I’ve been speaking (preaching?) a lot lately about the power of “being human.” I’ve been blogging about it, tweeting about it, presenting about it, and talking to my co-workers about it. But I’ve also been doing my best to practice what I preach – because this isn’t just my latest “pet peeve.” This is important.
As marketers, we need to stop using corporate-speak. We need to eliminate non-consumer friendly messaging. We need to drop the business jargon.
Instead, let’s talk to people as if they were…people.
I know it sounds odd. It may feel a bit uncomfortable at first, and it may take some practice. But give it a try – how can you be more unique? How can you be more creative and funny? How can you be more human?
As my friend and colleague Bryan Kramer says in his book, There is No B2B or B2C: It’s Human to Human: #H2H:
Opportunities to “be human” in marketing exist everywhere. In a recent presentation I gave at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit, I shared eight areas that are ripe for an upgrade, away from robot-speak and toward more human language. These included:
- Email – subject lines and copy
- Landing pages
- Email signatures
- “Out of Office” auto-responders
- LinkedIn profiles
- Email opt-out landing pages
- Confirmation emails
The eighth place that marketers can show their human sides is videos. If executed correctly (and I’m about to show you an example of that), videos can give marketers a huge bang for their buck.
Video: A Huge Opportunity to Be More Human
Of course, the challenge with video is the “if executed correctly” part. While video certainly presents an opportunity to be more human, it can be tricky to create something that looks good, is truly innovative, stands out from the crowd, generates buzz, and (dare I say it) goes viral.
Earlier this week, my co-worker Phillip Chen, sent an email to our team asking for volunteers for our upcoming virtual event. Instead of some boring, robotic “I-need-you-to-volunteer-now-please-do-it” type message, Phillip infused his creativity and humor into the email. He listed various “jobs” that people could sign up for.
He also sent a link to a video of the “World’s Toughest Job.” If you have not yet seen Cardstore’s video, be sure to watch it in its entirety.
Having trouble seeing the video? Watch it directly on YouTube.
Now that you know what the video is all about, go watch it again. I’ll wait.
A bit different the second time around, huh?
4 Reasons Why the #WorldsToughestJob Video is Amazing
As I mentioned earlier, video affords a great opportunity to show your human side, but it’s tricky to pull off. Cardstore pulled it off — perfectly. Here’s how:
1. Length: The general “rule” with video is to keep it short. Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter and…wait, what was I talking about? That being said, this video was on the long side — four minutes and seven seconds, to be exact! Yet it worked. It told a story. It kept my attention. I found myself nodding along (and shaking my head) along with the interviewees.
2. Suspense: This video worked because it told a story. It was able to capture — and hold — its audience’s attention. Part of that had to do with the suspense it created. If you were like me, you were sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for the punchline.
3. Hashtag: The #WorldsToughestJob hashtag is brilliant. It creates suspense (see #2) without giving away what the video is about. Check out the hashtag on Twitter. I tried to count how many mentions it had, but the numbers just keep going up. Incredible.
According to an American Greetings spokesperson, four days after the video launched it has over 11 MILLION views on YouTube. It’s been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View (and more), and been shared on social by people like Maria Shriver, Chelsea Clinton, Deepak Chopra, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Felicity Huffman — all using the #worldstoughestjob hashtag.
4. Soft Sell: At the end of the day, videos like this are a great way to garner attention. However, they also need to drive revenue. It’s all about ROI! I asked the team at Cardstore to share some numbers with me. While they were not able to give specifics, an American Greetings spokesperson did share that since the video launched on April 14th, the traffic to Cardstore.com and AmericanGreetings.com has more than tripled.
The Fifth Element
Obviously, using those four elements in your video does not guarantee it will go viral. The “World’s Toughest Job” video took planning. It took creativity. It took an entire team’s effort. According to an American Greetings spokesperson, the entire video was shot in a single day — which means there had to be a lot of planning in advance.
American Greetings also did a great job of creating some “pre-buzz.” They began sharing the video with trade publications and other press several days before the video was actually launched. Interest and coverage peaked on Monday (the day the video was released) and, thanks mostly to social media, there has been an exponential increase in video views ever since.
However, the real fifth element was the “human-ness” of this campaign. Other than the interviewer, the “job candidates” were not actors. Their responses — while certainly edited — were genuine. The video told a story while capturing the entire spectrum of emotion — from confusion (“Is that even legal?”) to anger (“No. That’s very insane.”) to joy (“That’s awesome.”) The ad tapped into the deeply emotional reasons that people buy greeting cards — to show their appreciation of and affection for the people that they love.
At the end of the day, this was a brilliantly planned and executed, and very HUMAN campaign by American Greeting. Time will tell what impact it has on the brand and sales, but my hunch is it will all be positive. The only downside I see? Lots of pressure (on their marketing team) for Sunday, June 15th!