcher you always want the limelight, but for me to get the limelight in social I needed to lead by example and create the best strategy possible for a team so they always feel like they’re marching toward a winning goal.
That might mean customer retention or best-in-class execution in creative development. For me it’s about developing the strongest roster of players on my team — then taking a game-winning strategy to life.
SI: What is the best piece of advice you received so far during your career and whom did it come from?
Braithwaite: It came from an old mentor, Ron Guirguis, a CEO at Publicis at the time. He said it all starts with why. If you don’t allow people to understand why decisions are being made, they will never be able to infuse the how and the what.
If we’re crafting an end-of-the-year plan, I really want them to understand the why so we can back out of the roadmap to get to the how.
SI: What are the biggest things related to your position that keep you up at night?
Braithwaite: In social’s 24/7/365-day-per-year business there’s always something going on. I think about the way social has evolved into a pay-to-play space. You really need to be a financial steward of your clients’ budget to keep the level of trust you try hard to maintain.
Algorithm glitches and platforms going down are what keeps me up at night.
If you look at Black Friday, the Super Bowl of performance marketing, you get really nervous about potentially what might happen.
Those are the things that give me a slight heart palpitation here and there.