TMM’s Marketing Innovators Interview Series Presents Billie Goldman: The Pioneer of Social Films, ‘If you feel scared, it is a good sign that you are on to something big’
Billie Goldman has mastered the art of transmedia storytelling. She is the Partner Marketing Manager at Intel and has worked with Toshiba to create one of the most successful transmedia campaigns EVER. She has created a cult following for her social films; The Beauty Inside, The Power Inside and The Inside Experience. Pioneering a new genre of film and even influencing the Emmy’s to create a new award category, she has broken boundaries when it comes to social networking and the film industry, creating a new kind of customer engagement. To learn more about The Power Inside and the components that helped to drive engagement, read TMM Executive Editor Lisa Peyton’s post, ‘Transmedia Storytelling Case Study: The Power Inside‘.
Billie is asked to speak around the world about her marketing campaigns. Her success is attributed to her ability to quantify and analyze the effectiveness of each of these innovative digital campaigns. She has made a name for herself not only in the marketing industry, but in the entertainment industry as well.
To give you an idea of the success of her social films, here’s a breakdown of the awards they have received:
“The Beauty Inside” won more than 27 awards, including 11 Lions, three of which were Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding New Approach to Daytime Programming.
Billie’s social film, The Inside Experience, won 19 awards, including a Gold National Addy in the online video/webisodes category and a Webby for Best Inegrated Media Plan.
Billie was generous enough to sit down with TMM to answer our questions: :
1) What does it mean to be co-branding manager at Intel and what has been your favorite project to date?
My official title is Partner Marketing Manager. It is a role I’ve held for the last 4 years of my 18 year career at Intel. I have found over my career here doing everything from PR to Product Marketing to Sales to Branding to Co-Marketing that co-marketing is where my real passion lies.
I like to be externally facing and to work with our customers. It is an incredibly rewarding role. I am fortunate enough to now work with Toshiba and the people there are brave and feel the same way about marketing that I do so we are well aligned.
We do tend to focus on master brand campaigns to reach the 18 to 34 year old audience but those campaigns must also create preference for our brands and purchase consideration as well.
My favorite project would have to be the last three social films that I have produced with Toshiba. In each case, we have taken a big, blockbuster movie and mashed it up with social networking, allowing the audience the opportunity to be in the film, to interact with the characters from the film and help steer the direction of the film.
The films have garnered a lot of press and awards including a Daytime Emmy and 11 Lions at Cannes. It is exciting and thrilling to be on the hairy edge of innovation with social film and the audience response has been all anyone could hope for where they recognize that it is advertising from Intel and Toshiba and they just want more.
2) Your social films for Toshiba and Intel have been wildly successful and have a devoted cult following. How did this innovative concept take shape?
I wish there was some secret sauce I could share with you but it all came down to the right people at the right time with the right concept. Timing-wise, we had an entire year of no rules while the Intel Inside Program was being redesigned for the marketing tactics of today vs 25 years ago when it was originally launched.
Opportunity-wise we had an opportunity to reshape how co marketing was done at Intel and people-wise we had the right people who wanted to do something new and daring together.
We brought in 3 agencies originally, to pitch us with the brief outlined as “create an unexpected experience that exceeds the expectations of the 18 to 34 year old audience” and Pereira & O’Dell, out of San Francisco, presented the concept of social film with the concept one of a girl who wakes up in a room, no idea how she got there but she has a Toshiba Ultrabook and is occasionally allowed internet access so she reaches out to her friends/network to help her escape.
When they presented the idea, my heart was pounding. It is not often that one feels scared in marketing and it was such a unique feeling that we knew we were on to something. But the idea scared us and didn’t match the brand voice of Intel which is all about safety in technology and is a happy, happy kind of brand voice while Toshiba’s brand voice is also happy but kind of quirky.
We asked the agency to ideate on some new genres and they came back with 6 additional ideas, one of which was The Beauty Inside which we fell in love with it. We decided that if we ever got the chance to do a 2nd social film, The Beauty Inside was it but we decided to take the risk and move forward with the thriller of The Inside Experience as we thought it was the best way to grab and hold the audience as well as to establish ourselves in this new form of entertainment.
