Friday, 10 March 2017

Do You Hear The People Sing?

May ‘68, revolutions, Jackson Pollock and Flash Mobs. When Our Glorious Leader Jim Shields became a TEDx speaker, he pulled out all the stops.

Jim has been a sought-after speaker for many years now. Whether it’s about our unique approach to B2B, comedy as the ultimate marketing tool, or his practical self-help book for creatives Three Guys Walk Into A Bar”, Jim can be found holding court at conferences and events on both sides of the Atlantic (and then he can be found holding court at bars, pubs and karaoke nights on both sides of the Atlantic).

Jim loves to share ideas. And when it comes to sharing ideas, there is perhaps no higher platform than to be able to take the stage at TEDx, following in the footsteps of Presidents, Nobel Prize Winners and Bono.

In October this year, TEDx brought a special event to the state-of-the-art Curve Theatre in Leicester. ‘Every Journey Matters’ featured a collection of talks about Leicester’s vibrant creative community, who are reaching out and changing the world from the LE1 postcode.

It was a packed house for Jim on the 26th October, all 500 seats at the Curve were filled.

Jim’s TED Talk was a passionate one, drawing on his own journey from a knock-about past in Salford to his accidental entry into the world of theatre, to where he stands today in the cultural hub of Leicester. But it was also a story about creative revolution, and how ideas can change the world.

Jim’s spoke about empowering creatives to recognise their tremendous worth, their ability to offer ideas and innovation to corporations, governments and non-profits. Jim spoke about how creatives need to encourage those around them, those they work with, to take risks and gamble on new ideas. By doing that, creatives can truly change the world.

We’ve all seen TED Talks before, we know how the end. The pleasant speaker thanks everyone for listening to their ideas, and then they leave the stage. If you thought the end of Jim Shield’s talk would be the same as everyone else, then clearly you don’t know Jim Shields!

There’s no way to explain it, this really has to be seen!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Twist and Shout's 2016 Year In Review

2016 was a rollercoaster of a year for everyone, and it was no different for  us. This was a brand-building year for Twist & Shout. We were less production heavy in 2016 as we were reaching out and connecting with customers and industries on a face-to-face level.

We invested heavily in events this year. We flew to Portland, Oregon and joined people and businesses from all walks of life for the 5th annual World Domination Summit. We sponsored and spoke at the B2B Summit, where 850 of the best minds in B2B marketing came descended on London. We even went out onto the high seas, boarding a cruise ship with marketing professionals from all over the country at the 24th annual Richmond Marketing Forum.

We went out into the world and showed people why comedy is the best communicator. We physically showed them why comedy is the best marketing tool. And it’s much more fun to SEE someone laugh so hard they blow coffee out of their, than to hear about it later on in an e-mail.

Attending these events and meeting people, facilitated LOTS of customer feedback. We learned what does and doesn’t work right there on the “shop floor” so to speak, and we weave that feedback right into product development.

We’ve enjoyed creating new seasons for our sister company, Twist & Shout Media. We were back inside doing porridge and making the 4th Season of Tuesdays With Bernie, the show with the breakout approach to bribery and corruption awareness training. Did spending so long filming behind bars change the T&S crew? It’s hard to say, but we do now refer to cigarettes as “snout”.

Bernie wasn’t the only one doing a four-stretch in 2016. Twist & Shout Media’s smash-hit infosec training sitcom Restricted Intelligence went into production of its 4th Season. It’s been tremendous fun getting to shape and develop these characters during their journeys in the infosec world.

2016 also saw the launch of a spin-off series from Restricted Intelligence. Helping parents to combat the problems of raising a constantly online generation, Parental Control is a free web-series that delivers awareness training through through the medium of sitcoms. Check out the first episode right here

Working with the kid on Parental Control is great fun, mainly because they’re the children of our Glorious Leader Jim, and we’re contractually obliged to say that. But Parental Control wasn’t the only time we broke one of the Golden Rules Of Showbiz and worked with youngsters.

The RANT conferences are some of the biggest cybersecurity and infosec networking events in the UK, and when attending in 2016 we decided to bring something very special with us. We re-created the cybersecurity industry … but with children. We cast three precocious and talented youngsters as the CISO, Security Consultant and Infosec Manager of a top international company, and had them recreate a budget meeting.

We presented our little film to the infosec professionals and it was the smash-hit of the RANT conference, lighting up our social media with praise. Check it out for yourselves!

