Marketers today must understand how to create and promote video. Our show this week brings together a documentary filmmaker with a top influencer marketing expert to explore the new world of video content.
Mark Fidelman is the CEO for Fanatics Media, a digital Marketing Agency with a focus on B2B and B2C Influencer marketing. Mark has been named a 2016 Top 20 influencer of CMOs by Forbes Magazine, a Top 25 Social Media Keynote Speaker by Inc Magazine, and a Huffington Post Top 50 Most Social CEO. Mark writes the Socialized and Mobilized Columnist on Forbes and is the author of the book SOCIALIZED!
David Hoffman practices a simple but profound idea. Hoffman says” it's not what you say that your audience hears. Your audience hears a combination of what you say and what they already think/feel. Therefore to communicate effectively, you must deeply understand the target audiences who you are trying to reach. He is an 8-‐time Emmy Award winner & Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Foundation Fellow who has consulted to executives on audience engagement at more than a dozen Fortune 100 companies including AT&T, GE, Google, Verizon Wireless, United Technologies, Merck, Amazon & Sony. His start-‐up clients include Mesosphere, Yerdle, Cherokee Uniforms, Liquid Robotics & TEDMED. He has worked directly with leading entrepreneurs including Jay Walker, Jeff Bezos & Megan Smith. Check out his YouTube channel.
Influencer Marketing with Video
Michael Krigsman: Welcome to Episode #230 of CxOTalk. I’m Michael Krigsman, industry analyst and your host for this show. Today, we are going to be speaking about video: video in marketing, and video in business. We have two people [here] who are amazing.
Before I introduce them, I want to give a major shout-out to Livestream. Livestream provides our video streaming platform. I have to say, I used to use Google hangouts, like a year and a half ago, and it didn’t work. And there were bugs, and there was no support, and I hated Google Hangouts, and I went to Livestream and things just work! And so, I want to say “thank you” to Livestream. And not only that, if you go to … no. Wait, wait, wait … If you go to Livestream.com/CxOTalk, they will give you a discount.
And without further ado, our two guests. I’m going to introduce David Hoffman first, who is a … not sure what the title would be. It’s a strategic communications consultant, and he’s a guy who happens to have made 175 documentaries for television? He’s a guy who knows a lot about video and business. Hey David, how are you?
David Hoffman: Hey, Michael. Hey, Mark. Good to talk to you. Thank you.
Michael Krigsman: So, David, tell us briefly what you do. Who are you and what do you do?
David Hoffman: I’ve been doing the same thing my whole career, which is communication. But, what’s communication? My view is, it’s not what you say that the audience hears. The audience hears what you say and what they already think. So my whole world is about engaging audiences. Engagement means I’ve got to know who the audience is, and I’ve got to know how they’re going to react to any message in any media. These days, primarily video. That’s my world. But, whether it be video, audio, a book, a podcast, or a meeting, if you don’t know the audience, you’re not going to have a successful communication. That’s my view.
Michael Krigsman: All right. Well, clearly, we’re going to be talking a lot about that. And, our second guest is Mark Fidelman, who runs a marketing agency … I’m not sure if that’s the right term, “marketing agency” or “digital” …
Mark Fidelman: Digital marketing agency.
Michael Krigsman: And so, Mark, hi! Tell us about yourself!
Mark Fidelman: I’m Mark Fidelman. I do run Fanatics Media. Two focuses for us, and very happy to be here, Michael and David, because I love talking about these subjects; the first one being influencer marketing and the second one being video marketing. So, I look forward to our discussion. I think the audience is going to learn a lot.
Michael Krigsman: Well, I look forward to our discussion, because I produce one, a whole lot of videos, and I want to learn from you guys so that I can do a better job. And I think we need to begin with the idea and discussion … Why video? Why should business people care about video? Why do marketing people care about video? Thoughts? Anybody?
David Hoffman: Sure. Video is about emotion. What do you do when you read the Wall Street Journal? You skim it. What do you do when you read a website page. You skim it. We all skim. Nobody reads anymore. Maybe you read at night in bed with a book. So, video is about emotion. Interesting statistic: the eyeballs last longer. Any other form of media that’s on the web doesn’t hold you like video. So, if the video has a good story, and speaks to a target audience, or an influencer as Mark said; I’m interested in hearing what he thinks about that; then, I say video is the most powerful way to affect an audience to make a change.
Mark Fidelman: And, I like to give one example, Michael, if you don’t mind. And most people here probably know Gary Vaynerchuk, and if you don’t know, Google him. This is a kid, and I still call him a “kid” because he’s much younger than me, who started doing videos on YouTube eight or nine years ago for his wine business with a cardboard table and some wine on top of it. It was a $3 million business ten years ago. Fast forward five years after that, the wine business is a $60 million per year business in five years, all because he did a video a day comparing wines. If that doesn’t tell you the power of video in business, I don’t know what else can. And that was five years ago.
