I was recently asked to do an interview with a long-time reader of DeanHunt.com, I agreed, and unexpectedly found myself mentioning facts and details about my past that I have never discussed before. So much so that I have decided to also post the interview on my blog, as well as at Tuzembobel’s blog.
Thanx for agreeing to the interview Dean. How are your killer bunnies? Please tell us little about yourself. Where do you live now (Spain or England)? What’s your typical day schedule?
Ok, well firstly, and most importantly, the Killer Bunnies are doing fine. In fact, the awesome people over at www.artyprints.co.uk read my blog and created a HUGE canvas portrait of my killer bunnies.
Me and my killer bunnies. This canvas is now on my wall in my new apartment
I think it is important that every entrepreneur lives his or her brand. In other words, I wake up and see the killer bunnies each and every day, I may even get a tattoo of them one day.
It is that sort of brand dedication that will really ensure you make your brand cool, fun and interesting. Afterall, you don’t want to have a crappy brand tattooed on your arm for the rest of your life.
Maybe one day I will get the bunnies images on my car, my clothing, myself… everywhere. And not so that I can sell merchandise or anything like that, just to show that I am passionate about it and I believe in it.
The making of my killer bunny canvas.
I now live in the UK again. I was in Madrid (Spain) for 5 years, but I needed a change, so am back in rainy England.
I don’t really have a typical day, but generally I work from my home office, which is cool, I drink copious amounts of tea and hot Vimto, and I enjoy what I do.
You are best known as a buzz marketing hooligan. What have brought you into viral marketing and becoming marketing pimp? What was your first experience in buzz marketing? Tell us more about your first steps in buzz marketing.
I don’t know if I have ever been called a “buzz marketing hooligan” or “marketing pimp” before, but I like it. Infact, I just registered the domain MarketingPimp.com
To be honest, I kinda came into viral marketing by accident. I wasn’t the type of person that made things happen by throwing tons of money at it, anyone can do that, so I decided instead to experiment with different techniques and ideas. In late 2006, one of those experiments brought me over 250,000 unique visitors in a 10 day period, and from that point, I knew that buzz, viral and anything that involved creativity was what I was destined to do.
When and how did you get familiar with the Internet and online biz?
Again, kinda by accident. I came up with an idea for a soccer based competition site that I was going to name “SoccerStars”, where stars are awarded as points.
Like many of my ideas, it never got made, but it was that day that I realised that ideas were not just alive in some far away, magical kingdom in my brainbox, but they were potential…. they were potential that could be acted upon and go from being fantasy to real.
It was then that I realised that the 9-5 job that my teachers had told me I HAD to do for the rest of my life was no longer the only option.
I remember that exact day and that exact moment really well. I walked down to pick my girlfriend up from work, and I had the idea earlier that morning. When I met her I told her my idea, and she not only got the idea, but encouraged me to go for it. I think that was the first person that ever took one of my wacky ideas seriously, and I will never forgive her for that hehe.
Seriously though, it is vitally important to surround yourself with people that will encourage you, motivate you and push you, she did that for me, whereas most people tend to laugh at big ideas. These sorts of people you are best avoiding, in fact, stay well clear of what my biz partner (Barry Dunlop) calls “Negativity Vampires” or “Energy Vampires”… especially in the beginning, it is key that you avoid these people.
At the time I was working in what I call a Zombie Job, which basically means you do the same thing all day, over and over, so I only had my imagination to keep me sane.
I knew nothing about business, the net, development, html etc… but I didn’t care, I asked loads of people, and figured it out bit by bit. That was approx 8 years ago.
When I moved to Madrid I didn’t speak enough Spanish to get a job, so I was stuck in a bedroom in a strange country, surrounded by strange people, with nothing but a laptop and an Internet connection.
In hindsight, it was that isolation and desperation that inspired me. I actually feel that a great way to improve creativity would be to go to prison for 12 months. Sitting around with nothing but your thoughts, it would be a huge catalyst. Not that I am condoning crime or anything, nor have I ever been to prison, but it was that feeling of isolation, and having nothing else to do with my time that brought out my inner creativity and desire.
So I spent 18 hours per day, 7 days a week on the Internet, I read tons of stuff, spoke to hundreds of experts, and eventually got a high level of knowledge.
When did you realise you could monetize your creativity?
You don’t monetize creativity directly. That is why a lot of people struggle with grasping the viral and buzz concepts. The creativity allows you to create big ideas, and those ideas drive traffic, branding, PR, and attention, how you monetize that is down to each specific person. But from my experience, creativity can bring fame and fortune in your industry.
What’s your source of inspiration? Where do you get your fresh buzzing ideas from?
I get asked this a lot, and I don’t have a definitive answer… I am generally a non-conformist, and I hate doing what everyone else is doing, so that helps me stand out from the crowd. I don’t take things at face value either, and I have almost zero respect for authority (until they can gain my respect), so that leads me to question everything around me.
I remember arguing with my teachers at school a lot, especially in subjects like Religious Education… I once said that I wouldn’t go to class until they could prove there 100% was a god. As you can imagine, that didn’t go down well with the school.
Also, people don’t realise that there are tricks, techniques and methods to being creative.
Most people think you are born a creative genius, but that is not the case, you have to learn it, and for me, it is like a muscle, the more I train my creativity muscles, the easier it becomes.
Please tell us more about your free time – what do you love to do when you are not blogging or buzzing? Do you have some unusual hobby? How do you spend your free time and do you actually have any?
I recently started going to the gym. 6 years+ of sitting on my ass all day surely can’t have been healthy, and I don’t mean sitting on my ass as in a small donkey, that would actually have been kinda cool. So I go to the gym 3 times a week. I also tend to party pretty hard at the weekends, often too hard. I like video games, movies and tv, and to be honest, I spend some of my free time on the Internet as well.
What does it take to come up with brilliant buzz marketing ideas for your clients? What’s the difference between good and bad buzz marketing campaign?
It can take a while to get the vibe and the pulse of a certain industry or niche, I don’t think any two niches are the same, so you need to spend time to really get under the skin of an industry. So for that reason it initially takes a little longer. But again, I have mastered certain techniques and tricks, and so most of those can be adapted to ANY industry.
The difference between and good and bad buzz campaign is not just one thing. It could be simplified as low traffic vs high traffic, but in terms of the actual factors, I think a good buzz campaign needs to have:
a clear message
must play on at least one emotional trigger (e.g fear, humour, nostalgia)
stand out from the crowd
needs to have some personality behind it
Have you ever worked “ordinary” office job? Where do you work from? Do you have your own office?
Yes, I used to work in an office doing a form of graphical design. Basically, we would receive telecoms maps containing all the phone cables underground, and we would have to put those maps onto a computer database. It was very boring, but I believe all entrepreneurs should do a crappy job for at least 6 months. It is the best form of motivation you can get, and it is a great way of bringing out creativity.
I work from my home office in the UK, but also tend to travel a lot these days, I go to America 5 or 6 times per year, and other cool places as well.
It has been a roller-coaster few years, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Thanks for answering and keep on buzzing =]
PS: If you want to interview Dean Hunt for your site or blog email email@example.com