How TED Broke The Rules To Become A Global Phenomenon

How TED Broke The Rules To Become A Global Phenomenon
SHARE
THIS



In this opinion piece, Viostream’s head of marketing, Nick Whitehead (pictured below), says there’s plenty of lessons in brand marketing from the phenomenal rise of the global TED talks…

Even if you’ve never attended a TED talk, chances are you’ve been exposed to one in some form. From downloading a podcast to falling down a YouTube rabbit hole or having a friend give you the gist of one, it’s content that’s broken free of its conference niche to become a global phenomenon.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAkrAAAAJDdmMjBjZDIzLWFhMzctNGM2OC1iOGUwLTI1MGUxMzBkZWYxYg

What started off as a small, one-off, invitation-only event in 1984 is now an unparalleled platform to share ideas from some of the world’s best thinkers, innovators and performers, with a deeply-engaged audience. So, it may come as a surprise to know that when organisers posted the first presentations online in 2006, they were seriously nervous about making the content freely available. They feared that putting their content online would substantially reduce the number of people purchasing tickets for the events, losinga valuable source of revenue.

It’s an immediately recognisable concern for anyone in marketing or communications. When you’re constantly told to control the message, it’s easy to distrust the longevity or the value of audiences built up around the web on channels you don’t own or manage. Audience fragmentation seems like a clear threat to a brand’s ability to clearly express its value proposition via a few chosen platforms, and there’s a widely held assumption that trying to be everywhere at once is a waste of time.

Tearing up the rulebook

TED tells a different story. By September 2006, the online videos had generated more than one million views. A couple of years later, they launched a simulcast version of the TED conference, allowing more people to attend for a lower price. And by 2009, it had reached 100 million video views and was well on the way to building a global audience that would allow TED Talks to extend to local, individually-hosted TEDx events all over the world. Today, most people interact with the TED brand by watching a video or a podcast before they ever attend an event.

Despite their early doubts, it’s clear that embracing audience fragmentation across digital channels let the creators of TED build their brand around a massive global audience from the ground up. So, what are they doing right?

Extend your events online

TED recognised early on that events were no longer restricted by four walls. They may take place in a conference centre or hall, but your audience can participate from anywhere in the world. Last year’s TEDxSydney event, for example, attracted a sell-out crowd of 2,500 attendees to the Opera House. But, by live-streaming the event on its homepage, various social media platforms and The Sydney Morning Herald, it reached an additional 116,000 viewers, and another 23,000 attendees tuned in at satellite events around the world. Making content available for people in any country, on any budget, is a cornerstone of TED’s success. Businesses of all shapes and sizes should seize the opportunity to extend their events and deliver content on a massive scale.

Build a content library

TED Talks primarily exist as an online archive of videos. There are more than two million talks streamed every day across the world, and TEDxSydney presentations alone have reached 85 million viewers. Yet most of the corporate events we attend begin and end at a conference venue. There’s a persistent myth that making content freely available will diminish the pull of attending a live event.

The world has changed. Consumers expect to find information and entertainment at their fingertips – whether they’re searching for a live music or comedy performance, a breaking news story or a thought leadership piece from a business executive. But this doesn’t mean that they’re not willing to invest their time or money to attend an experience that delivers real value. Offering content online allows your business to build up trust, as well as a library of moments that can be searched for, engaged with and learned from again and again. This is an incredibly powerful resource to grow an audience that’s more receptive to shelling out for an event, subscription or larger commitment to your brand.

Encourage social engagement

Social media can be an alarming prospect for businesses trying to control their message. Someone can post anything about your brand at any given time, and it’s unlikely that their tweets or Instagram hashtags are going to perfectly align with your core sales positioning or be written in your preferred marketing speak. Factor in ‘dark social’, and it’s impossible to always stay on top of the conversation. Nevertheless, businesses try hard to control it, with designated hashtags for events and teams of community managers scouting for negative sentiment online. While it’s sensible to keep an eye on what people are saying about you, TED proves the value of using social media to allow people to engage with your brand in their own way. At TEDxSydney in 2016, their ‘Espresso Yourself’ coffee cups, a partnership with University of Sydney, gained major traction online with attendees excited to express their own ideas, from thoughtful political views to quirky designs.

Embrace audience fragmentation

TEDxSydney is one of the largest TED events in globally, a remarkable achievement when you consider how small Australia’s population is on the world map. The online audience will also be bigger than ever this year, with 200 satellite sites participating remotely and tens of thousands expected to tune in via the website, mobile app and social media feeds. There’s a clear lesson here for businesses looking to build a loyal community or tell a story on a global scale. Embracing the increasing fragmentation of your audience across digital and physical channels will go a long way towards extending your reach and embedding you firmly in the forefront of your customers’ minds.

