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Sharing the learnings of our Global Working video competition as a way of saying thank you to everyone who helped make it such a success, and to help other companies who are considering a video competition as part of their activities.
ContentsLearning points summarized 3Drivers for the competition 4Meet the team 5Early Concerns 6The Competition 7The Landing Pages 8The entry mechanism 8Propulsion 9Competition entries 12Judging 14Measurement 14Concluding note 17Winners Top 20 18 GLOBAL INTEGRATION TM 2
Learning points summarizedAbout running a business related video competition• Consider the balance of prize/entry mechanism.• The large prize combined with a skill level had a positive effect on overall quality.• Competitions with a perceived high skill level to enter meet resistance from both consumers and from competition promoters. If you’re looking for numbers, dumb down.• We could have had a better gender balance on the judging panel, as much for public perception as anything else.• Landing page design needs more consideration. If doing it again we would give ourselves a longer lead time and offer the designer a wider brief. (Generally ours worked well, though.)• Business related video competitions usually have a very low take up – we did incredibly well to earn 40 entries.• People will leave it to the last minute to enter; be prepared.• Media partnerships for propelling the competition require plenty of advance planning time and can prove expensive.• Working further ahead would have allowed us to engage more deeply with the communities we already know and work with, allowing them, in turn, the luxury of building it into their programmes.• Moderation, even if it causes a time delay, is absolutely essential.About propulsion of the competition• Without big existing social networks, content needs a marketing hand to be propelled.• Video tagging within YouTube is a powerful way for people to discover content.• Advertising works variably, with some suppliers working better than others. Planning as far in advance as possible could create better results.• Personal contacts - social and personal - generate action, but don’t rely on people using their personal social media spaces - even if they intend to, they may not get around to it.• Avoid closing dates around Christmas.About ourselves• The business schools see us as competition.• Although we have pockets of personal social capital across the team, most of us were somewhat reluctant to milk our personal networks.About the competition’s impact• Our increased social media activity had a bigger natural ‘afterglow’ effect on Twitter than on Facebook.• Although the competition was run on YouTube, it had surprisingly little effect on views of our own videos on YouTube.• Our consultants noted increased contact with existing customers.• Although we had some lovely Asian entries, Asia was particularly difficult to reach out to and to find the right partners to work with.3
Drivers for the competitionBefore stating any competition objectives, it’s as well to note some of the drivers for the video competition,and to state very clearly that this is not an invitation for us to be approached by social mediaspecialists who’ve previously run competitions and think they can do a better job!Firstly our business: Global Integration trains and consults in matrix management, remote and virtualworking, and global working – a clear B2B (Business to Business) proposition.Our training consultants are often out on the road, and the material they work on, along with the problemsthey seek to solve, is usually confidential. When they’re out with customers, they are totally focussed on thecustomer’s needs, and don’t have much time for engaging in social spaces. When they’re not, they’refocussed on preparation or catching up with friends and family.So although they all do engage in different spaces online, and do value their online networks, given thenature of our work we’re not currently going to create a lot of natural buzz around what we do.Our topic matter is also highly niche, and our target customer, a ‘C-suite’ audience, doesn’t generallyhave a lot of time to spend on line.So CEO Kevan Hall looked analytically: we can (and do) create sharable content, but we’re not sellingconsumer goods, and as a mid-sized company, an ‘Old Spice Man’ or Coca Cola type campaign isout of budget for us.It made sense to separate the buzz from the business and find a topic people could engage with –and we were prepared to experiment.After careful consideration of several options, he put up a $15000 (£10k/12k Euros) prize to trial a competitionthat would not only create a bit of excitement around what we do, but could, potentially, give us an insightinto how others see the topic of global working.As an aside to the competition, we were interested to hear a student perspective – with so much hypearound ‘Generation Z’, the internet generation: do they really see the world in a different way? And how dothey view the world of work? 4
Meet the teamSo now you know about the organization and reasons for running the competition, let’s introduce you tosome of the people and organizations involved in the organization. Kevan Hall, CEO, Global Integration Alex Moss, web designer (Pleer) Fresh Egg, SEO specialists Claire Thompson, competition co-ordination, Global Integration5