Not content with merely the medium of video, 2016 was also the year we launched our very own podcast! The episodes are a series of chats between our two Creative Directors, Rob McCollum and Jim Shields. Whilst originally conceived as being discussions solely about upcoming and ongoing projects, the episodes usually end up being broader conversations between Rob and Jim discussing B2B and comedy marketing as a whole. Check it out here.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Feeding Our Creative Beasts

Are sequels ever better than the first outing? Of course there are the classic cinematic examples of The Empire Strikes Back, Godfather Part II and, of course, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. Get ready to add the Twist & Shout Podcast to that list, because Episode 2 is chock full of delicious content!

This time around our Creative Directors Rob & Jim are talking about “Feeding the Beast”. No, that isn’t about the terrifying half-man creature who lives in the T&S basement (and whose existence we refuse to acknowledge), it’s about feeding your creative beast!

On the other side of that play button you’ll find;

      An interview with the young stars of our new online security project Parental Control

      Rob McCollum discussing his smash-hit viral video Hamilaria

      Restricted Intelligence taking over the National Space Centre (Rob being amazed that the England HAS a National Space Centre) and showing businesses how they can deal with their informational security problems with more intelligence

      Darren Argyle, the CISO of Markit, talking about the challenge of getting a well educated & savvy workforce to take notice of their InfoSec responsibilities.

So plug us into your ears and feed your own beast!

iTunes Subscribe link;

Friday, 12 August 2016

Is This Thing On?

In our on-going mission to absolutely conquer all forms of media, we recently birthed the Twist & Shout Podcast out onto the world wide web! The podcast acts as an all-access pass, taking you behind the scenes on the very latest plans, machinations and productions of Twist & Shout.

Episode One, called ‘Comedy Is A Serious Business’, is a great way to dip your toe into our deep, blue, creative waters. On the other side of the play button you’ll find;

      News on our brand new public service project, Parental Control - helping parents navigate internet safety for their kids.

      Interview with a familiar face from our ground-breaking web series Restricted Intelligence. You’ll have to listen to find out who, but it’s someone who’s been missing for a while and is making their big return in Series 4!

      A head-to-head discussion between our US Creative Director Rob McCollum and our UK Creative Director Jim Shields, the Ben & Jerry's of viral comedy marketing! It’s always special when we get Jim and Rob in the same room, and this free-form discussion covered (amongst other topics) the three things a business needs to think about before commissioning a viral marketing video.

So strap that all-access lanyard around your neck and come backstage with Twist & Shout to find out how the secret sauce is made!

Subscribe by clicking here

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Funny Business (to Business)

In the middle of June this year, 850 of the brightest minds in B2B descended on London for the annual B2B Marketing Summit, an all-day event of networking, insight sharing and exhibitions.

This year the Summit has moved into it’s new home in the impressive Business Design Centre in Islington. The centre is a whopping six thousand square metres of space, accommodating a Main Stage, five separate content streams and a raft of exhibitors from all over the world.

As the Mecca of B2B, 2016 attracted delegates from IBM, ATOS, Dell and Barclaycard. Oh yeah, and a viral comedy marketing outfit called Twist & Shout. We were proud to be one of the sponsors for this big event, and our Creative Director Jim Shields had the honour of being one of the guest speakers.

We had a lovely booth on the main floor, where we got to interact with hundreds of businesses and companies interested in the power of comedy. Everyone from forklift truck manufacturers to global business analysts and everything in-between.

It was our job on the day to demonstrate that comedy can solve marketing problems for all of them. B2B often leads with complexity. Their solutions are implicitly complicated. All the information and details come all at once and so it becomes a jumbled mess. We showed marketing managers that comedy distills and crystallizes their solution in a vivid and entertaining way, so that it gets shared and talked about. And as a way of generating leads, there’s none finer than comedy.

It was standing room only for Jim’s speech, as a packed house came to learn about viral comedy (and to break up the day with a few laughs). But, as ever, the real work was done at the end of the day, when the wine and the conversation began to flow. The really useful conversations always happen with a glass of wine at the bar. The delegates opened up and began to discuss their fears about using comedy. For many it can seem like a big risk to take.

So many B2B Marketers don’t use comedy either because they think it could get them fired, because they think it’s too expensive, or because they can’t see how it might work with their marketing challenges.

As Marketers, we focus so much on being professional and comprehensive that we lose any kind of intimate connection. This is where comedy comes in. Comedy brings you closer to your customers.

