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Improv with the CIO

Improv with the CIO

Our Voice of the Customer marketing team has been exploring creative approaches for our customer interview videos.  At a recent CIO conference we asked a few adventurous executives if they would be willing to try something a little more entertaining.

Dinner with the CIO

At any C-level executive event, there is a lot of pressure on the events team to make sure everything goes smoothly.   The agenda is managed very closely, so we only had about 15 minutes for these interviews.   Thankfully, it was one of those wonderful occasions where everything went our way.  Our amazing events team worked with the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel staff to get us access to film in one of the restaurants during the day before it opened for dinner.   All of the CIOs were fabulous!  We had created just enough structure to the scene to make it easy to improvise, and they all seemed to have a fun time and enjoy the experience.

Ann Handley shares more of the backstory in her post, Humor and B2B Marketing:  A Love Story.

 

Sunset at Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

2013 Webby Award Honoree: Phone Company in a Box

 

Webby Awards

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou

One simple approach to creating stories for corporate social media and content marketing is focusing on  history.  Even for a young company, there is history in the industry or in the innovations that inspired it.  The key is to research and discover the fascinating stories and storytellers.

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In 2011, we took a small part of our budget and produced a documentary about some of the pioneers who helped build the telecom network, and how the “largest, most reliable machine ever built” is contributing to economic growth, especially in developing regions of the world.

We did not mention our company or products ever, but focused on stories.  That allowed us to connect with the audience in a much more compelling way, and still do the marketing work of amplifying an important message about the importance of the telecom network.  It is one of the top ranked videos on our YouTube channel, and was broadcast on the ShortsHD television network.

Our documentary has been recognized as an Official 2013 Webby Honoree in the Technology category for Online Video and Film.  We’re proud to be in the good company of Team Coco, honored for the “John Adobe” video.

Spend some time on the Webby Awards site and scroll through the winners like the inspirational TED Ed, Google’s win in Corporate Communications, and Jerry Seinfeld’s breakthrough Web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”  Congrats to fellow Upright Citizens Bridge alum Michael Dubin for his Dollar Shave Club Webby win.  Yet another testament to the power of humor in marketing.

 

5 Questions: Royal Wedding Planner Video

Five questions you haven’t asked yet about the royal wedding planner video because you are afraid to or possibly not interested:

Q1) Why did you do this?

A.  My boss asked me the same thing.  The Cisco router will connect the royal wedding (the real one for Prince William and Kate) video stream to the TV station for the broadcast, so this video is a fun way to celebrate.

Ms Fauntleroy

Q2 ) Who is Ms. Fauntleroy?

A.  I’m not sure if you’re asking about the character or the actor.  The character was inspired by the middle name of the wife of one of my best friends from college, Robert Spencer. The actor is Jenn Schatz, who you may have seen recently on 30 Rock “Double-Edged Sword” in a scene with Tina Fey and Matt Damon — neither were in our video.

Q3) Was this filmed at your home?

A. No.  We needed a setting that was more cozy.  The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, with 62 rooms and 44,000 sq. ft. helped to create the intimate mood.  Special thanks to the mansion’s executive director Shelly Gerarden for his kindness and generosity, and to his staff, especially Brian, Jon and Susie.

Q4) Why didn’t you use a British accent?

A few folks have asked that before you did (Updated – thanks Elyse and David) .  We tried British accents for both Ms. Fauntleroy and the voice-over actor, but it didn’t seem to work as well.   Although I’m now filled with self-doubt.

Q5) The mansion looks familiar.

That’s a statement not a question.  But the mansion hosted scenes from House of Dark Shadows and The Stepford Wives -  both 1975 original film featuring Katharine Ross and the 2004 remake with Nicole Kidman — neither were in our video.

B2B Comedy Classics

The age of the curator seems like the perfect time to assemble a collection about something, so I put together a list of the Top 10 B2B Comedy Videos for a guest post for the Social Media B2B blog.  Above is a bonus video for Valentine’s Day.  Thanks to Jeff Cohen for the opportunity, and for his virtual tour of North Carolina wine.  His Biltmore photos compelled me to plan a return trip to my favorite vineyard in the Smokies.

Inc. Magazine: How to Use Humor in Advertising

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Lou Dubois and I first crossed paths and the IMS10 and again at BrandsConf, and continued our discussion about corporate comedy in social media for his Inc. Magazine article.   Check it out.