Early ConcernsBefore the competition, we already had a couple of ‘flags’ raised.We had researched video competitions, and the news wasn’t necessarily good. We heard stories of a verylarge computer manufacturer with far bigger PR and resources than us, and with a big global brandpresence, earning just two entries for a video competition with a similar prize.And some of the people who run video competitions professionally for a fee wouldn’t touch the competition.“We can’t,” they said, “guarantee any kind of results on a competition like that.”We did offer them reassurances that we weren’t looking for video quality, we were looking for content,but between the thinking about the topic matter and the creation of the video, many deemed the barriersto entry too high.Had we run a competition where people simply had to yell ‘Global Integration’ into a camera and upload it,we would, ironically, have had more available avenues to promote the competition.Learning point: Competitions with a perceived high skill level to enter meet resistance fromboth consumers and from competition promoters.But speaking with clients, friends and family, the lure of the prize was thought to be enough to bring studentsrunning. Here again, however, we hit an obstacle. We hadn’t anticipated that as trainers/consultantswith deep topic expertise in workplace issues and organizational structures, the colleges’business schools would view us as competition.The promotion was evidently going to have to be very ‘social’ and promoted organically rather than inpartnership with any educational establishment.The enthusiasm of the students around us, however, was contagious. We believed it could be done,and if it couldn’t, at least we’d learn a lot along the way.A further concern was our company social media properties. We have a social media presence on LinkedIn,Twitter, Facebook and, latterly, Google +. These have been deliberate ‘slow burners’, with a strategy ofgenuine (organic) growth rather than forced engagement - NOT playing the numbers game.Although we have plans for these properties, and we could do a lot more with them (and will, over time),we didn’t want to suddenly find ourselves with hundreds of ‘followers’ who had no genuine interest in usor what we do. We’d rather have ten followers who want to hear, learn, share, engage than ten thousandwho are only there for a competition and haven’t got around to ‘unfriending’ us yet - which is of no valueto them or to us. 6
The relatively low numbers, however, meant that the social capital ‘volume’ we would need for any widescale social media promotion wasn’t there. There are people and organizations out there with thousands,even millions, of ‘followers’. As a company we had a few hundred Twitter followers (a nice little community),and a very small group of ‘friends’ on Facebook. Our Matrix Management LinkedIn Group is active andengaged but is topic specific, and whilst we have other social media presences around the World, we hadquality, but no quantity.We were very clear about using our existing social media ‘properties’: although they could be used toalso promote the competition, the social capital that we have already built and value on Twitter, Facebookand, importantly, LinkedIn, should not be damaged by any competition noise, and we didn’t want to loseour existing ‘friends’ online for the sake of competition numbers.This was not going to be easy.The CompetitionThe subject for the competition was ‘Global Working’.The mechanism for the competition was a video, uploaded to YouTube, with a short form to complete.For findability and sharing purposes, we asked for the videos to be tagged ‘global working’.This mechanism worked rewardingly well, and when people found a ‘global working’ video, others of thesame nature appeared within YouTube’s suggestions.Landing pages were commissioned for the display of the videos. We decided to place these on our own siterather than host separately, so that any SEO value accrued directly to us as a company.The prize we put up was a big one - $15 thousand/£10k/12k Euros - to motivate people to try hard to win.We are still debating whether this prize was too big. We had lots of comments that it was too good to betrue, and that with no second prize we might have put people off.However, the competition winner, Nicolás Bori, noted: “I think the high prize definitely contributed to the highquality of many of the entries, I was surprised to see so many nice videos.”Learning point: Consider the balance of prizes carefully.7
The Landing PagesThe page design was pretty much dictated by us, and we incorporated elements of designs seen elsewhere.The designer turned the pages (Wordpress) around in a matter of days and was very willing to help uschange things around as we learned. This worked well in getting us up and running quickly.The things that worked well were:• The page had a bold clear look and feel, distinct from the main Global Integration website.• The pages that people needed were all included.• The entry form was super-easy to manage and set live from an administrative point of view.The things that didn’t work as well were:• The voting mechanism. There was time delay between sharing (a vote) and the votes updating (hourly). Also people were commenting on the fact that people were liking and sharing videos on Facebook and on Twitter, but these didn’t count – only on page votes counted. Although this was made clear in the rules, it was still a little clumsy. Apparently there’s little you can do about this, and all competition hosts will have the same issue.• Instructions on what ‘counts’ as votes were included in an FAQ that we sent people to once they had entered, but we would perhaps incorporate something into the design for users coming to the page were we to do something again.• The terms and conditions for the competition were accessible but a level down from other information. On reflection we could possibly have given them more prominence.Learning point: Based on our experience with other developments, had we developed fromscratch we could still be in an unhealthy process cycle of wireframes and button placement,and the competition would have taken a lot longer to bring to life.The entry mechanismEntrants were asked to fill out a form referring us to their video on YouTube, the biggest video host.We did make provision for people without access to YouTube to contact us directly. No-one did.Although we could have hosted the video directly on our site, the problems we experienced in the latterstages of the competition would have been exacerbated, so it was, on reflection, a good place to host.The mechanisms we put in place with the competition also meant that the content was discoverable withinYouTube by anyone looking for a competition entry.Were we to do it again, we might be much more stringent about the text used with videos in order to drivemore traffic back to our main site as well as the competition landing pages.Learning point: We were very happy with the way that hosting competition videos on YouTubeworked for us, although were we to do it again, we might try and find a parallel service used 8more widely in Asia.
