Robert Michael Murray

Innovator, creator, and storyteller bringing brands to life

Robert Michael Murray


"... turned National Geographic into a social media powerhouse."

For more than two decades, Robert Michael Murray has been a digital innovator, senior strategist, brand builder, and storyteller across a variety of industry sectors for major brands, agencies, and public figures. Currently, he serves as partner at CMPFYR and Quathletics leading their digital and social innovation efforts helping creators, brands, and agencies deliver solutions that drive greater value and experiences audiences love.Previously, Murray led the strategic vision and innovation efforts for Matchfire Co.—a digital innovation company comprised of a digital agency, technology incubator, and startup studio. Matchfire focused on building companies and engineering experiences for what comes next by empowering people, communities, and brands through design, data, and technology. He was responsible for establishing a culture of “open innovation” inside Matchfire that enabled their portfolio of companies to utilize new and emerging digital strategies and technologies.Prior to Matchfire Co., Murray was Vice President, Social Media, for National Geographic in Washington, D.C. As one of the first social media executives for a global media company and non-profit, he was responsible for harnessing social technologies across the Society's various media platforms and non-profit efforts. He built a global social footprint of more than 90 million fans. And in 2013, Nat Geo was ranked as the 3rd most popular brand on social media (source: Starcount).Murray also served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University, where he taught courses on digital storytelling and social media. While at Georgetown, he was also a lecturer and teaching assistant for an innovate interdisciplinary human rights course taught from the perspectives of law, philosophy, and literature.He has spoken around the globe on a variety of topics: social media and emerging technologies; pervasive to persuasive technologies; the power and limitations of media; digital and transmedia storytelling; data patterns and trends analysis; and the varied ways in which technology intersects with people (e.g., race, gender, sexuality, etc.), culture, society, politics, and human rights.


- Envisioned a collaborative innovation process and data commons/marketplace leading to a $2.5M investment
- Developed a proprietary process to evaluate and improve the performance of a brand’s digital touch points for consumers
- Built an award-winning social media footprint attracting more than 90 million fans, followers, and subscribers
- Drove billions of social media impressions and mentions for numerous brands (exact numbers confidential)
- Started the first brand account on Instagram and led the strategies behind it becoming an award-winning account
- Led strategy for next generation digital National Geographic Membership (community); welcoming 3.5 million members
- Spearheaded the experience design of an enterprise-wide foundation (SOA) / membership platform for National Geographic
- Co-led design / development of reimagined National Geographic's Your Shot photo community; 400k+ members, 3+ million photos
- Co-led the development of interactive photo assignments to activate YS community; resulting in $2M worth of sponsorships
- Led strategic vision and design of a granular content publishing platform used by 2,500+ users
- Managed the creative and technical production for more than 300+ live signature events with celebrities, athletes, and dignitaries
- Designed enterprise-level infrastructure for the delivery of live and VOD webcasts
- Built an extranet which delivered for the 1st time "as prepared" and "as delivered" speeches digitally to the media
- Designed a schematic map in in real-time used by presidential nominee Al Gore on stage during his acceptance speech


In April 2011 Folio Magazine named Murray to its 2011 Folio 40 list along with Arianna Huffington, Pete Cashmore, The New York Times and others. The list recognizes the “most distinguished magazine and media professionals from every corner of our industry.”In recognizing Murray, Folio wrote: “In 19 months Robert Michael Murray has turned National Geographic [NG] into a social media powerhouse, a behemoth to be envied by publications around the world.”His work is award-winning (e.g., The Shorty Awards, Webby Award, etc.) and has garnered national and international media coverage; outlets include BBC, CNN, C-SPAN, The Washington Post, The New York Times and others.