3) Which of the three film series was the most rewarding and which presented the most challenges? Will there be a fourth?
All have been rewarding. The chemistry between the agency, Intel, Toshiba, the interactive agency and the production agency has been amazing all three times. Things just clicked into place and we had very few dissenting opinions which definitely helped make things move smoothly.
The first was the scariest, the 2nd felt right in that we changed a lot based on our key learnings from the 1st and the 3rd felt like we just had to do it. I’m working now to see if I can find enough funding to produce a 4th film.
4) The Toshiba and Intel social film series successfully used co-creation to bring fans into the narrative. Which of these tactics proved to be the most compelling for fans?
The first film had only one lucky person that auditioned where we used their video in the film, otherwise all the interaction you saw on the screen of her reading posts were all real audience posts.
The audience interaction was necessary as we wouldn’t release the next episode until we had enough of the audience engaged at certain points. The Beauty Inside had over 4,000 people audition and we used hundreds of the videos and images in the film and on the facebook experience.
Since the main character looked different each day and recorded a daily video blog of what it was like to be in that body each day, it made including lots of the audience much easier. The audience also interacted with the main character on facebook during the 8.5 week long campaign.
The 3rd film, The Power Inside, also had the audience audtion where they could either upload a photo of themselves which then had a mustache alien applied or a video of them shaving to help weaken the mustache aliens. The audience also interacted with the main characters on Facebook.
Each of these tactics was specific to each film and made sense for that film. I believe the most compelling though was the first film as it was more gripping and dire and the audience needed to help, for in certain circumstances, her getting fed, depended on the audience.
5) The campaigns used transmedia storytelling strategies like posting unique content on Facebook. Do you feel these strategies were responsible for the campaign’s success and popularity?
We used YouTube as the underlying infrastructure for the film components and Facebook for the main experience in addition to Twitter, Instagram and Tumbler. These social sites made sense based on the story and the interaction that we had created.
I’m not sure these are the right social platforms should we be able to do a fourth film and think it is totally dependent on the story and the social interaction we create for the 4th film.
The content was amazing on its own but the social component really allowed the audience to feel like a part of what was happening, gave them a role and won their hearts and minds because of it.
6) What advice would you give young marketers looking to work on innovative and risky campaigns? How can they convince the C suite?
#1 is to focus on creating an emotional connection with your audience.
#2 focus on marketing tactics that make the most sense for that audience and then #3 be brave! If you feel scared, it is a good sign that you are on to something big.
With passion and enthusiasm you can win over most and for those that you can’t, position it as a pilot/test and ask them to give you a chance to prove it to them.
Figure out how you are going to measure the campaign, sell them on the measurement and then circle back and report out on those measurements, what you learned and what you would do differently.
You learn the most when something is not successful so make sure you make a point of what you have learned. Keep trying!
7) Do you feel this type of entertainment marketing will continue to a trend in 2014?
I hope so. I know that we have set the bar high with the production value and the talent but the underlying mechanics don’t have to cost big $s.
Social Film is a new form of entertainment but the Wikipedia definition will change based on whatever you decide to do with it next.
8) What are the KEY skills you look for when hiring a marketing or storytelling specialist?
Chemistry. I’m big on chemistry. I need to feel the passion, enthusiasm of the individuals and see the chemistry amongst the team. Even better is when you throw out a problem and they only see possibilities.
We are excited to see what innovative projects Billie will be releasing in the future. In the mean time, go check out The Power Inside in its entirety, featuring Harvey Keitel at www.insidefilms.com or www.youtube.com/insidefilms.
Category: Marketing Innovators Interview Series, Recruit 101, Social Media, Social Media Case Study, Social Media Marketing, Special Agent Intermediate, tmmBosley, tmmCharlie, tmmJill, tmmKelly, TMMPDX, tmmSabrina, Veteran Advanced