David Hoffman: And that’s been millions, and millions of viewers, and thousands of guys making millions of dollars, as Mark knows. A key thing is this: when the person watches the video of a searcher that’s coming from YouTube … So this guy found searchers that search wine, spot him, and say, “Whoa! I want to see that guy!” Or, is it your friends, like on Facebook. Two very different states of mind. In this case, I’m searching for “dog walker,” not really the person whose video I’m watching. In Facebook, they already know me. I want a dog walker. They can hit me with a dog walker video, which is why Facebook’s sponsored posts are just off-the-charts successful when you’re targeting an audience. Amazing!
Mark Fidelman: Yeah. And Michael, you can’t do this with text or even audio. Gary could not have built that business with any other medium but video. You had to see it, you had to see his reaction, you had to see him. That’s what made it work, and he did it in a time where video was barely even scratching the surface of what content’s out there. Now everybody’s predicting it will be 75% of web traffic by the year 2020.
David Hoffman: Let me just say one other thing about what Mark just said. Interesting. Which is, people say, “Video should be 30 seconds. Video should be one minute. No more than 90 seconds.” Let me tell you, I made a video on cancer for a guy that wrote a book on cancer. Nine minutes each clip; everybody watches it. It has like a 90% viewership. It’s not about time. It’s about the audience! The audience cares, and this kid’s telling me about a wine that I didn’t know about; and here in Northern California, people really care about wine. I’m going to watch the whole thing and I’m going to click on his other videos. It’s enormously powerful when you’re speaking to the audience and trying to effect something, and you’re a good character and you’ve got a good story. I don’t know if Mark agrees with that.
Mark Fidelman: I mean, absolutely. I kind of look at it a little bit slightly differently, because not all of us are @garyvee. The longer the video, the higher the production quality or the higher the individual charisma has to be. But, that’s not always true, because if you look at the quality of video with Gary’s videos, it wasn’t there. It was just him, and his personality, and his charisma that drove it. He was kind of the Howard Stern of the wine business. You just wanted to watch him, and you just wanted to hear what he was going to say next. But, he really knew his stuff, too! So there was an educational component in it.
David Hoffman: I’m going to have to disagree with Mark about that. The example I’m going to use goes way back to my youth. I don’t know how many of you watching this know Carvell…
Mark Fidelman: Yeah.
David Hoffman: …New York City ice cream. And Tom Carvell produced these commercials, and the commercials said, “Hi! I’m Tom Carvell! I’m here in Riverhead! Hi, Joe! How you doin' Joe? You make ice cream. Is it fresh?" It was the most primitive and enormously powerful. The same with Crazy Eddie, in New York. I learned from that, and I have found experimenting that my most popular videos for clients and for me … Sorry for the phone, they're all after me, only for me [Laughter] … The most popular videos are not the ones that look the best, in fact, the production value isn’t it. Production value makes me think it’s made by a company, and its public relations, rather than what I call, “User-generated style.” And I like “user-generated style.” Michael’s talking to me right now, and I’m talking to you right in this little box just being me, and Mark’s being him. That’s the most powerful communication in my view.
Michael Krigsman: I have a question for either one of you. This issue of charisma: How do we create videos that cut through the noise? What can we do? And by the way, we're starting to get some questions from Twitter, but as somebody who creates video, I need to know the answer to this question. How do I cut through the noise? Especially now. There are so many people producing video, and it's so easy to make video – most of it bad. How do you cut through the noise? Tell us, please.
David Hoffman: Okay. Old man goes before the younger guy. But Mark, you can interrupt. No problem there! Here's what to think about: Don't think about noise. Think about the audience. Mark probably agrees with me about that. When I get down to … I have a video called … It's about the United States equestrian team made by the team, so I made it. And in that, one of my keywords in YouTube was "falling off horses." Ninety percent of the people who clicked that clicked my video in Google AdWords and watched the whole thing waiting for falling off horses. So, it's about: Who is your audience? There is no noise if I have a certain cancer, and 50 thousand people have that cancer, and you've got a drug that's going to help me. You may not have the drug I use, but I'm going to go to you. Don't think about noise. Noise is if I'm selling Pepsi. If you're not selling Pepsi, but you're selling a brand, let's say BMW, it has a target and they have targets within the targets. Is it a woman? Very different. They're still making their ads on television for men. I can't believe that! Is it a Millennial or a Baby Boomer like me? I think, Mark, are you a Baby Boomer or a Millennial? I think …
Mark Fidelman: No, I’m not either. I guess what they call “Generation-X” which they never came up with a name for and we’re still insulted by. But, just to play off what David said, you know, we work with a lot of different influencers especially on YouTube, and some of them put on makeup all day long, and they get 2-3 million views every time they put on makeup. Who would have guessed? Another brand, or another influencer called “healthy junk food.” I mean, that’s an oxymoron, but all they do is go out and create big versions of different fast food recipes and they knock out of the park. Over 400 thousand views every time they put out a video.
