Winning PR stories

Optimized video engagement helps Cisco win a Bulldog Bronze

Innovation is a favored buzzword in technology circles, and depending on how it’s used, it can sound like a vague and lofty concept. But what does innovation in action truly look like? To show Cisco’s innovation in action—and how it works with partners, customers, researchers and other technology-focused collaborators within the Internet of Things landscape—the technical thought leader opened nine Cisco-branded Innovation Centers across the globe.

To help foster innovation, each Cisco Innovation Center is located in an area at the center of innovation like Toronto, Tokyo, South Korea, Brazil and Barcelona, and paired with Cisco industry vertical focuses such as transportation, oil and gas, manufacturing, retail and much more. Seeking to add a tangible element to all of the leading-edge work each Cisco Innovation Center drives, Cisco used a connective storytelling approach to create a riveting video series around each center. Promoted by Cisco’s corporate social media team, each of the videos tells a unique story on innovation. Read on to discover how Cisco successfully employed video to enhance its campaign efforts—and also earned a Bronze Award in the “Best Use of Video in a Digital/Social Environment” category in Bulldog Reporter’s 2016 Digital/Social Awards.

The Challenges: “Working with global team leaders, our challenges for this campaign included collaborating across different time zones, overcoming language barriers and partnering with cross-functional teams,” says Kirsten Chiala, the team’s Digital Content Lead. “Each Innovation Center was in the process of conducting so much amazing work with a variety of startups, partners and customers that it was difficult to keep each video to a 3:00 minute length. However, this compelled us to explore the essence of each Innovation Center’s story and learn how they were using emerging technology to accelerate innovation.”

Each location had a multitude of compelling stories to share. As amazing as this was, it presented the Cisco Corporate Social Media team with significant hurdles to overcome in telling them.

  • Cisco Innovation Centers are global, requiring the United States-based social media team to work with teams across multiple time zones and varying degrees of language barriers as they worked to gather information about the different projects underway at each location.
  • Aligning with attention spans and in consideration of the busy schedules of each video’s targeted audience of media, analysts, IT buyers and influencers, the social media team decided to create short-form video content. With each approximately three minutes long, this limited the number of stories the team could tell, challenging them to convey complex, yet innovative stories that were months in the making to a scant time frame.
  • Though the social media team had honed in on a target audience, they also had to ensure each video included content and storylines that would appeal to startup leaders, incubators, accelerators and partners who could potentially work with Cisco in the future.
Cisco team

The Strategy: To promote its Inside Innovation video series, Cisco’s corporate social media team developed a robust social plan consisting of diverse posts that included long-form video, high-res images, graphic quotes and 15-second video snippets.

Across all posts, the team leveraged the campaign hashtag, #InsideInnovation, to create continuity, incentivize conversation and allow for real-time monitoring and measurement. The team also tapped key Cisco executives to author blog posts on Cisco’s corporate newsroom, The Network, lending credibility and inviting a larger audience to receive campaign messaging.

“The key to launching a video series campaign with the magnitude like our #InsideInnovation series is having a comprehensive social plan,” Chiala shares. “As part of our social plan, we launched each video during key times in local time zones and worked with social leaders in those regions to promote the videos on their local channels. We also gathered the most compelling images from each region, using those pictures with added quotes to promote the videos. Additional internal promotion on channels like our Social Ambassadors hub helped to expand our reach.”

Taking social messaging to a customized level, the team created a dedicated YouTube playlist on Cisco’s main channel, leveraging keyword-rich titles, descriptions and tags to drive search traffic to videos. Finally, the team promoted key social posts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and conducted outreach to industry influencers to drive greater impact.

“Other promotional tactics included GIFs that pointed to the videos and shorter 30-second versions of the videos with subtitles that we could promote on channels like Facebook and Instagram. We also reached out to influencers, sharing the videos with them and engaging them on particular topics either by region or specialty areas,” Chiala relates.

The Results: The Inside Innovation video series proved to be the perfect vehicle to promote key developments at each Cisco Innovation Center and how they came to life. During a 13-month tracking period, six videos garnered an impressive

  • 18,007 total video views and counting on YouTube;
  • 15.3k social engagements;
  • and a reach of 51,655,413

Now, anyone can see Cisco innovation in action and witness how a community of bright and imaginative tech-enthusiasts propel economic growth by becoming global problem solvers addressing tomorrow’s problems to make our world a better place today.

Secrets of Success: Cisco shares the following insight to help you achieve success in your next video campaign—demonstrating how the brand won a Bronze in Bulldog’s 2016 Digital/Social Awards:

  • Have a comprehensive social plan that takes into account internal employee promotion and regional promotion.
    Secure executive buy-in to embed your videos into their blogs – it provides an impactful one-two punch. You can share your video on social and then it will be shared once it’s embedded in an executive blog for additional context and boost.
  • Create special graphic elements for your series, including dynamic regional images, GIFs and quote graphics.
  • Offer videos to teams that attend trade shows and conferences. This can be a great way to showcase really cool content for added exposure.
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