PropulsionIn the early stages of the competition, there was a lot of enthusiasm. The students around/known to us weremaking encouraging noises and indicated that wanted to promote the competition.In the event, however, most people were too busy to really engage their colleagues on our behalf, althoughword of mouth to friends and colleagues did produce around a quarter of the entries.Similarly, one or two media outlets suggested that they might be interested in a partnership. These wentcold, mostly wanting us to spend an advertising budget with them. We needed to be in multiple regions,which meant that budget wouldn’t have stretched to the sums they were demanding. Those which wouldhave accepted the competition based on a minimum prize value (MPV) wanted exclusivity.Learning point: Even with a large prize, traditional ‘media outlets’ often view competitionsas advertising and charge accordingly, or want exclusivity.We paid for a sample video entry to be created, and tried not to set the production standard too high,briefing the video maker, Debbie Davies, not to make the video too ‘produced’. (She enjoyed it so much thatshe went on to create several genuine entries, but that’s an aside.) This, and a ‘talking heads’ video createdby Kevan Hall were used as scene setters for the competition so that no-one had to be ‘first’.In the first part of the competition, natural social propulsion earned us just two entries. However, knowingwhat we know now, we must make a proviso – we hadn’t arrived at the close date before extending thedeadline.Our thinking in suggesting the original Christmas deadline was that the timing would suit students, whowould have the equipment and be taking a break. Feedback from contestants suggests that the Christmasbreak is when they were all travelling and had other things on their minds!Learning point: Unless a competition is Christmas related, Christmas deadlines are probablya bad idea.In the second half of the competition, which was both marketed and had a later deadline, the majority ofpeople still left their entries to the last minute, even though we had incentivized early entries by creatingshortlists from public votes, earned by social sharing.The last minute entries placed enough demand on our servers to bring our website site down. This wasa really basic error, but we had no indication of the relatively high level of last minute entries. Even then,we really didn’t think that it would be an issue as the videos themselves were hosted on YouTube – simplypicking up and sharing the code for less than 20 videos was enough to crash our web site.Learning point: Expect last minute entries. Always!9
Fortunately for us, we hadn’t specified a time zone for the closing time for the competition, and thereforehung on until the last moment which allowed people affected by the crash to still get their entries in.Learning point: Even a competition with a relatively low engagement level (when comparedto say, Coca Cola type competitions) can create problems for the hosting website.We incentivised some students as part of their ‘rag week’ fundraising to ‘like’ our video competition Facebookpage. That activity lead to no entries, but did get the ball rolling on the Facebook page.In the early stages we placed listings on various free and very low cost sites.We also ran two advertisements in Facebook, which were relatively cheap to run (£174). We can attributemany of the followers on our Facebook page to this spend, but probably only one competition entry.In the UK, we had placed an advertisement (£500 plus artwork costs) with the Student Pocket Guide, but itdelivered little apart from some Facebook activity and some headaches.This is in stark contrast to Student-competitions.com, who we used primarily for European propulsion,to whom we can directly attribute numerous videos, including some absolute standouts in the short list.We paid 1500 Euros and received a phenomenal service, including follow up and analytics. 10
We also advertised in the US with the helpful and efficient OnLineVideoContests.com.Within a few days our competition had received interest:• Listing on the site - 1071 impressions and 278 click-thrus• Newsletter Sponsorship - 2295 impressions and 114 click-thrus• Sponsored Ad - 23943 impressions and 413 click-thrusIt’s worth noting again that some of the better known competition sites, including Loquax,refused to carry the competition.11
Learning point: The advertising was effective, but would have been more so with greateradvance planning.In terms of ‘organic’ (natural) propulsion, we reached out (direct messages – DMs) individually to ‘friends’on Twitter with the details, tailored to each individual. This was time consuming and resulted in littleresponse, although a few did help us by retweeting the competition. This is probably because theL&D community there sees benefit in sharing ideas with us but some would also see us as competition.We’d also have a relatively ‘corporate’, rather than personal, presence.However, a similar exercise with personal Facebook friends resulted in both interest and entries. We alsoreached out to specific groups within Facebook, including groups of amateur film makers. It’s entirelypossible that some did enter through this route, but none of the comments or the entries indicated this.We also let people know in relevant forums on LinkedIn that the competition was happening. However,LinkedIn’s settings made this activity difficult. We didn’t feel that a competition advertisement on LinkedInwould have achieved our goals, although, on reflection, it might have been an interesting experiment.Google + is new to us and we have no real social capital there yet (but do feel free to look us up if you’rethere – we plan to have some fun with it).In summary: social media and ‘real life’ contact works well for persuading people to enter a competition likethis. We believe that this is because there’s a personal reason for believing the competition is genuine, andbecause the persuasion and encouragement to enter is more personal.We think that the reason that student-competitions.com worked so well was that they have a communitythat they’ve grown and have fun with.Learning point: This reinforces our belief that building genuine ‘social capital’ willpay back over time.Competition entriesThe looseness of the competition subject matter, ‘Global Working’, worked both ways, stumping somepeople for ideas, but resulting in a wide variety of video topics, from an Asian school explaining how it usedthe global nature of social media to propel itself, through to cross cultural issues, from insights into theimpact of global working on certain industries through to some well thought through ‘talking heads’.The standard of entries was generally high - probably due to the size of the prize, and the requirement tothink about the subject matter - and we will continue to share the material generated, much of which hadan amusing or unexpected slant. Permission to reuse was written in the terms and conditions, but onreflection when we put the videos up it might have been wise to reiterate this, as immediately after thecontest, when we were advising media of the results, one contestant immediately removed his video,and others have since. 12
(We organized the entries into some presentations by category for sharing:http://www.slideshare.net/GlobalIntegration/presentations.)In some ways we were surprised that competitors didn’t use the competition to earn a place on our websitewith their materials. It would have been an ideal opportunity to have, effectively, an advert on our site.We weren’t overly worried, of course - just surprised.Similarly, we saw the potential for learning and development teams to use it for internal training. We hadposters ready for easy download from the site in both letter and A4 sizes to support them, but althoughmany expressed an interest, most were already too busy to use it. This was one of the communities that wewould have most like to embrace the competition.However, what the competition did do was allow us on a business level to renew and maintain the contactsthat we have, and our ‘payback’ for this was fantastic goodwill.Learning point: Working further ahead, and providing materials to support, might have helpedthe L&D teams to make more of the competition as a learning tool.We were also surprised that business students weren’t a little more enterprising. One of the entrants, whosevideo the judges liked and made some great comments about, showed great initiative: although she didn’twin, she asked us for something written confirming her placing and the reasons the judges liked the videofor her portfolio. In a competitive job market, this was a smart thing to do.The spammers, however, did better. Although it would have been a lot easier to let everything auto-publishit proved a wise move to have moderation in place – what we didn’t publish would doubtless have causedoffence, from a political film relating to Benazir Bhutto to a video belonging to a set so dodgy we reported itto YouTube.Once people had posted their videos, they were spreading word of the contest themselves. Some creativemethods were used, including a site specifically aimed at swapping votes on video contests – who knew?And one final note, from winner Nicolas Bori: “I saw some people putting same negative messages on myvideo and it was nice to see that you guys replied defending it. It’s not so nice if other people play that kindof game.”Learning point: The competition must be moderated - from a brand perspective havingoffensive spam on a company website looks poor, and if contestants have a poor experienceit’s a PR own-goal.13
JudgingPart one of the competition was the public vote in which videos were shortlisted for the five judges who camefrom different backgrounds around the World. Our judges were high profile individuals who engaged withthe subject matter.Although the competition administrator was invited to judge the competition, she chose not to, feeling thatthis would compromise her. In the event, this turned out to be a good thing as she was approached withbribes and pressured to influence.The only downside was that, although there was balance in terms of age and where people came from,there was no gender balance on the judging panel, something we would perhaps think more carefullyabout in future.Learning points: Consider the balance/diversity of the judging panel – these things areapparent even if people say nothing overtly; keep the judging and the administrationof the contest separate.In some of the feedback, people noted that it would have been nice if the judges had been on Twitter andavailable to engage there with participants. Our judges’ comments were fed back through Facebook pages,but on reflection it might also have been nice to time the comments as Tweets.MeasurementThis was an experiment with a primary goal of business (rather than social media) learning.We planned to look at the effect of the competition on web traffic, on our own engagement onlineto see if that was enhanced, and at the overall effect on the business.We didn’t find a monitoring tool that would have allowed us total insight into where the competition wasbeing shared, and who by, without spending a disproportionate amount of budget on something thatwas only marginally interesting (given that we would learn little about customer behaviour) so we useda combination of basic engagement monitors and Google analytics.Had we known how badly some of the marketing we paid for was going to perform, we could, perhaps,have used some of that budget for greater insight into social media reach, maybe using that to create newconnections for the business. In reality, however, the amount of time we would have had to allocate to siftingpeople we want to engage with on an ongoing basis in a business context from students and video makerswould probably have rendered this an impossibly expensive activity in any case. 14
