Late last year the unlikely figure of Kevin Spacey delivered the closing keynote at Content Marketing World 2014 in Cleveland to 2,600 enthralled marketers. And he smashed it!
Securing Spacey was quite a coup for Joe Polizzi and the Content Marketing Institute team, and a stroke of genius following 2013's barn-storming Spacey turn at the Edinburgh television festival.
So why Spacey?
What do Hollywood actors know about Content Marketing (you didn't ask, but we thought we’d save you the trouble)? Well, it's all anchored around innovation, creativity and the importance of conflict and authenticity – all of which Spacey is no stranger to as the Oscar-winning actor who defied critics by successfully becoming Artistic Director at The Globe and played a major part in the TV chord-cutting, binge-watching revolution with Netflix's House Of Cards.
THREE SPACEY TAKEAWAYS (Spaceaways?)
The link between Kevin's world and Content Marketing is that we all have audiences, and audiences demand compelling stories. And any compelling story contains three key ingredients:
1. Create Conflict
"A great story creates tension... without it there's no driving force, no passion, no involvement... our stories become richer and far more interesting when they go up against the settled order of things". Conflict creates engagement. Take Nike as an example, as Spacey did, their business is built around our desire to be better, stronger and faster and the tension in the effort to achieve this. They build great stories that dissipate this tension.
2. Be Authentic
"Stay true to your brand and true to your voice, and audiences will respond to that authenticity with enthusiasm and passion". Discover what's unique about a brand and exploit it authentically – Spacey referenced the 'Think Small' Volkswagen ads of the 60s as a great example of authentic storytelling focussed on what's unique (in the face of a trend for larger and larger American cars). Be honest basically, but present your honesty creatively.
3. Give People What They Want, When They Want it
We all know this, right? There's no shortage of choice for any given audience, so you'd better make content compelling, entertaining and useful, and make it available everywhere or it will be ignored. "Anyone with a camera and an idea can create an audience... get your minds to work... there is but one rule: hunt or be hunted".
Outside of those three, and one piece of Spacey advice that really resonated with the Vivid team (in a reference to the third golden age of television that we're experiencing right now) was "give the creatives more power." He knows his stuff! Meanwhile we've got a revolt happening in the office. Watch Kevin’s highlights followed by his brief Q&A below.
Keynote highlights and Q&A