Brian Curee Interview
CEO & Digital Strategist
Killer Bee Strategies
Career Capsule: My journey into the digital field started back in 2006 when my wife, Shawna, encouraged me to go back to school. After graduating with a degree in Computer Science I began working for a pharmaceutical publishing company as their website manager and computer tech. In 2010 my career path came to a halt as jobs were being cut due to the economic crash, which led me down a path of learning how to trust God more and seeking His direction as a solo entrepreneur. Later I began volunteering at our church and wanted to further my Biblical knowledge. The church offered me a full scholarship to Faith Theological Seminary & Christian College, which I completed in 2013. At that time, God placed it on my family’s heart to move to Florida to volunteer at a church we felt connected to. We packed up and moved within two months and were excited about what God had next for us and the journey we were on. I served as the Men’s Ministry Leader and was the Creative Team Director for three years at a local church in Dundee, Florida. I began working remotely for WAKW in Cincinnati as their Web and Graphics Manager and later became their Director of Digital and Marketing. Moving back to Cincy in 2016 was a hard decision for my family and I, but God made it clear to me that He wanted to do something different. I put my business on hold and went full-time at STAR 93.3. While there I wore many hats as their digital director, marketing director, web manager, social media manager, videographer, and content creator/writer for online articles. In 2018, God began to give me a vision of relaunching the business to help more Christian broadcasters do digital with purpose and confidence by sharing my personal experiences, though this time it wouldn’t just be me. It was going to require a team. No more solo entrepreneur. When launching Killer Bee full-time Brant Hansen gave me the fancy title of Chief of Video Content. Fancy, right? I worked with CURE International and Brant to heal kids through growing awareness about his YouTube Channel. Today, I am still blown away by what God is doing with Killer Bee and our incredible team. He is faithful.
Brian, tell us what’s new at Killer Bee Marketing … any news, changes etc… what’s new with YOU?
We have a few pretty big changes coming to Killer Bee! The first is our shift towards “design to connect.” The future of digital is changing and trust is becoming the new currency, and people trust those they have relationships with. Relationships begin with connection. This has led us to change the company name to Killer Bee Strategies. The term “marketing” now makes people think more of paid advertising than anything else, which does not align with our “design to connect” strategy.
We’re also launching the new Killer Bee Studios in the Metaverse on August 17th and will be interviewing the world creator, Aaron Sorrels of Soapstone Comedy Club, one of the most popular worlds in Horizon Worlds. Aaron Sorrels also hosts a podcast called Well MetaVERSED with Jason Earls. They’ll both be joining us to discuss how they got into the Metaverse, sharing their experiences and live Q&A with the audience.
What advice do you have to someone in Christian Radio/Records on how they can keep up with everything/changes in digital media, keep up with the latest trends etc.?
There are so many people and resources you can get quick answers to your digital questions. Google is a great tool, but if anyone calls themselves an expert in digital, I’d recommend turning the other way. I like to say that the shelf life for an expert in digital is short because of the constant changes. As soon as we label ourselves as an expert in digital, we’re at risk of thinking we know it all and have probably stopped learning.
Our team at Killer Bee is applying our “design to connect” strategy to how we approach questions too. We’ve been learning how to ask more meaningful questions instead of just giving quick answers. Questions open the door to better connection and help us understand the thought process of our clients to help them determine if the answer they’re seeking is best for them and the season they are in.
One way to keep updated on digital changes would be to sign up for our emails. Our team is constantly researching and sharing digital buzz through blog articles, YouTube videos, and an occasional KillerB thought to challenge us all as Christian broadcasters. You can signup for our emails online at https://killerbeestrategies.com/join-our-email-list/
P.S. If you have an Oculus headset, come join us in our Metaverse Studio “Killer Bee Studios” and be part of the active discussions. You can even use the studio to record or host your own virtual meetings.
I like to follow and connect with business leaders and digital directors on LinkedIn who are outside the radio industry too. Each one of them has unique insight that we can take and adapt to serve people better across digital platforms. But don’t just copy what others do, make it fit your unique purpose to serve your audience.
Overall, what are some things you see in social media that get under your skin?
Good question. Ted, I feel like I’m being set up for this one… I could list off so many things that get under my skin about social media, but I read a book recently called “Soul Keeping” and it shined a light on what I believe to be one of the biggest problems with social media. We are more self-focused than soul-focused. Social media is all about self, which isn’t good for our soul. Here’s an excerpt from the book that helps shed some light on the importance of being soul-focused and not self-focused.
