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Amy Jo Martin: “Sell to people what you believe”

In the age of social media and digital communication, it’s increasingly easy to lose person-to-person interaction. Amy Jo Martin, founder and CEO of Digital Royalty, stressed the importance of emphasizing the personalities behind a brand at our Big Kansas City event last week.

“If we really want to be effective with communication, we have to humanize our brands,” Martin said. “And that gets uncomfortable for a lot of people because we’re not comfortable blending our professional and personal worlds.”

Digital Royalty, which Martin founded in 2009 with Shaquille O’Neal as her first client, helps create digital integration social media strategies for entertainment brands, entertainers, athletes and sports franchises. Throughout her work, Martin learned time and time again that “humans connect with humans, not logos.” She put that knowledge into her New York Times bestselling book “Renegades Write the Rules,” focused on the importance of social media in communicating a brand.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you did it,” she said. “So the goal is not to sell to people what you have, the real goal is to sell to people what you believe.”

Early in her career working with the Phoenix Suns, Martin realized pushing boundaries and “asking for forgiveness rather than permission” is something that comes along with exploring new media.

“I realized that we can color outside of the lines without crossing the line, and that there’s a big difference between disrupting and destructing,” Martin said.

Last fall, the tech startup launched Digital Royalty University, a social media education program, in order to acclimate communications professionals to changing technology in media, especially when many companies are resistant to those changes.

“Every time we innovate, adversity follows, so that’s something we have to get very comfortable with because it’s just part of the process,” she said.

Update April 3 — By request of Martin, she credited her quote—”People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you did it”—to Start with Why‘s Simon Sinek.

Big Kansas City is a two-and-a-half-day event that aims to inspire, educate and celebrate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the heart of the Midwest. Produced by Silicon Prairie News, it’s part of the Big Series, the nation’s most ambitious events on innovation and entrepreneurship.


Credits: Video by Quadrant5. Snippet photo by Kenny Johnson Photography.

The Big Kansas City Video Series is presented by NIC, Inc.

NIC Inc. is the nation’s leading provider of official government portals, online services, and secure payment processing solutions. The company’s innovative eGovernment services help reduce costs and increase efficiencies for government agencies, citizens, and businesses across the country.

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