So, Michael, I don't know … There's not a single formula for success in breaking through the noise. There is a lot of noise, but I agree with David. You've got to find your audience and if you experiment around a lot, pretty soon, you’ll be able to develop that audience and speak to that audience. But I still think you’ve got to work on charisma. Charisma is just a function of, “Be who you are.” There’s a guy, he does finance and I’ll look him up in between questions here, that’s he’s kind of dry. He speaks at the camera, he talks about finance, but this guy’s phenomenal. He gets 3-400 thousand views. And he’s talking about financial subjects like stocks and bonds and all these obscure subjects that you and I know nothing about, but he makes it plainly visible; and he demonstrates value by just talking in plain English about what these things are. So … I haven’t found a formula yet, but I could do a brief “find your audience” and be interesting to that audience.
David Hoffman: Let me think [about] something about what Mark just said. Really powerful, yourself. Make mistakes. When Reagan made a mistake in his press conference by saying, “Look, I don’t know the answer to that” to this member of the press, his ratings went higher than they had ever been. I think 76% of the country supported him. Be real. The issue on the web with video is authenticity. If that authenticity comes from a very well-produced, beautiful musical comedy, okay. If comes from you talking at the end of the day, you’re tired, you’ve got a little bit of circles under the eyes, you’re real. You work with the audience.
Mark also has a part of his business I really am fascinated by which is the influencers because what influencers do, and there are a lot of statistics on this; if someone’s going to watch thirty seconds, but it’s coming from an influencer, they’re going to watch four minutes! Now the influencer has enormous power.
Mark Fidelman: They do. And, the person I was thinking of, David, was Scott Galloway. So anyone watching just Google, or go to YouTube and type in "Scott Galloway." He doesn't look interesting at all, but I assure you, he'll captivate you in the three – ten-minute videos that he does. [There is] a lot of good B-roll stuff, but phenomenal use of video for what he is, which is kind of a stock analyst that makes things interesting because of the way he presents it. So, you know I …
David Hoffman: Pardon me, Mark. I’ve done thousands of presenters in my life. My job has been to draw them out to become real. And, I put them in front of the camera. First of all, I make sure they’re looking at me. The camera. This is video on the web! Don’t look off like it’s the press. It’s not the press. The press is over here. I can see that. I’m here! I’m talking to you right now, right into the little green dot on my Mac. That’s real important.
Second, I start off by saying from behind the camera to the guy, “So, are you nervous? ‘Yeah, I’m a little bit nervous.’” Be nervous. It’s not bad to be nervous. You’re nervous! You’re on media! It’s good. It’s good to be nervous.
The other thing I say which will help you all, I think, who have to go in front of the camera. Think “future.” Video isn’t about the moment, it’s about the future. Somebody’s seeing this in the future. Therefore, what do you need to say where a month later, a year later, five years later, it’s going to have meaning for that person you’re trying to reach?
Mark Fidelman: Well said! Well said. Michael, I want to ask Dave: David, live video. What do you think the difference is between recorded video and live video, and can everyone cross that chasm?
David Hoffman: Wow. What a good question! My vote is some people are good live, other people are not. The introverts of our world tend not to be … Mark and I are more extrovert than Michael is. Michael has learned how to give his personality and rhythm, and add credibility without really attacking you or being as aggressive as Mark and I are. So my vote is, if you’re not good on Facebook Live or YouTube live, don’t do it!
Mark Fidelman: Yeah.
David Hoffman: It’s not the thing for you.
Mark Fidelman: So would you instruct them to kind of practice to see if you’ll get good, or there are just people that are good live like Broadway and there are other people that are good on screen because, you know, they need to practice their part fifteen times before they go on?
David Hoffman: A good question. You must have directed video in your life. A lot of times, we’re selecting characters from the phone. From the phone! We’re not seeing their face! So I use things like, “Hey! Do you like your work?” And if the guy goes, “Ehhh, no, no, no.” He’s not good in “live.” The live people have definite thoughts about everything, even if they change their mind. “I really like this burger. I don’t know what it is. But the burger, wow!” That’s a certain kind of person. He makes a definite kind of statement. So my vote is, you’re not so good on live. If you want to contemplate, it’s not a contemplative meeting.
Michael Krigsman: You know, when I started CxOTalk, the concept was live from the start. And, David’s right. I am actually pretty introverted, although I’ve gotten used to doing this. But, the idea for CxOTalk was when you do it live, it creates a certain level of tension because there's no safety net, and that means there's pressure on me and there's pressure on the guest. And when it works well, it means you get the very best, the best possible thinking of everybody because they're on their A-game. That's why I like live video.
David Hoffman: Well, you're running a program for an audience. And your audience, I asked you before we started, is a broad audience that cares about the subjects we talk about, and maybe some that care about video. There are two things looking at the video. I could be moderately good on video. My mother is terrific. One of the best political campaigns of this last season; I think it was South Carolina or North Carolina; a woman put her mother on to talk about her. So, always go to the most credible, authentic, charming character. Talking about you is better than you! Corporate leaders could do that. I mean, they've got to be human beings also. They can't just be reading the teleprompter. I wonder what Mark thinks of the teleprompter?
