Like many of us, Brendan Kaminsky grew up a fan of many sports. He and his family frequented sporting events when he was a child. If you asked people who knew him, they would tell you Brendan reciprocated his sports passion to others. Brendan and I discussed his journey with social media and his big plans for the future, launching his own social media marketing company.
Brendan’s Start With Social Media Marketing
I asked Brendan to provide what led him down the path of social media marketing. He explained,
“My passion for sports started at a young age. My brothers and I would frequent a lot of Sixers games. We often would arrive early and stay late to get autographs of our favorite players. While I may not have known that I would build a career from something sports-related, those around me weren’t surprised.”
What influenced Brendan to pursue his lifetime passion while attending college at the University of North Carolina? One simple answer, social media. The Management and Society major with a minor in Entrepreneurship understood the changing landscape of sports marketing. This was a time when Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram weren’t what they are now. So naturally, Brendan was fascinated with the possibilities of these forms of fan/player engagement platforms. According to Kaminsky,
“Working on campaigns with CBS Sports and EA Sports as a campus representative really opened my eyes to the tangible benefits of driving social engagement.”
He recalled a time when he and his friend Tyler launched a Facebook campaign as a UNC representative. They were able to outdo every competing university country-wide. Their efforts paid off, as UNC received a free Snoop Dogg concert as a result. Subsequently, Brendan realized that there was room for growth in this field. Around the time Kaminsky was graduating, fellow UNC student and basketball player Harrison Barnes declared for the NBA draft. Kaminsky worked with Barnes on uplifting his brand through social media. It was even featured in a 2015 ESPN article.
Brendan Kaminsky and ESPN
In September of 2014, Brendan received his big break. The worldwide leader in sports media, ESPN, provided him with an opportunity to continue his love for sports through various social media platforms. Being involved with or leading the company’s social media brands such as NBA on ESPN, NCAA football and basketball on ESPN, and SportsCenter. As ESPN’s social media presence grew, so did Brendan within the company ranks. He earned promotions to multiple levels of management, gaining valuable experience in the process.
About two and a half years ago, Brendan had an idea to work with personalities at ESPN. As he explained,
“We never worked with our in-house talent prior. I had the idea of advising our analysts, commentators, and athletes as to how to bolster their presence and brands on social media.” He went on to state, “It was like building something from scratch, and it was exciting.”
This tapped into Brendan’s entrepreneurial aspirations. Though he had a great experience with the sports media giant, he wanted more independence. The company provided him with many positives. His time there allowed him to gain knowledge, work within a diverse and competitive industry, meet some of the most famous sports personalities in the world, and many other perks. But as he put it,
“I wanted to do more with talent and influencers without constrictions. I have always had the drive to start my own company. ESPN laid the foundation for that possibility.”
Starting bknown Agency
Fast forward to the present day, and Brendan has big things in store. He is starting his own social media brand venture, bknown Agency. Additionally, he still is involved with ESPN but has shifted his focus to building up brands and advising influencers, athletes, and celebrities on their own social media platforms. One of the things he highlights is the risk involved with such a project. A decision that he took much time in assessing before his leap into his personal goal.
What is the mission and vision for Kaminsky’s bknown Agency? He went to explain,
“The name of the agency is self-explanatory. Clients come to us to be known. Our goal is to devise a plan to ensure that happens with the use of social media. The biggest thing is gaining clients’ trust, allowing them to be themselves, and gaining credibility in the process. We advise our clients but do not micro-manage or censor them. At bknown, we want them to be genuine. We are here to advise them, but essentially, they have the freedom to present who they are to fans.”
Furthermore, he points out that without a great team, none of this would be possible. Another goal of the agency is to surround themselves with great talent internally, which correlates positively in aiding clients and growing. Ultimately, Brendan understands how important it is to remain humble. Also, confidence is vital in projecting the company’s mission to current and prospective clients. Currently, a couple of examples of who bknown works with are ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith and the face of the NBA 2K video game series, Ronnie2K.
What Does The Future Hold For Brendan Kaminsky and bknown?
Kaminsky and his team remain informed on the new trends in social and digital media. He highlights that TikTok has been a game-changer for athletes, and there are trends like NFTs that are becoming popular. Staying on top of these platforms is critical to the future growth of his company and branding. The company will be heavily involved in capitalizing on opportunities for clients and partners. The landscape of social media marketing is constantly shifting. And, understanding the trends will put bknown in a prime spot to maximize clients’ possibilities.
Brendan’s journey is truly inspirational. There may be some that want to follow in his footsteps. Not only in marketing but other entrepreneurial goals. If you want to learn more about Brendan Kaminsky and learn about his company, bknown agency, you can follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.