Bonus Episode: Claire Brzozowski, Coordinator for Paid Influencer Programs and Social Media at Base Beauty Creative Agency

When Jodi sat down with Claire Brzozowski, Base Beauty’s Coordinator for Paid Influencer Programs and Social Media, it was cool to hear what was behind some of the career decisions she has made. Switching from a major in psychology to one in communications and media arts, Claire was aware of the connections between the two disciplines, observing how much psychology goes into effective social media marketing.

Even at her young age—or perhaps because of it—Claire can smell inauthenticity across cyberspace. It is fascinating to learn from someone who has essentially grown up with social media how she views it today and sees it evolving.

Join us to hear Jodi’s conversation with the Jersey girl who is the newest member of the Base Beauty team.

Dan Hodgdon
Jodi KatzHey everybody, welcome back to WHERE BRAINS MEET BEAUTY®. I'm excited to continue to introduce you to the incredible team members I have at Base Beauty Creative Agency and I'm sitting across today from a new hire, her name is Claire.
Claire BrzozowskiHello.
Jodi KatzHi, Claire. Claire is now working at Base Beauty as our coordinator for paid influencer programs and social media, and now we get to know her a little bit more. So Claire, tell us about yourself, where are you from?
Claire BrzozowskiI'm from New Jersey. I just moved into the city when I started three weeks ago.
Jodi KatzOh, I didn't know that. That's so cool.
Claire BrzozowskiYeah, I grew up in New Jersey my whole life, in central Jersey - some people say that doesn't exist, but I beg to differ - in Hunterdon County. It's a bit different in the city. A lot of farms by where I'm from originally.
Jodi KatzAnd how has living in the city been to you?
Claire BrzozowskiIt's fun, I really like it. I think one of the biggest ... I wanted to move, and one of the biggest things is that there's so much to do. You have the option to do so much, but you can also choose to bum it in your apartment and not do anything. But if it's 10 PM and you want to go out and do something, it's all out there.
Jodi KatzI want everyone to know how we found you. A former team member of ours, Jackie, who's moved on now to Moroccanoil, her boyfriend is your brother, right?
Claire BrzozowskiYep, big long string of connections.
Jodi KatzIt just shows that working your network really works. So what did you say to Jackie when you were looking for a new job?
Claire BrzozowskiYou know, she knew I was looking for new job, she knew I especially wanted to be in New York, and I've kind of always been super jealous of her being able to work in the beauty industry, I saw what she was doing and I was like, "Yeah, this is amazing." And she's like, "Well, I'm going to introduce you to Aleni, and to Jodi, if anything ever comes up." And I was like, "Okay, just let me know. I'm super excited, if there's anything ever, just keep me in mind." And it all worked out.
Jodi KatzSo where'd you go to college?
Claire BrzozowskiMontclair State in New Jersey.
Jodi KatzAnd what were you studying there?
Claire BrzozowskiActually it's kind of a long story. I originally started at Westchester University in Pennsylvania studying psychology, and then I was kind of over that, I didn't like it. I wanted to change schools, so I looked at Montclair State and they had a program for communication and media arts, and everything about it seemed awesome and super interesting. So I started my junior year at Montclair State and switched to a whole new major, started from scratch.
Jodi KatzAnd was it hard to find a job after graduation?
Claire BrzozowskiKind of. I took the summer, and then really started looking for jobs I want to say around August, September. And then I actually was lucky enough, again, like you said, just your network, I knew someone who knew someone who was working at a marketing agency actually close to my home where I grew up. I sent along my resume, they brought me in for an interview, and then I got that job, by November I think I started. So it wasn't too bad, I'm sure people probably have had it worse than me, but it was good, it all really worked out, and it was a good first job to have for sure.
Jodi KatzSo we made a big effort to try to ease you in to working at Base Beauty, which is not typical. I'm sure you've heard from other team members that some of them were literally thrown into the fire their very first day, or thrown into the pool and had to swim, or whatever it is. Do you think we did a good job at easing you in?
Claire BrzozowskiYeah, I think so for sure. Definitely something that is hard for me is change, for sure, I think everyone is like that. So starting a new job is always kind of nerve-wracking for anyone, but especially because I did the freelancing with you guys since April, I think starting out that and then starting out kind of slow introducing to everyone here, it's really been helpful in that. I'm getting used to it. It feels very comfortable here already.
Jodi KatzSo one thing that we should mention, because that's part of finding the right job, is that we didn't have anything for you at the time that you asked, but we actually had a lot of freelance needs for a support on community management. So you were open to doing that in your off hours, and you're really great at it, and it really left an impression, right? It was the real opening, the foot in the door. Would you recommend to your friends that they try to find a way in, any way in, they can to something they want to do?
Claire BrzozowskiYeah, absolutely. I think you just, like you said, make an impression anywhere you can go, and do whatever they ask you to do. And that way people will remember you and remember your name, and if something ever comes up they'll be like, "Oh yeah, this person is so good," or whatever. So I think that's for sure ... And it was fun too, it was something to distract me from my other job. Not that my other job was bad, but it was something fun to do on the side that I was a little bit more passionate about. I enjoyed it a lot, so I'd suggest it to anyone.
Jodi KatzWhen you were younger, what was your dream job?
Claire BrzozowskiI think I was convinced I was going to be an actress or a singer, which ... I have way too much stage fright to be an actress, and I have a terrible voice, so that was just out of the question. But I went back and forth a lot, I think I've always been the type of person who didn't know exactly what they wanted and tried a lot of things. And that's why I liked doing psychology, because for awhile I was like, "I'm going to do something with psychology," and then I was like ... This didn't let me express my creativity as much as I liked, but I still liked the basis of understanding people and how they work.