Mark Fidelman: I don’t like using it. I can’t use it, or I sound like a robot. And maybe back to what David said about live, it’s not a complete tell. But, if they’re good on stage and captivate an audience on stage, I’ve seen most of them make the transition to live video and they’ve been great. Sometimes, they’re not. You know? Looking into the eye of a camera isn’t a natural thing to do. You really have to get used to it. And I find if they can do that in front of an audience, they have a good shot of doing it live. But me, I don’t do a lot of live video, I just don’t think I’m that good at it. I’m better recorded and contemplating what I want to stay and making sure it’s structured in a way that I think the audience will appreciate and I’m not wasting their time. So, that’s kind of my shtick.
But I recognize that there are people that are very funny and very entertaining that can do this in 30-40 minute chunks. I couldn’t do it.
Michael Krigsman: We have a question from Twitter. And, Arsalan Khan says, “Most companies are thinking about video for their external audiences. Is there a difference if you’re creating video for an internal audience?”
David Hoffman: You bet. Really good question. Two examples, because examples help. When … Who was Jane Fonda’s first husband? Tom something-or-other? That guy? The Senator.
Michael Krigsman: Tom Hayden. Tom Hayden.
David Hoffman: When he was first running for the Senate, he said, “I knew there was a problem with American car companies when my father, who worked at a Chrysler plant, bought a Honda because he saw a Chrysler commercial on television that he didn’t believe.” I ask you, when Morgan Stanley says, as they did last month, “Morgan Stanley: For 140 years, we’ve been your trusted ally.” Does anybody believe that? Does the president of Morgan Stanley believe they’re my ally? You’ve got to be kidding! Imagine the employees. They’re laughing around the bar about that! When you’re speaking to your internal audience, you’ve got to go right for it. If you’re firing a thousand people, and you want to make a video that helps the other 19 thousands think they’re safe, you’ve got to acknowledge that you feel awful about this. I feel awful about this. The credibility factor gets even higher when the corporation is talking to itself because that’s where the people know the truth. We all know that.
Mark Fidelman: Yeah, I mean, if I were running a big corporation, and I agree with David, I would be doing a lot of probably live and recorded [film] at the same time. I do kind of a three-minute pitch to my employees and I make sure that I talk about the relevant items of the day, the week, the month, where we’re headed; you know, it’s such a powerful thing to do and you could distribute it internally pretty easily and connect with every single one of those employees.Too many people have told me today that from the boardroom all the way down to the front-line worker, there's this huge disconnect. Now, what better way is there than video to kind of make that disconnect less uncomfortable and have a better relationship with people because you're connecting with them on a one-to-one basis.
I have to agree; I think more corporations use it. I think they’re not because of legal implications, but for me, I think it’s the future. I think it will happen and I think it’s a great idea.
Michael Krigsman: Okay …
David Hoffman: I just want to say two things. One, I totally agree with what Mark just said, but I have a really interesting insight. I was doing a commercial for Sikorsky, and Sikorsky Helicopter is part of United Technologies. And who got most affected by this commercial? They had to sell a hundred corporate helicopters. They did that. It was the employees. Why? Because in the commercial, I honored the people who made it. And all of a sudden, the employees thought [they were] worth something. You know what? You give a guy a raise, 25 thousand bucks, 30 thousand bucks, it’s not going to change his life. You do something that his wife and kids, or her husband and kids, can see at home; can feel, “I’m proud of what my dad or mom does.” Enormous change. That’s really what video’s about.
So, the employees matter. Mark is absolutely right. It’s a really powerful tool, but better be believable.
Michael Krigsman: I want to know, how do you tell a story? Video is about flow. It has a beginning, it has a middle, and eventually, it comes to a close. How do we structure the flow in order to tell a story?
Mark Fidelman: I’ll jump in, but I think David’s going to be better at this than me, because of all of the stories that he’s told in long-form. But, I always like to look at the classics, and draw lessons from the classics; you know, how they invoke emotions, villains, good endings … You know, why do movies like Star Wars connect with us? It’s about the future, it’s about science fiction, but still, those stories are about other things, and if I’m a brand, I’m usually about other things other than real life. How are they making those connections with people? So, if I can do that in less than ten minutes, and tell that story, have emotion, and follow some kind of a classical story structure with a story arc, I think that’s a big win if you do it right.
