An interview with Roberto Kusabbi: Director of Community and Social Marketing at King

Roberto has had an extraordinary Social Media career. Starting his journey at the British Heart Foundation he then became Global Social Media & Digital Manager at Spurs. After that he went on to PlayStation where he was the Senior Social & Content Manager. I worked with him at Sky where we were both Controllers working on social marketing of over 200 TV shows including Game of Thrones. After his time at Sky he went on to work as Creative Marketing Director at Roborace and now is the Social & Community Marketing Director at King where his focus is on influencer content and community marketing strategy. He oversees the execution of all King games including Candy Crush Saga, Crash Bandicoot: On the Run!

What does a normal day at work involve for you?

Pleasure to talk to you! My day is never the same which is probably a cliche in creative industries but it really isn't! There are always challenges and solutions to be found. Obviously the pandemic has taken away a big part of my work which is face to face engagement but I have been fortunate to feel connected to teams and partners via Zoom and I am a big fan of Slack, growing up on MSN will do that to you!

In terms of my day to day broadly, it will go from planning and strategy days or hours, be that for a campaign or launch, to talking to partners and internal teams on best practice or a creative idea my team have thought of, to execution sign off and then to giving viewpoints on where we should be headed.

I try to make time to take in some reading and every morning will look at what’s trending. We do a lot of influencer work so that it’s important to see what’s going on in that world. I have a Twitter List of ‘Internet people’ that I follow who are always on the pulse so that gives me a digest.

I’ve tried to carve out more time to think and plan, problem with back to back meetings is you don’t think as much, so I try to find time, not to email but to actually think and put that to paper - literally paper - or more often than not decks.

Ultimately, my job is to lead the team and add context but also to drive best practice internally within social and influencers.

King has a reputation for having a great working culture. Your role there started during lockdown. What was that like for you and how did they keep that culture?

I think I was quite fortunate, King is a digital company and so from a basic technology basis, which is important my unboarding was seamless. I was lucky again that I had an ex-colleague from my PlayStation days already working at King and that helped too. The people at King are fantastic and I was welcomed like I was part of the team. To keep the culture is tough, we have to be honest that the last 19 months have been tough mentally. I think Slack helps (I can hear those saying it hinders too) but it allows more informal conversations that are *maybe* a bit more like a normal chat. Zoom, for all it’s faults can be useful. We had team moments too. I think the important part of keeping culture is respect and reiterating our values when the time is right and in our decision making.

Your career has spanned a really transformative time for brands and their relationship with social media. How does this experience inform your creative choices? What engagement metrics do you focus on when analysing the success of a particular activation, campaign or ongoing work with an influencer?

I have been around the block that’s for sure! I think for me, my creative direction of preference is creator led and often low-fi in style or hue. I do love a polished ad or trailer too and I’m a bit of an ad geek but what I see that I really love style wise is often being done by creators using tools on their phones and making incredible content that is just a handful of people. It feels genuine. I often look at Tik Tok and think wow, these folks are making some insanely cool content and the app allows so much creativity. Same with YouTube. I think the public is used to gloss and there is a place for that kind of content but I think people see through it more.

Engagement wise, it depends. Engagement during a new product launch is different to engagement on BAU content for example. Ultimately, we want people to engage with us positivity and be advocates for our games and have fun doing so. Sometimes that may mean a great view through rate, or shares. So no one data point is key. Installs of course are pretty important!

I cringe now at some of the terrible influencers I paid to p