Curated by Mathew Anthony for those who love the business of persuasion and some ...
Friday, January 14, 2011
Comm:Why improv provides the role model for social media communication
Straight Talk from Nigel Hollis of Milward Brown
In a recent article on co-creation on Social Media Today, author Kathy Klotz-Guest talks about the power of improvisation (improv) to create new ideas. She used the word to mean adaptable and reactive, and expressly excludes its comedic or theatrical meaning.
But maybe that is exactly how marketers ought to be viewing social media, as a giant forum for improv with the marketer interacting with their customers to create something spontaneous and new.
Members of the competing teams were required to create ad lib comic sketches based on ideas solicited from the audience or given by the show’s host. The popularity of the show allowed it to transition successfully from the UK to the U.S., and appears to have inspired a roster of similar programs around the world.
The show’s creators, Dan Patterson and Mark Leveson, went on to create the current TV show, Mock the Week, which also relies on improv and is now in its sixth year on the BBC.
Shows like Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Mock the Week are popular for precisely the same reason that social media sites are so popular. They offer fresh, fun and unexpected content.
Social media, however, extends the potential for interaction far beyond the audience attending the show’s performance. Anyone can suggest ideas or elaborate on them even though the vast majority is content that you can sit back to and observe the action.
Improv co-exists alongside traditional theater. In traditional theater, the audience has no role in creating the content and is passively involved. But traditional plays, books, movies and other TV shows all provide material to be used in improv.
Similarly, traditional marketing communication and social communication can and must co-exist. As we saw last year with Old Spice, the former provides important input to the latter, stimulating new ideas.
Critical to Old Spice’s success, however, was the way the brand’s viral campaign gave more than it received. The core to improv is to take someone else’s idea and to make something new and compelling out of it.
Following on from the initial success of “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” (TMYMCSL) campaign and viral video, Old Spice solicited ideas from its fans and then built on those ideas to create a new series of engaging videos.
So what do you think? Is improv a good role model for brands engaged in social media? What other models are there?