David Hoffman: Story arc. He’s absolutely right about that. But I’ll tell you what really does it. First, start at the opening. This is such a male thing, but it works for females, and tell me what you’re doing. When females sometimes start stories to each other, particularly, they wind the story out. That doesn’t work in video because nobody goes back. So if I don’t start off by telling you what I’m going to tell you now is a thing I’ve learned that’s worked for a hundred people, now you’re set. If you don't want to hear it, and this [becomes] the other key thing, you have no "ear-lids." So, if you're listening to a podcast, you don't turn the video off, you're still listening even if you're doing other stuff. You're still listening, Your ears are amazing. They make the story of interest to the audience, tell the audience up-front what it is I’m about to tell you, and why I feel it might be of some value to you, and then run it in such a way that I’m surprised. People, kids, everybody loves, “Oh, look at that! Look at the […]”
Mark Fidelman: Yeah. Yeah, great idea. Yeah, I mean, I think of it as a mini-movie just like you do, David, except I have the foresight to know I’m not Steven Spielberg, so I always seek professional help when I need to. We’ve got comedy writers, we’ve got other writers to help tell the story, but … So, if you’re not a good storyteller, there are places to help. It’s not very expensive, and those resources are right at your fingertips. All you have to do is ask David, for example, or…
David Hoffman: Well, Mark, no, no. I looked at some of the videos on your website. Comedy is the God-damn hardest thing to do.
Mark Fidelman: It is.
David Hoffman: I could […] right now. And yours are good. Just that I laugh even once, or even smile, that is just not easy, and dumb commercial-makers, we all know this, on YouTube when you see the commercials up-front, they say, “Oh. Comedy holds them for the ten seconds.” How many time do you watch the commercial on YouTube, or how many times you click “skip it.” It ain’t easy. I saw two of yours, Mark. I liked them a lot.
Mark Fidelman: I know, and I agree. It’s not easy. So, if you are going to pursue comedy, and you’re not extremely funny, I would hire writers. But I don’t know what you think David. I tend to move away from comedy unless I’ve got a huge hit. There have been some brands. If you look at what Taco Bell has done, maybe a little bit about what Wendy’s has done, they’ve done some pretty funny, humorous videos. But in general, I kind of steel away from it until there’s a greater comfort level with it.
David Hoffman: Totally agree. Here’s why. How many people go to Taco Bell laughing? How many people go to Taco Bell because it’s cheap and they can feed the kids? How many people go to Taco Bell feeling a little bit guilty that maybe it’s going to make them fat? Who’s your audience? That’s what you want to do. I’ve run … You won’t believe this… I’ve taking YouTube ads that are three minutes long. You can click off in five seconds, and I’ve got fifty percent of the audience watching the three minutes because it doesn’t look like a commercial. It’s not trying to sell you anything. It’s pretty much the kind of videos you make, Mark. They’re not commercials.
Mark Fidelman: But how do you feel about conversions on those, David? I mean, do you find them converting? It’s one thing to show a funny three-minute segment, but are they really going to sell your audience? And if you’ve got a long-term perspective, perhaps. Maybe a short-term, it might not be the right thing for your clients. Do you agree?
David Hoffman: Absolutely agree, and I think it’s important to think about, are you … Because everyone says, I say, “Who do you want to reach?” They say, “Everyone.” It’s rarely everyone. Yeah, if it’s Taco Bell, it’s everyone. But if it’s a nuclear power plant device out of GE …
Mark Fidelman: Right.
David Fidelman: …or a heart device, that ain’t everyone. I really, in my work with GE, I helped GE focus on the web, on understanding how to target that heart device at the doctors and the hospitals they had to reach and nobody else.
Michael Krigsman: Let’s talk about YouTube. […] We have a question, again, from Arsalan Khan, who really raises a great point. He says, “Do video analytics help influencers become super salespeople, or is it just gut feeling?” This entire question of creating stories, when it comes to the web, it is about creating stories, or is it about figuring out how to get lots of people to view? Because a lot of people think it’s the latter.
Mark Fidelman: I think it’s both, really. I mean, I look at what the influencers are starting … I know we’re starting in terms of analytics. You can see how long they watch your video on average. You can even do it the individual level if you’ve got the right tools. We use TubeBuddy. I can’t recommend that tool enough for YouTube. YouTube’s analytics is really good as well. You can really start to understand what videos do well, what don’t and then kind of reverse-engineer them to find out, “Why am I not connecting with my audience here, and why am I connecting with my audience in other places?” I think the thing about influencers is they’re not afraid to put themselves out there, be authentic, and find that… The audience really finds them, but really talk to that audience about things that they’re interested in. I mean, there are people that, I think …
Unbox Therapy, for example. They get over a million views just on boxing tech products. And the reason is, is because he does it in a fun, entertaining, interesting way; but if he doesn’t like a product, he says so. He doesn’t hold back. He’ll lambast you. So, you’ve got to be careful what you send him because might review it, and it might be a bad review.