Robert Michael Murray

Keynotes + Presentations

- The Power of Data, Importance of Moments, and the Future of Storytelling — Keynote, Social Media Strategies Summit 2016 (#SMSSummit), Las Vegas, NV (Winter 2016)
- The Power of Data, Importance of Moments, and the Future of Storytelling — Presentation, HubSpot's INBOUND 2015 (#INBOUND15), Boston, MA (Summer 2015)
- Visual Storytelling: From Kittehs to Selfies Creating Value with Photos in the Sharing Economy — Presentation, Social Media Strategies Summit (#SMSsummit), Las Vegas, NV (Winter 2014)
- Entrepreneurship, Storytelling, and Social Media Powering National Geographic Since 1888 — Presentation, Flip Thinking Session, Globant; Buenos Aires, AR (Spring 2012)
- Entrepreneurship, Storytelling, and Social Media Powering National Geographic Since 1888 — Presentation, Brazil Innovators Conference; São Paulo, BR (Spring 2012)
- Social Media: A Look Back, Current State, and Future Spotting — Conference Chair and Opening Keynote, MPA Social Media Conference; New York, NY (Winter 2011)
- How Entrepreneurship Has Powered National Geographic Since 1888 — Keynote, Arizona Entrepreneurship Conference 2011; Phoenix, AZ (Winter 2011)
- The Power of Stories — Keynote, Social Media for Nonprofits; Chicago, IL and Washington, DC (Fall 2011, Summer 2011)

Panels + Workshops

- Cross Platform Content: Branding, Programming and Packaging Producing Quality Content — Panel, Digital Hollywood; Los Angeles, FL (Spring 2014)
- Engaging the Unfamiliar: Training for Regional Stability Operations — Panel, Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, & Education Conference 2013; Orlando, FL (Winter 2013)
- Digital Storytelling — Workshop, Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival; Banff, Alberta Canada (Winter 2013)
- National Geographic Exploration and Grants — Workshop, Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival; Banff, Alberta Canada (Winter 2013)
- Social Media: Do or Die — Panel, 2013 Inc. 500|5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony; Washington, DC (Winter 2013)
- entrepreneurship + storytelling + social media = #awesomesauce — FameLab: Exploring Earth and Beyond / Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Annual Meetings; Honolulu, HI (Spring 2013)
- The Power of Stories, Current State of Social Media, and Future Spotting — Workshop, FOLIO Conference 2011; New York, NY (Fall 2011)
- Music on… Photography with Moby — Moderator, National Geographic Live; Washington, DC (Spring 2011)
- SXSW Conservation Showdown — Panelist, SXSW; Austin, TX (Spring 2011)
- Social and Traditional Media: How News and Media Organizations are Getting Social and Why They Need To Do It — Media 2.0 Panel, Digital Capital Week; Washington, DC (Summer 2010)
- Social Media + National Geographic — Old (Traditional) Media Panel, SMASH Summit; San Francisco, CA (Spring 2010)
- Case Studies: Social Media for Business Panel — Blogworld Social Media Business Summit, [RE]Think: Hawaii; Honolulu, HI (Fall 2009)
- Content in Motion: Next Generation University Web Communications — JAA Conference 2006, John Carroll University; Cleveland, OH & HighEdWebDev 2005, RIT Inn and Conference Center; Rochester, NY Presented with Piet Niederhausen. (Fall 2005, Summer 2006)