However, if you want stats:Facebook: Over 700 people followed the video competition page which we had designed. Some fell off immediately after the competition, but at the end of March 2012, the majority were still there. Had we hosted the whole competition here, it might have been easier for users, but would have wiped out any SEO value that we’ve accrued from the competition, and would probably have limited our international audience.Our own brand page on Facebook is there as an open door for people to engage with us if they want to.Over time we will do more with it, but at present we simply look after it and engage there when that’speople’s preference, but we don’t seek to proactively propel it. Over the period of the competition weearned three ‘likes’ that we can attribute to our competition presence.Twitter:Our ‘Klout’ score rose by four points (unsurprising as we shared a lot of content toward the end of thecompetition). The ‘klout’ fell away again as soon as we had stopped making so much noise.(We noted a similar pattern when we sponsored Tweetcamp last year.)Our follower numbers rose swiftly and dropped back just as quickly to where we would have expected to bebefore the competition. However, since the competition we have noted that the number of followers we haveis still rising steadily, but at a faster rate.15
Although the competition entrants engaged with us about the competition – and we are now noted onsimpler ‘influence measurement’ tools for expertise in ‘video’, our regular community didn’t engage asreadily.Other stats:With limited time resources, and lack of experience in Asian networks in particular, we didn’t use thesenetworks to propel the competition.Number of valid entries: 40 (six or seven were disallowed on grounds of content)New visitors to site over competition period: over 4.5 thousandIncrease in subscribers to our YouTube channel: Last year, seven new subscribers added themselvesto our YouTube Channel, mostly from the US. In January of this year, we gained six new subscribers to thechannel, spread from locations around the World (ie in one month we achieved more interest than in theprevious year).Views to our YouTube channel over last year – note the December dip! 16
Did the competition negatively affect us?No. We experienced a similar dip in 2011 (see map below of exactly the same period in the previous year)but it’s clear that the competition didn’t drive traffic to us either.We checked to see if we should have had a bigger dip, and perhaps more traffic had come than usual fromYouTube, but as a company we normally get around a quarter of traffic on YouTube referred from inside theengine itself. This proportion was unchanged over the competition period.Concluding noteWe enjoyed running the competition. Although the engagement online was good rather than ‘massive’,the real value was in our deepened ties with existing contacts. We have also been able to keep our blogfresh with materials and have shared the videos since with people – the entrants can all be proud.There is also the possibility that we will become involved with a University competition, but that’s tentative,and it would be premature to claim it as a result.Overall, the competition was a success. Given that some major consumer brands have only achieved twoentries on far higher budgets, we were delighted with 40 entries.Did we learn much about Generation Z? Not really. Like any other generation we discovered a mixed bag ofpeople, some of whom were an absolute delight to work with, some less so. However, once we had tappedinto the right groups of people, we found a keen and determined bunch, some of whom were able to createand edit phenomenally good video in very little time.Trialling the competition was a great way to experiment and offered us an insight into what the responsemight be if we, for example, tried to engage course participants in this way. We hope, in the process, thatothers had fun and were entertained.17
1 CULTURAL GLASSES – HOW DO YOU SEE THE WORLD? WINNER Global working video competition: Globalization from2 RUNNER UP three perspectives that affect your life.3 Globalization and College Students4 Globalization in the Music Industry5 Global Social & Environmental Responsibility RUNNER UP How social entrepreneurs are working together6 globally7 GLOCALISATION IN GLOBALISATION Transform the way we work using social network8 technology9 Globalization and Global Working Tips for managing high-performing remote and10 HIGHLY COMMENDED global teams11 Hard Work – a little film of great perspectives12 Creating Community, Connecting Oslo13 10 fun facts about global working14 Global Working: Racing Mechanics15 Global working video competition: Connected16 Globalizer G300017 Global Working Through Global Summits18 Why global working is helping charity fundraisers19 Working USA20 Man With a Thousand Arms HIGHLY COMMENDED 18