Dan Hoffman: I would say, you’re asking a question about analytics. I agreed with everything Mark said, by the way. Analytics, I use heavily. I use two types of analytics. I agree with Mark. YouTube’s pretty good. Really good. Seeing where did somebody drop off, where did most people drop off; X-number drop off from the first fifteen seconds. They're not your audience. X-number last the whole time of the video. Interesting! X-number drops off, 32% in. That's also interesting because they might have lasted longer. So, I do use analytics, but then I do something really strange. I call somebody who’s watching it. I ask people, “Can you watch that video? I like to record it.” Because, what people say gives you far more insight into the emotional reaction they’re having, which if you said, “Okay, David. What’s the most common reaction?” The most common reaction is, “He’s not talking to me! And I don’t know why I’m listening. I don’t know why I’m watching.”
That’s not good. That means either the person doesn’t understand the audience, or he’s got the wrong audience. In some videos I’ve done, I get a 5% viewership. 5% don’t click off in thirty seconds. But I want the 5%. I’m fine with that. Those analytics really help.
Mark Fidelman: Yeah, I have another example, Michael, I’d like to share that’s less about storytelling; I’d be interested in what David’s opinion is on this, and maybe even your own, Michael. There is a YouTube channel called “First we feast.” It’s an interview show, not unlike this, but it’s very unique. All they do is they set up ten different hot sauces, each getting progressively hotter. They bring in a celebrity, they bring in other YouTubers, and they place those hot sauces on ten wings; remember each getting progressively hotter, and after every time they eat a wing, then they have to answer a question. And you can imagine by the end of it, this thing is burning a hole in their tongue.
So, there’s episode in particular with Kevin Hart. This might be the funniest show I’ve seen on YouTube, but it doesn’t really follow a story, it just follows the career of somebody that’s being interviewed there. But, I think people are tuning in, because they want to see how this celebrity really breaks down and starts crying by the tenth wing, because it is a phenomenally entertaining show.
Michael Krigsman: So I’d say there’s a humanizing quality associated with that.
Mark Fidelman: Yeah, when you’re breaking down from being burnt by hot sauce, and you’re about ready to vomit, there is a humanizing quality about that.
Michael Krigsman: David, how can we humanize our videos, which gets directly to the point of authenticity that you raised earlier?
David Hoffman: I’ll make a list. I mean, I told you, start off by making mistakes. Mistakes immediately draw the audience to you. I’m sympathetic to that guy. He’s not perfect, or that girl […]; I’m not being sexist about this. And two, I would say tell stories from the heart even if they’re the … Wonderful idea; you eat this stuff and it’s got spicier and spicier, and then you start burning your thing, and the reactions are real. That’s got an arc to it; what we call a story arc. That’s pretty good. I like that. I was thinking of Pepsi and Coke. Remember when Pepsi went into the streets of Central Park…
Mark Fidelman: Yeah, the Challenge.
David Hoffman: The Challenge. And before that, there was Avis and Hertz, “We’re Avis, we’re number two.” Oh, boy! The audience went, “I want number two!” You wouldn’t have thought that. So, I say, resonate with the audience, which is the key for the people watching, by being, I’m not saying “real,” because that’s the wrong word. That means “honest.” You don’t need to be honest. Honest, sometimes good, sometimes not good. But real. Like, I’m going to tell you right now why I know my Taco Bell is made with better ingredients, but I know it. I’m just going to take it as a given. That guy I trust….If you want to see what not to trust, watch commercials on television. Everybody has got a DVR that’s speeding past them. The advertising agencies – can you believe this? – are still ignoring that that’s what their viewers are doing! They’re saying, “Well we have 750 million views.” They did not because people are DVRing. The commercials are unbelievably fake, for the most part, even when they’re faking being real.
Mark Fidelman: But David and Michael, what some of the … because I work with brands a lot, and maybe, David does as well. I'm sure he does. A lot of them are afraid to make mistakes. I mean, I'm doing a series of twelve episodes for a company now, and my God, everything has got to be perfect. Now, unfortunately, it's still coming across as somewhat inauthentic, but there is no room for mistakes. You can't make a mistake, or else there are serious repercussions. At least they're telling themselves that.
So, I’m wondering what David thinks about that, and I think, from what I’ve seen, that’s the maturity of brands that are producing their own videos; less so about influencers, because they know the influencers have already got a big audience. They don’t care if they make mistakes with their own audience. But if it’s coming from the brand itself, I’m finding they’re afraid to make mistakes, and therefore, not willing to take that step to authenticity that you were talking about, David.
David Hoffman: Totally agree. You have a business; a part of your business that I would use. I didn’t know it until Michael [brought us to] this talk today, but influencers can make mistakes. So even though the company has its lawyers, God, get the lawyers off the script. They wreck everything, right Mark?
Mark Fidelman: That’s right.
David Hoffman: And they wreck everything. They get the lawyers…And then remember there was a Time Magazine ad once, which had a two-paragraph thing coming out of an oil company or something. And every single word was crossed out and changed, and the answer was, "Don't get a group to write a script." But you know that. And the brands, oftentimes, pass that over to PR. Oh, God. Don't ever pass to PR. Pass that over to marketing. Or, would you pass it to the legal department? So, he's got this other business. Influencers; they can say the things, make the mistakes, be the real that you can't be. And to me, that's … I don't know how many agencies actually do what you do, Mark, but it’s a very appealing way to get around the silliness inside the corporation of making a mistake.
