Being a true version of yourself: Lessons on transparency from Kyle and Jackie O, and Bethany Mota

so today PHD Australia – as part of our Conversations series – was lucky enough to host a session in which Kyle and Jackie O shared some of their experiences of radio and broadcasting with the agency and some of our awesome clients. it struck me that Kyle and Jackie O were talking about exactly the same thing that Bethany Mota was talking about in a Google Brandcast event for YouTube only a few weeks ago. Transparancy.

both Kyle and Bethany answered a question on what sat behind their success with that same answer – you have to be yourself.

in Bethany’s case she was asked about what enabled her to move so seamlessly between categories … its a marketer’s question clearly, but what struck me was the almost dismissiveness of the answer – there was a sense that it didn’t matter, it was irrelevant what Bethany was up to or talking about … because it was always her doing it. her authenticity is what enabled her to move between fashion, dancing, cooking and now pop-stardom so effortlessly.

I was reminded of that comment today as Kyle was riffing on his relationship with Jackie O, audiences and brands … in all those instances he observed that you have to be – and stay – transparent.

On their on-air relationship and how it translates into audiences, Jackie observed that “people can see through when its forced … people want real chemistry” – it was that authentic chemistry that she said was behind her and Kyle friendship off-air and partnership on air. as Kyle put it: “for years people on TV and radio have been a false version of themselves”.

the same is true of their approach to, and relationship with, brands. Jackie acknowledged that “in this day and age you can’t do contests without client integration” but observed that some of their most memorable content had been through working with brands to create something engaging and compelling for the listener. what something engaging and compelling isn’t are on-air reads – which Kyle hated because he often didn’t know what he was even selling.

its commonality between these two very different media personalities that’s interesting – the established radio duo as entrenched in the paradigms and conventions of traditional media as you get, and the YouTube internet influencer rewriting the rules of what celebrity is. both are stories of authenticity and transparency … and perhaps most of all of being – in Kyle’s words – a true version of yourself.

as advice for brands and communications strategies go – you could do a lot worse.

big thanks to Kyle, Jackie, all the guys at ARN for today, and  Google for the event a few weeks back – and especially to Bethany for putting up with a very excited Chris Stephenson …

Chris and the Bethster

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