“To lose my soul means I no longer have a healthy center that organizes and guides my life. I am a car without a steering wheel. It doesn’t matter how fast I can go, because I am a crash waiting to happen.”
The healthy center that guides you and me is the connection between our soul and God. We all have an interior life and an outward life and we tend to be more concerned with the outward life because of the image it portrays to others following us. Think about the public feeds and private feeds (inbox, DMs) on social media. Could the public feeds be similar to the outward life on social media and the private feeds, the interior life? If so, which feed do you think would be more meaningful for connecting with people?
What’s something you’ve learned due to the pandemic, about Marketing, Christian Radio, Media, etc that you didn’t know before?
Launching a business full-time right before the pandemic hit wasn’t something we had planned for, but God wasn’t surprised by the timing. I had learned earlier in my entrepreneurial journey that things don’t always go according to plan and learning to trust God during those moments of change is crucial. There’s a lot to that story and we recently launched a series on our YouTube Channel to share the Killer Bee Story in full. You can watch episode one at https://youtu.be/GACcLe6y5uc
On a personal level, the pandemic reminded me not to neglect time with my family. There will always be more work to do. I had to learn to be ok with saying no to work at times to ensure I have time with my family. If I can’t do the job, there are others out there that will, but there’s no one else that has been gifted with the responsibility of loving my family, and there is no substitute.
What are your thoughts on Facebook, is it still relevant and useful?
Ok, I’m going to keep this one short. Even though Facebook has had a decline there are still a lot of people on there. If that’s where your audience is, you should be there, but I would challenge everyone to ask themselves this question. Instead of asking if Facebook is relevant and useful, ask if your current strategy and approach are relevant and useful for your audience. Remember to design for connection.
Every social media platform will have the same outcome at some point down the road. That’s why it’s crucial to use them appropriately to build a connection with your audience. Earn their trust by serving well, which leads to building a loyal tribe rather than a large crowd.
Many stations have added a digital director to their staffs… what should management look for when hiring someone in that capacity?
Look for someone who is open to change, and allow them to experiment. I would also highly suggest you consider a digital consultant and coach to help take some of the weight off them. Digital is constantly changing and if your digital director wears a lot of hats, having a digital consultant or coach can be a huge help to them and your digital team. A digital coach is just as important as having an on-air coach.
Generally speaking to the industry, what are the biggest obstacles facing Christian digital media?
I would say it’s ourselves and the way we’ve always done things.
Always keep the audience in the forefront of your mind. When it comes to digital, they need you to be more than a funny meme or silly dance. They need you to be true to the purpose you have as a Christian broadcaster. Whether that’s over the airwaves, on social feeds, live videos, or on TikTok. If your purpose is lost in chasing vanity metrics, you’re only adding to the noise. That is a risk we shouldn’t be open to taking because of the mission we have as Christian broadcasters.
Be open to bringing on new digital personalities rather than trying to force your on-air personalities to fit a new mold they’re not skilled or passionate about. You’ll probably save money finding people that are skilled at those mediums and making sure they align with your purpose and mission.
Who are your radio heroes and influences? and why?
Wow, this is not an easy question to answer. There are so many people that have played a huge part in inspiring and encouraging me in the Christian radio industry. I will list four men that have really played a big part in my journey and why.
Josh Lauritch, from 55 Promotion, has been encouraging me since day one. As I stepped out to follow the vision God gave me for Killer Bee, Josh was there to encourage me to keep doing what we’re doing. He’s a friend that’s been there to hear me celebrate and groan and open enough to speak the truth when I need to hear it the most. Plus, he’s the first one to say “that’s killer B” which coined my nickname “KillerB.” Thanks, Josh!
Brant Hansen was also one who encouraged me at the beginning of launching Killer Bee. There were some things I took personally in my past that Brant helped me get over. Later I learned there’s a difference between words that hurt and words that harm and as leaders we must choose our words wisely. Brant has also modeled to us all that we need to be true to who we are and our purpose in serving as Christian broadcasters to a world that needs Jesus.
Chuck Finney has become an amazing spiritual friend that I can turn to for guidance, discussion, and support. He’s helped remind me of the importance of seeking God first in my decisions and being ok with slowing down and doing things at God’s speed, which is slower than we might like.
Last but not least, Joe West has been a huge inspiration to me. I’ve met a lot of people, but no one is quite like Joe. His heart for people is captivating and their family has shown my family and I so much love and support over the last couple of years. Joe is one of those people that doesn’t just say I’ll pray for you, he’ll stop whatever he’s doing to pray for you at that exact moment. If you know Joe, you know what I mean. You can’t help but see Jesus’ love when you’re close to Joe.