What Greg Brady Taught Me About Digital Connections

Steve Rubel: It's OK to Create a Site That Doesn't Have an Agenda

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The e-mail pitch seemed almost too wacky to be true. Barry Williams (aka the actor who played Greg Brady on "The Brady Bunch") started blogging two weeks ago at thegregbradyproject.com, and his hired PR help wanted to set up a meet and greet.

Growing up in the '70s, I logged many after-school hours watching "Brady Bunch" reruns on TV -- an experience today's digital kids probably miss. This fanboy couldn't pass up the meeting.

In the process, I learned a lot about how brands can use the digital space to become more genuine. After all, Greg Brady is a mighty brand. Everyone knows who Greg is, and Williams has leveraged his fame into all kinds of ventures, including Broadway and satellite radio.

Going in, I was a bit cynical. I half expected to meet a celebrity chasing the latest web trend just to be seen as hip. Boy, was I wrong. What I found instead was someone who is serious about blogging for the long haul.

Williams does not have an agenda for the site. He simply wants to create a digital presence where he can share, learn and build connections -- and not just with his fans. The blog is about "being in the game with people who share common interests," he explained. "I want to listen, to engage and develop it."

Our meeting reflected this approach. Williams was more interested in learning about Twitter than he was about promoting the site.

Steve Rubel
Photo: JC Bourcart
Steve Rubel is a marketing strategist and blogger. He is senior VP in Edelman's Me2Revolution practice.
His digital presence exudes the same sense of openness. The Greg Brady Project courts guest bloggers and carries little in the way of promotion other than links to Smiles Change Lives, a charity Williams supports. It's trustworthy because it's all about building connections.

The takeaway for brands is that it's OK to create a site that doesn't have agenda, messaging or shock and awe. A digital presence can be a port for conversations, connections and collaboration. The key is to keep it fresh and inhabited by real humans who want to share and learn.

So next time you're planning a digital strategy, channel Greg for inspiration.
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