Michael Krigsman: I mean, personally, you know, for myself, I work also with large companies, and as well as with startups. And I think that that fear of making mistakes, which is the desire to appear perfect, and to present the image that we don't have any vulnerabilities, it's such crap because the reality is that, I mean, seriously, right? It's bullshit. The reality is that we're all alive; I mean, presumably, we are, since we're having conversations about this stuff…
Mark Fidelman: … Well not according to Elon Musk, we’re not.
Michael Krigsman: Well, there’s … you know. Most of us are alive.
Mark Fidelman: Yeah.
Michael Krigsman: Anyway, so we all know that being alive means that things can go wrong. Things can fuck up, and they will. And, it happens, and so we don’t need to smooth out. You know, we don’t need to smooth out.
David Hoffman: Well Michael, Michael. Just look at United Airlines. Can you believe United Airlines? That CEO ought to be trained by Mark and I and you, Michael, to be a human being. In my early life, what was the famous chemical company in Bhopal? They poisoned twenty- …
Mark Fidelman: Dupont?
David Hoffman: No, it wasn’t DuPont. It was the other big one in Connecticut. Michael? Anyway…Big, huge chemical company.
Michael Krigsman: Oh, Union Carbide.
David Hoffman: Union Carbide poisoned 22 thousand people, and Mr. Anderson, who had never smiled hardly ever, got on his internal and external media and said, “I think I’m going to cry.”
Mark Fidelman: Oh.
David Hoffman: That was the start of his talk, having poisoned 22 thousand people. The United Airlines CEO, the guy has no feelings! Those PR people had to train him to have feelings. What a disaster!
Mark Fidelman: They trained the feelings out of their CEOs. You know? That’s what they do. I’ve seen their training. It’s ridiculous.
Another good example would be Tylenol when they came out after somebody had poisoned Tylenol. That was I think a good response to it. We still see these corporate hacks, these executives that are toeing whatever legal line that the PR company has told them, and they come across as unauthentic, and people don’t believe them, and it just makes matters worse. And I think, David, you’ve highlighted what happened at United. It’s a case-in-point.
David Hoffman: You know, another one; I’m not going to name a name but it’s a giant sort of company. When you work with them as I have, everything goes through a group called “Public Affairs.” Public Affairs has to approve absolutely every out-facing commentary from Coke to keep the brand whole. As Mark and I both know, to understand a brand is a critical thing. And they provide great insights to that, but to communicate to an audience requires the audience you’re communicating to – which Public Affairs people don’t have a clue about. You put those two things together, and you make […]. You may power on video, in my view.
Michael Krigsman: Alright. We have about seven minutes left. This has been a very fast conversation. I’d like to go back to the notion of building an audience. And I realize that it all starts with understanding the audience, communicating to the audience, evoking emotions and being trustworthy. But, I also want to know the cheap tricks. I want to know how I can get more people to watch my stuff. Are there any cheap tricks? [Laughter] Or does it all come back to that same thing, which is “hard work?”
David Hoffman: I have a cheap trick, but I want to hear Mark’s first.
Mark Fidelman: Well, I mean, the most natural way of doing this is if you have other audiences, and most of the brands probably watching this do, whether it’s on email, Twitter, Instagram, what have you; the easiest and fastest way to build an audience on YouTube or Facebook video is to invite them to subscribe, and give them an incentive, do something that will get them to subscribe to your videos, because on YouTube, unlike Twitter, when you subscribe, most of the time, depending on whether YouTube's hiccupping or no, most of the time they get an alert that there's a new video been posted, "Hey, go take a look at this," and they go watch on their mobile; they could watch at their desktop. .. For me, YouTube is probably the number one place most people should be focusing, followed closely by Facebook for video. But if you think about it, YouTube has got a big advantage with SEO value, as opposed to Facebook where nobody goes to Facebook to search for anything. Whereas on YouTube and Google, that video will sit there forever, and to David's earlier point, if you're building videos that have longevity; if you're thinking five years out; then this video's going to pay off for you. A single video will pay off for you for at least five years.
David Hoffman: I’d say three things. And by the way, I never met Mark before and he hadn’t paid me. Influencers really work. I can’t believe it. When an influencer says something about something I’ve made, the views go from 300 that I really care about to 30 thousand in three days. Even if the guy’s got only 300 thousand subscribers, he knows how to deal with them. They’re tough. They can ask for too much money, they can be a pain in the butt, I don’t really know all the details of influencers, but I love influencers.
The goal on YouTube is sharing. You want the video to be shared. So, whenever I look for my weekly analysis on any client, I want to know how many people are sharing it. Am I reaching a guy who’s got cancer at 63, so he’s going to […] the other guy’s cancer, maybe his doctor. That’s very informative.