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan

No Women in Media series would be complete without the irrepressible Aimee Buchanan. Read all her pressibles here.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Nike Disses Mollycoddled Chinese Kids In New Upbeat Spot
  • Campaigns

Nike Disses Mollycoddled Chinese Kids In New Upbeat Spot

Years of China’s ‘one child policy’ has apparently left a generation of mollycoddled kids too scared to get sweaty or dirty. But now a new campaign by Nike China has set out to debunk the idea that Chinese kids are spoiled little fatties wrapped in cotton-wool. The campaign’s the work of R/GA Shanghai and is an upbeat, positive number with a booming […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
MS Queensland Unveils ‘MS Stops You In Your Tracks’ Campaign
  • Campaigns

MS Queensland Unveils ‘MS Stops You In Your Tracks’ Campaign

An MS diagnosis – at an average age of just 30 – means a lifelong battle with a disease that attacks the central nervous system in any number of ways. While most people have heard of multiple sclerosis, few understand what it is or how it impacts people’s lives. In partnership with MS Queensland, creative […]

Revealed: The Real Voice Behind Siri
  • Technology

Revealed: The Real Voice Behind Siri

For the third consecutive year, TEDxSydney selected creative agency BMF to produce a film for its 2018 film program under the theme ‘Humankind’. The film, which premiered on Friday in front of 5000 people at TEDx Sydney, unmasks the real genius behind Apple’s personal assistant Siri. “Siri is an amazing invention. You can ask her […]

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires
  • Marketing
  • Technology

MercerBell Calls In Two New Data Hires

Proving many photos shot on an iPhone so often come out washed-out and grainy comes this article's accompanying pic.

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers
  • Campaigns

Intrepid Travel Go Back 30 Years, Posting Classified Adverts In Newspapers

Intrepid Travel has gone back in time and is placing classified adverts for a new ‘mystery expedition’ to places that yet mapped by Google.  The adverts to be placed in Courier Mail, Herald Sun and Sunday Telegraph are calling for intrepid people to join a journey with “long travel days, intermittent electricity, no Wi-Fi, cold […]

Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.

Set for blue sky, different clouds icons, cloud shapes, labels, symbols, icons. Flat graphic vector elements
  • Technology

PubMatic Unveils Cloud for Publishers And Tech Companies

PubMatic has launched PubMatic Cloud for publishers and tech companies looking to implement and control their own programmatic technology. By accessing PubMatic’s technology, global infrastructure and demand connections on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) basis, clients are able to achieve full transparency and achieve greater control over their programmatic monetization. As programmatic trading becomes mainstream, innovations such as […]

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall

The Women in Media Awards are back for 2018! To celebrate this wonderful fact, and to recognise some of the killer women in our industry, we’ve created a women in media series – and have profiled some pretty inspiring women so far. This week, we chat with Bauer Media head of trade marketing Claudine Hall. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  
  • Media

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  

Arq Group has launched a new identity created by award-winning agency Hulsbosch, with the business rebranding from Melbourne IT to Arq. Previously known as Melbourne IT, the company was founded in 1996 as one of Melbourne University’s commercial ventures with the sole rights to manage .au domains in the early days of the Internet. Melbourne IT […]

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD

ANZ, in partnership with PHD and Adshel, have taken to the streets with a total take-over of the entire Adshel Live network. For one hour, between 8am and 9am on Tuesday 19 June, ANZ is inviting commuters to download the new ANZ app by showing six different ways the app can help them manage their […]

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business
  • Media

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business

IPG’s Initiative and Dentsu’s Carat have both been awarded a slice of the West Australian government’s $65 million spend. The government account is broken into two entities – campaign and non-campaign – each with its own agency roster. Carat has retained its long-standing position on the agency panel for all campaign work, which accounts for […]

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!
  • Marketing

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!

In case you missed it last week, a very lucky phone number – 1800 80 80 80 – is up for sale. And it could be yours!

Partner Content

by Customer Connect

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views
  • Technology

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views

AppNexus, the world’s leading independent advertising technology company, today announced the launch of Guaranteed Views, a marketplace product that changes the way advertising is bought and sold on the open internet. Guaranteed Views enables marketers and agencies to pay only for ads that are measured as viewable and is the first programmatic product that enables 100% viewable buying at scale outside of Facebook and Google.

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore

Bereft of any Monday motivation? Let today's Women in Media profile be like low-current electric waves to the brain.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine