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Tagged ‘B2B‘

ROI on Humor in Social Marketing

 

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I’m often asked what is the value of using humor in social media and marketing efforts.  While I can’t always make the case that a :60 YouTube comedy is going to inspire an impulsive purchase of a $100,000 piece of hardware, comedy helps corporate videos stand out and be remembered among the clutter.  NBC News reports that 72 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, so it is becoming more and more difficult to get noticed.

Today, at the B2B Content2Conversion Conference at the New York Times Center, Michael Brenner, Forbes blogger and SAP vice president of marketing, included our valentines video as a case study.

The spot, while completely absurd and ridiculous, helped us amplify an important marketing message during a product launch over three years ago.  It earned press coverage in The New York Times, NetworkWorld and other trade magazines; and David Meerman Scott referenced it as a best practice example in his bestselling book Real-Time Marketing & PR.

And here we are, more than three years later, and it’s being presented to a group of B2B marketers and influencers, and the social buzz continues from some of B2B’s top influencers, including Ann Handley, Margaret Molloy and Marissa Pick.

I don’t think Michael Brenner sold any routers for us today, although if he did, I’m sure he’ll DM me about his commission check.

 

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Vampire Bats at SXSW

Technically, they’re not vampire bats, which might be behind the inferiority complex.  But the 1.5 million bats living under the Congress Bridge in Austin can brag about being the largest urban bat colony in the world, as Reuters reports.  Be sure to add this to your list of  destinations while you’re in ATX.    Last year I had a fun visit with Scott Laningham and Turbo Todd Watson about some of our humor projects at IBM, including Art of the SaleMad Science with John Cohn and the smarter planet animation series.



The year before, David Meerman Scott and I watched the bats along the way of our aimless tour of ATX.



I hope to see you if you’re heading down this year. Ann Handley and I will record an ATX version of our new series , and I’ll tweet out when we have the session planned.   If you need help picking which events to attend, check out the Golin Harris marketer’s guide, SX Scout.

Comedy at the B2B Forum

Edgar Rolando Diaz Emes was the first to reply when I was looking for help to film a telecom exec in Latin America. He works for Telefonica Moviles in Guatemala, so I figured he’d have some tips. He responded even faster than my former college roommate, maybe because I don’t owe him for a semester’s worth of cable bills.

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Edgar helped me as if we were longtime buddies, although I had only talked with him briefly at a MarketingProfs event. But that’s the kind of immediate camaraderie you fall into with this group. Possibly because it’s helmed by Ann Handley, known in the industry as the “Brad Pitt of B2B Social Media.” She and her crew share a contagious spirit of fun and encouragement, along with a profound knowledge of social business.

The presentations are some of the most practical and useful I’ve seen at any conference. Think of it as SXSW without the tacos. It’s clear from the speakers that their intent is to authentically share “here’s what worked, here’s what failed, and here’s what we’ll try next time.” As part of a case study panel,  Elbert Lin discussed Boeing’s Design Your Own Dreamliner app,  Michael Brenner gave the backstory on SAP’s Business Innovation blog,  I talked about how we produced a B2B documentary on a shoestring budget; and offered a few ideas on how to find a storyline and produce it inexpensively. And then we had a little more fun in the closing session. [see video]

If your life involves creating content or storytelling in B2B or even B2C, you should join us in Boston, Oct 3-5, for the B2B Forum. It will be a fun and inspirational time — the opening keynote is Baratunde Thurston, former director of digital at The Onion. You’ll leave with a list of brilliant yet simple ideas you can start to implement the following week, and a dozen new friends who will support your social marketing projects and reply to you faster than your jaded college roommate.

Television Premier of “The Network Effect” Documentary

The documentary we produced premiers tonight on ShortsHD. The Network Effect is a collection of stories of the history behind some of the technology pioneers and service providers who created the infrastructure, and how the network vastly improves the lives of many, especially in developing countries. Here’s an excerpt that we filmed in Costa Rica.

One of my favorite stories that our host Steve Shepard tells is about undertaker Almon Strowger, who in 1888, invented the step-by-step switch which helped to democratize the network.

The program will run throughout the month of July as part of the Summer of Docs series. Check your schedule on DirecTV channel 568 and AT&T U-verse channel 1789.

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The Network Effect: A Telecom Documentary

We recently spent a few days in Costa Rica filming a documentary web series covering some fascinating stories about the history of the telecom network and the power it holds to improve people’s lives, especially those living in developing countries. I’ll post all six episodes below as we launch them over the coming weeks.

FastCompany Interview: Corporate Comedy Video

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After speaking at NYU’s B2B social communications leadership conference, I had the chance to visit with FastCompany’s Drew Neisser about how corporations can help use  humor to build online audiences.    Check out the article here, and an extended discussion on Drew’s blog.

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.

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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.

A Vote for Comedy in B2B Social Media

I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Gillin at the Inbound Marketing Summit this month in Foxboro, MA.   He was interested in a series of YouTube comedy videos  “Mainframe: The Art of the Sale,” and wrote a nice article about them.

A notes from behind the scenes:

The question I get most often about these is “how did you get these approved at a big corporation?’

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By starting small.  The first comedy I produced at IBM was at the end of 2004, and it was internal only — for a sales meeting — which kept the risk very low.  I kept the cost low by asking one of my best friends, Scott Teems, a director, to help me for $400.   The video was a hit, I was asked to create a sequel, and was able to pay Scott a nice tip.