Stories and humour engender a mass intimacy that forges strong relationships. The use of comedy and characters can transform customer loyalty into fan behaviour.

Through networking and through Jim’s presentation, we demonstrated that whilst comedy can be risky, it’s no more so than being the “white rice” of your industry whilst competitors get up close and personal with the customer.

Throughout the Summit, one of our strongest practical examples was our recent hit series “Lily’s World” for Alcatel-Lucent. This comedy series with a light touch melted the hearts of even the most hardened Marketing Director…

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Don't Lead With Complexity

Picture a car advert.

It’s a Volvo. A beautiful, fast, family car that simultaneously ticks the boxes of ‘Staving Off That Midlife Crisis’ and ‘Safe Enough For The School Run’. It’s got a polished, white paint job that somehow remains grime free. The Volvo cruises along the flat, rolling tarmac. No potholes or red lights in sight, just the traffic-free open road stretched out towards a stunning horizon.

Mom and Dad sit in the front, smiling and happy. Dad isn’t angry at Mom for making him do all the driving while she naps the entire time. Mom doesn’t have a splitting headache from the stereo playing the same twelve children’s songs on a seemingly infinite loop. Neither of them is screaming and spitting with rage at a useless GPS that keeps blurting out “Recalculating” every eight minutes.

The two kids in the back are miraculously not fighting, screaming or urinating. They’re just calm and chilled and enjoying each other’s company. The simple act of being on a journey in this Volvo has brought the family closer together. We don’t know where they’re going, but we know they’re going there as a family. And it’s going to be a beautiful day.

Now imagine Volvo did something different with their advert. No beautiful scenery, no happy family, no content life. Instead, imagine a dissertation on the Volvo’s camshaft lobe separation. Imagine blueprints on its direct injection technology. Imagine a three minute discussion about the exact dimensions of the overhead cams. Imagine all that and then tell me how excited you’d be about this Volvo.

If you’re leading with complexity, then you’re not making people fall in love. And falling in love is the ballgame.

Forget the advert, now you’re in a bar. It’s a good vibe, everyone’s enjoying themselves, and then you see the most amazing person you have ever laid eyes on. You spot them from across the bar, hanging out with their friends. You can see this person is beautiful and funny and cool and you know right then and there that you have to talk to them.

In your mind you flash forward; you can see yourself being with this person, you can see yourself making a commitment to this person, you can see yourself buying furniture with this person. This is real and it’s happening right now and you’ve got to make an impression. You’ve got to make them love you.

So, of course, you walk up and hand them your resumé. It’s in a nice little folder with tabs and everything. You take them through all the details of your working life, you clearly outline all your accomplishments and skills. Your successes, your failures and how you handled those failures. This should do the trick, right? This resumé should make an impression? This should make them fall in love, right? RIGHT?!

No, of course not. You go tell them a joke, tell them a story. You try to make them laugh and relate to them. You try to find common ground and shared experiences to bond over. Leading with complexity is the death of love. The first thing you have to do is make an impression.

You need to make an impression on your client, relate to them, make them fall in love. Ask yourself “what problem am I solving?” Show them just how well you know their pain. Show them just how well you understand their pain. Show them that, if they use you, you can take that pain away.

In our hugely successful web series “The New Guy”, one of the issues being addressed is cross-company, multi-platform collaboration. Rather than emphasize the technological complexities involved, take a look at what happens.

Who hasn’t struggled to download the PowerPoint in time for the call? Who hasn’t been in conference calls that can’t even connect properly? That’s immediately relatable. It makes an impression immediately.

And in this video for the “Lily’s World” series (which has amassed over 99,000 combined views), the simplicity of a young girl’s point-of-view, cuts through the complexities of entrenched and outdated systems.

In this series of videos, it’s Lily’s bitingly fresh perspective as an outsider that highlights the inadequacies of old IT and communication infrastructure, and exposes the mentality of “that’s just how it’s done”. “Lily’s World” is a unique way of tackling the relatable problems and issues the audience face every week, without getting mired in the technical details.

Comedy can cut through all of the complexity and highlight the benefit of whatever it is you’re selling. There is a time and a place for all the specific details, but that comes after the romance. After they’ve fallen in love with what you’re selling.

Video is the worst possible medium for leading with complexity. All that is, is a brochure that moves. But video is hands down the best way to tell a story, to make people laugh and to make an impression. It’s the best possible way to make people fall in love.