Tuesday 27 September 2016

Great Stories Come From Someone A Lot Like You

Last week I participated in the Pacific Northwest Integrated Communications Forum hosted by PR Newswire. What struck me overall was the use of online video in nearly every integrated campaign example. Recent comScore data—summarized by Search Engine Watch—underscores the importance of online video:

  • 188 million U.S. Internet users watched 37.7 billion online videos in August 2012.
  • 87.3 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed online video in August 2012.
  • Video ads accounted for 20.1 percent of all videos viewed and 1.4 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online in August 2012.

Below are three takeaways I noted from the integrated communications discussion led by Rod Brooks, VP Chief Marketing Officer at PEMCO Mutual Insurance, Bill Cox, Senior Director of Marketing Communications at Microsoft*, David Patton, Editor in Chief at Waggener Edstrom/WE Studio D and Tim Fry, Executive Vice President and General Manager at Weber Shandwick.

1. Content fuels advocacy—particularly with “a person like me”

Pemco is an insurance company providing auto and car insurance to Northwest American drivers. Five years ago, they honed in on hyper locality as a differentiator and developed the “Northwest Profile” campaign including Flawless Firewood Stacker, Roadside Chainsaw Woodcarver, Goat Renter Guy and Relentless Recycler.

If you’re familiar with the northwest part of the U.S., you’ll recognize some of those profiles. The memorable tagline, “We’re a lot like you. A little different,” speaks to evidence in the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer that showed trust in “a person like yourself” is significantly increasing and comes third only to an academic or expert and a technical expert within the company.

2. Trusted employee storytellers are on the rise

Microsoft’s Ben Rudolph kick started the “Smoked by Windows Phone” challenge; challenging other mobile phone users to see if they could smoke Microsoft’s smartphone in various tasks. Winners took cash on the spot and when Ben debuted the challenge at CES 2012 in Las Vegas, few challengers ended up with cash.

The challenge has driven millions of video views and the proliferation of #SmokedByWindowsPhone.

That Ben is a Microsoft employee likely helps sustain the momentum of this challenge.

As Edelman Chicago’s Christopher Hannegan wrote in Building Trust From the Inside Out: Engaging Employees As the New Influencers:

“Now, more than ever, companies should be looking for ways to activate their employees and connect them with customers and the community via ambassador programs, featuring them in media and advertising content, and engaging them more deeply in product innovation and problem solving.”

3. Give them something to talk about, that’s easy to find and fun to share

As Thanksgiving approaches in the U.S., #ShatnersFryersClub tweets are likely to surface just as they did one year ago with the release of State Farm and William Shatner’s “Eat, Fry, Love” campaign aimed at preventing accidents related to deep-frying turkeys. Shatner related to people that fry their own turkeys; having burned himself deep-frying his own turkey.

Video is a central content medium in this campaign as well as the “Northwest Profile” and “Smoked by Windows Phone” campaigns. As Edelman Seattle’s Chelsea Langevin wrote in Great Content Deserves to be Found: “…whenever possible, consider embedding video from YouTube, especially the company/brand’s channel” and as the Media Cloverleaf exemplifies, video can carry a brand’s story through all channels because it’s visual, easily shared and very searchable.

If your story lends itself to video, consider leveraging it as a medium in future integrated communications efforts and access the most trusted storytellers who may end up being your colleague or someone that’s a lot like yourself.

*Microsoft is an Edelman client.
Once Upon a Time image courtesy of BigStock.

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