Courses + Lectures

- Challenges in the International System: Information Technologies — International Relations Program for High School Students, Georgetown University; Washington, DC (Summer 2005-2012, 2014)
- Digital Content Creation and Management: Storytelling — Public Relations and Corporate Communications [MPPR 705], School of Continuing Studies, Georgetown University; Washington, DC (Spring 2009, 2010, 2011)
- You Might Be the Future Leaders of the World, but the InterWebs Own You — First 96 Hours [ATHL-051], Georgetown University; Washington, DC (Fall 2008)
- From Persuasive to Pervasive: The Embedding of Technology within Society — Human Rights: A Culture in Crisis [ENGL-477/GOVT-321], Georgetown University; Washington, DC (Spring 2008)
- The Nature of (Information) Technologies in the Human Rights Culture — Human Rights: A Culture in Crisis [ENGL-477/GOVT-321], Georgetown University; Washington, DC (Spring 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008)
- Yeah, I Facebooked Your Mom — Georgetown University Student-Athlete Orientation & Georgetown University Team Captain Orientation, Georgetown University; Washington, DC (Fall 2006, 2007)
- So, They Think it’s Just Facebook: How Students Are Living Life in a Digital World — Georgetown Athletics Staff Development, Georgetown University; Washington, DC (Fall 2006, 2007)
- Tom is NOT My Friend: Living Life in a Digital World — New Student Orientation Prelude Program, Georgetown University; Washington, DC (Summer 2006, 2007)

Robert Michael Murray

Disruptions + Startups

Unlocking Data to Change the Way We Work: Becoming a Quantified Executive
"We’re gradually learning that the more inputs we have, the better we understand the outcomes of our choices. And empowered with data, we can stop bad habits and learn/improve good habits. So why do we lack similar data-driven insights into our professional lives? Is it possible for us to create a self-perpetuating system of learning that helps us bring our best selves to our work every day?"
5 Tips to Get Started On TikTok in 2020
"Ever feel like you’re listening to a song and you don’t understand the lyrics? You’re not alone. For many, that’s how 2019 has felt. Terminology from a new short video-based social media platform has become some of the most searched terms in Google’s Year in Search."
Do Influencers Really Influence?
"Influencer marketing is simply about relationships. Whether it's a celebrity or an individual with social clout, brands partner with influencers to create connections with fans and followers from around the globe. These connections can derive from the aspirational lifestyles lived by the celebrities or from the real-life connections made with influencers who mirror our own interests, beliefs, or values. And hopefully, from these connections more direct relationships are built between the brand and those consumers."
It’s Time We Make Contesting Ideas As Easy As Sharing Them
"Recently I’ve been disheartened by some postings on Medium which are full of half-truths, innuendo, and even blatant lies meant to distort reality and undermine civil society. This type of content is no longer hidden in the dark creases of the Web. Increasingly we’re seeing it leapfrog into and proliferate across social and publishing platforms."
The Importance of Moments
"Our lives are comprised of thousands of moments stretched over a lifetime. A moment of achievement. One of failure. Of inspiration. Another of disappointment. They can be large or small. Life affirming, or even life changing. These moments ultimately serve as the impetus for the stories we write about ourselves and with others."
Hold Up, Wait a Minute …
"Hey there, I wanted to share with you an experiment from one of our startups, Storily. It’s called MinuteRead— its exploring how Estimated Read Time (ERT) can empower readers. For now it only runs on Twitter, but we are looking at ways to extend the experiment to other platforms."
Three Principles We Used To Build Nat Geo’s Social Media Footprint Of 90+ Million Fans
"We kicked our efforts off in early 2010 and since that time National Geographic’s social media footprint has soared to more than 90 million fans, followers, and subscribers across the major social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+—outpacing many its peers. That footprint has driven hundreds of millions of people to National Geographic stories and projects, as well as billions of social media impressions and mentions for the brand (exact numbers confidential)."
Meet Our First Company: waggle—We’re Your Dog’s Best Friend
"At waggle we are committed to creating delightful and informative products, services, and experiences that simply become a natural part of the equation. We will do this by delivering insightful technology, original and curated storytelling, exclusive sales, and unique experiences to dog people."
Dear Self-Indulgent Jackass ... How the ubiquity of on-demand car services turned me into one, but I can’t blame them
"As I was typing this amusing episode I realized the story was less about on-demand transportation services and me being a jackass (which I totally was), but more about the cultural impact these services are having on everyday people and the world around us."

Robert Michael Murray

Get in touch ...

I welcome consulting and speaking opportunities—whether an industry keynote, briefing senior leaders, conference presentation or classroom lecture—please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss my availability.