And, the third thing is, let’s be clear. Facebook is going to kick YouTube’s butt in one major area that’s unreal. Facebook is about friends. So it knows that David Hoffman is speaking to you now from his home. It knows it because I've made a Facebook post. And I've said, "I'm at home." "Oh, home. David must live in […] home, he must like this event, and it finds me." I'm clicking on one in ten Facebook ads right now. Why is it Facebook sponsored posts? Why? Because they know me! They're figuring out, "Oh, the guy's interested in new glasses. Oh, he wants to go to Cancun beach." It's fantastic! YouTube is about the searcher. "Wonderful," as Mark says, and huge, and China’s opening up. I don’t know what that’s going to do to the total YouTube fanbase.
Facebook is about my friends, and it’s about them knowing so much about me that if I’m one of fifty people in the United States who has a specific issue I want to deal with, they’re going to find a video that if the sponsors were right, that goes right to my heart. Amazing!
Mark Fidelman: I mean, I’ll challenge David a little bit. I agree Facebook is going to head in that direction. However, like Facebook has done to us marketers, and we probably deserve it, they make it very difficult to reach our own audience that we’ve built up unless we pay for it. So you’d better be prepared to pay for it, but yes. Second-to-none, Facebook is the best targeting that’s out there. But I think YouTube will quickly catch up. You know, I have a lot of faith in Google, as much faith as I have in Facebook. So, it will be interesting to see what happens, but I think YouTube is a primary place for the next couple of years because of the search value.
Now, if you’re producing Facebook Live videos, way better place to go than YouTube. So, depends on what you’re putting out there.
David Hoffman: Totally agree. I think that YouTube is the greatest network. The greatest video network the world has ever seen, so surpassing any other system that I ever had to find an audience that enjoys and reacts to what I’ve done. Amazing!
Michael Krigsman: So, in our last few minutes, I’d like to ask each of you to share your advice and David, let’s start with you. You’ve spoken about this, but you’ve done so many videos and some of your videos; like, you did one, was it BB kIng at Sing-Sing Prison? Was it Sing-Sing?
David Hoffman: Yup.
Michael Krigsman: That is so phenomenal! How do you do it? How do you do it?
David Hoffman: Well, from the corporate perspective, they know that sponsoring events that people like, care about, is a great thing to do. The problem is, and it’s a real challenge, how to connect a corporation’s values with BB King, or with Earl Scruggs, or many other people that I film. Not exactly influencers, Mark, in a modern, YouTubey world. But if it was to the public, celebrities.
Mark Fidelman: […]
David Hoffman: […] BB King for one purpose. The guy who paid for this. And I said, I can get your purpose in there, but this story is about BB King. Otherwise, what’s the point? It’s so popular on YouTube today, I made it when I was young. I made it when I was 25. It got millions of views on YouTube. It sells hugely, and the clients have long gone. The company’s long gone. That’s happened with my AT&T work, that’s happened with a lot of these companies. The company’s gone, but the videos are still running. That tells you something, Mark, about the life of these things. [Laughter]
Michael Krigsman: Alright. And, Mark, once we’ve got a video, and we want to market it, and we want to put it out there, what’s the best way to do it?
Mark Fidelman: Well, I mean, David stole my thunder, as usual.
David Hoffman: [Laughter]
Mark Fidelman: Influencers are the best for two reasons. One is organic reach, I mean, because they’re introducing their video to your audience. It’s all organic. Second, you can pay for it, and you can pay for it on Facebook and Youtube, and Facebook will be better targeted, but YouTube does a great job of targeting as well, so that’s another way. Very inexpensive. You can get it down to a target audience to two, three cents in some industries per view. I mean, that’s phenomenal! I mean, you couldn’t do this a couple of years ago. And then thirdly, is share it on your other channels and encourage your employees, especially if you’re in a big organization, to share it internally.
David Hoffman: Totally agree with what he just said. Didn’t say that. Really good. The employee base in enormously powerful. Their spread is so great that when you’re lucky enough to do something that you asked them to employ engagement programs, ask them to share. It skyrockets viewers that mean something. Not just viewers, viewers that mean something.
Michael Krigsman: Okay. And on that note, it’s time for Episode #230 of CxOTalk to draw to a close. And in the spirit of sharing, I am going to ask each one of you to like us on Facebook. You can do that now. Click the little YouTube button, and subscribe to us on YouTube. And, call five of your friends and tell them to do the same thing. No, seriously. Thank you so much to Mark Fidelman, and to David Hoffman for joining us on this very interesting episode of CxOTalk, talking about video. Next week, we are joined by David Edelman, who is the Chief Marketing Officer for Aetna, a big insurance provider. And we are going to talk about how changes in the insurance market, environment, and expectations affect a huge insurance company. Thanks so much, everybody. Have a great day, and we will see you soon.
Mark Fidelman: Thanks, Michael.