And then I was like, "Oh, communications, that's great." It kind of mixes a lot of different things, and it's so broad that I can continue trying different things and experiencing different industries. My old job was in pharma and life sciences, which was fun for a little bit, but again, I didn't get to express as much creativity. I always knew I wanted to do something creative, long story short.
Jodi KatzCommunity management and social media in general I think is like a huge psychology experiment, right?
Claire BrzozowskiYeah.
Jodi KatzConnecting with people, creating intimacy even though there's such distance, right? So I think that's part of the hard work, and what we try to teach our clients is that this is not just an ad, this is a relationship we're trying to build, and it takes time. There's a wall up, right? The device is the wall. How do we break through it? And it takes a lot of time.
Claire BrzozowskiYeah, I was just having a conversation yesterday about ... It's so interesting trying to understand your audience, and especially with influencers, some influencers have an audience who's working, so they're not on the phone during the day, and some have an audience who are in high school or college, and they are on the phone. And not only understanding when they're on, but also understanding what they're into and what they're going to respond to.

Especially now, I feel like people on social media or on the Internet are not as ... I don't want to say gullible, but they can smell when you're not being authentic. They know. So you have to find a way to be authentic and connect with them in real ways. And I think that has a lot to do with just understanding people and the psychology of people, and that's kind of what I love, that mix of different things.
Jodi KatzAnd I think that's probably one of the biggest hurdles we have with clients who just want results, whatever that result is. It could be profile views, it could be followers or comments. But the social media consumer is so sophisticated, she doesn't want any BS anymore, she really craves honesty and intimacy. And you can't really manufacture that, right? You have to just be it, you have to live your brand.

And if you can live your brand in your own honest, authentic way, the right fans will come, just like being a normal human. You go to a party, if you are fake and weird and not acting like who you really are, people are going to be like, "What's wrong with that girl?" But if you're just yourself, you're going to attract like-minded people.
Claire BrzozowskiYeah, exactly. It's so refreshing to work in an environment where that's kind of like the motto and what to live by. Because I've felt that way always, I am constantly unfollowing people on Instagram who are just getting annoying and fake and too sponsored, it's obvious that they're too sponsored. Yeah, that's a big thing for me.
Jodi KatzWhat do you think the future of social media is going to be like in 10 years? Will this job even exist?
Claire BrzozowskiThat's a good question. I feel like it's so hard to even predict, because ... It's so funny, we met with an influencer yesterday actually, and she was saying how she started her blog in 2012, she just was doing it for fun, had no idea she could make money off of it. And then kind of got into taking pictures and posting them on Instagram, and now she's really successful and runs a great blog.

And she goes into forums with other influencers and they're like, "Oh, it's been two months and I haven't made any money." And she's just astounded, but that's what it's become now. These young girls, for better or worse, they're coming in wanting to make money and find it more a job rather than an outlet to express their creativity or their passion, or whatever it is. Who knew it would come to that, who knew that there'd be so many people who are trying to get their Instagram to 100,000 followers just to promote products and ask for products.

So, to answer that question, I don't know, I think it's so hard to predict. I think there are going to be jobs that we haven't even thought of yet in the future, because would we have even thought of my job 10 years ago, five years ago? I don't know. I think it's going to change in ways that we have no clue yet.
Jodi KatzYeah. I think that the people who are coming into this space just to monetize, I guess my hope is they'll be weeded out or move to platforms where that is really the sole purpose. And maybe our platform choices will change, but this sense of sharing in a digital word-of-mouth way will continue, because it really is very powerful. Definitely I talk to people who poo-poo it. You can poo-poo it, but it works, it's really just word of mouth.

There are billboards, we think of our macros as our billboards, right? You're driving by the billboard, you see the brand mentioned, you're like, "Oh that brand exists? Okay, now I know it exists." That's step one. And then those macros who are really engaged and interested and curious and love to share, like your good friend in the neighborhood who's always telling you about the new restaurant that's opening, or the new hair salon, they're so great at word-of-mouth.

So I'm hoping that the people who really just want to share and engage with brands that make sense for them, and it's not all about their monetization, it's obviously part of it, but they're more selective, I'm hoping that there will be a place for those people to live and their fans, and a place for the other people to live who are just commercials.
Claire BrzozowskiAnd I feel like that kind of goes back to the conversation of this authenticity, and how audiences now appreciate that more, and are I think making those people who are more about partnering with the products or companies that they connect with, it's allowing them to have more success, I think.
Jodi KatzThere used to be something called TV where we'd watch .. Well, you're young, so when I was growing up, we watched TV and their commercials, and I don't know if it's this way anymore because no one really watches TV the same way, but there used to be, let's say between two o'clock in the morning and five o'clock in the morning, certain channels, like the weather channel or E or something, would turn to all infomercials.

So it was just infomercial about a frying pan, infomercial about the newest whatever. So maybe that's what will happen, right? These really commercial people will live in a space or a time where that makes sense and there's an audience for it. And then in other time periods or other places I go, I can find the storytelling that I'm more interested in.
Claire BrzozowskiYeah, that's a good point.
Jodi KatzAnd infomercials didn't exist ... I mean, I guess everything was an infomercial at some point, but that sort of evolved, right? So it's interesting to see where this evolves.
Claire BrzozowskiYeah.
Jodi KatzWell, Claire, welcome to the team.
Claire BrzozowskiThank you.
Jodi KatzWelcome to the podcast, is this your third first podcast ever?
Claire BrzozowskiYeah, big headphones, microphone, it's pretty cool.
Jodi KatzIt is cool, I really think it's fun. Well, hopefully this won't be the last and we'll get to chat. Maybe we can do a social media, community management chat every once in a while.
Claire BrzozowskiYeah, definitely.
Jodi KatzEducate our listeners in what we're learning. Well, thank you, Claire.
Claire BrzozowskiThank you.

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