5 TED Talks Every Marketer Should Watch

Erin Hogg 0 Comments

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There’s no doubt that there is already an impressive body of work out there on 2016 trends that content marketers should be paying attention to – especially to understand what their peers, and competitors, are doing.

Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi and MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer Ann Handley recently released a robust benchmark report on trends B2C marketers should keep an eye on in 2016. Their data indicate that 77 percent of marketers will produce more content this year, with half of marketers predicting an increased budget for content marketing specifically.

While budgets, strategies, and sales goals are extremely important to start the year off on the right foot, we also need to be inspired. We need to think outside the box and seek inspiration to not only beat the competition, but to elevate how we complete our jobs in terms of creativity; even if the world is our oyster, it’s so easy to get sucked into the daily grind of cranking out campaigns to meet tight deadlines.

To help you feel inspired, the Fractl team scoured more than 2,000 TED Talks on business, science, and entertainment to find the five most inspiring talks for marketers. The best part? They’re all under six minutes long.

Inspiring Talk #1: The Technology of Storytelling

Joe Sabia, vice president/head of development at Conde Nast Entertainment, gave this really fun talk about the art of storytelling. He takes us back to a time when books dominated the way people consumed information and entertained themselves. Then, Lothar Meggendorfer came along and invented the pop-up book, changing the way we told stories.


Key Takeaways for Marketers:

As the way we use technology and the Internet evolve, brands and publications are finding ways to tell stories that make consumers deeply immerse themselves within the content – even if it’s on a tiny smartphone screen.

The ways to tell stories are endless (e.g., interactives, parallax scrolling, videos, GIFs, social media); our only limits are the technology available and how far we go with our imagination.

One fantastic example that comes to mind is this interactive app our creative strategists created for a client to show the effects of long-term alcohol abuse. Using a webcam, users can see what they would look like if they abused alcohol. What makes it work is how it presents years of substance abuse into only a few images, making the effects easily digestible – and drive home the point about its negative effects really well.

The stories don’t change, but everyone is finding new ways to tell them to resonate with their online audiences. It’s your job to find what works for yours.

Inspiring Talk #2: How to Make a Splash in Social Media

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, took the stage to share the story of Mister Splashy Pants.

Before you move on, hear me out.

Greenpeace was working on a petition to stop a Japanese whaling expedition, and it wanted to start tracking a whale in the ocean as part of the campaign. It put out a fun poll where the public could vote on the name of the whale it would track, and these names were a range of beautiful, cultured names plus Mister Splashy Pants. In the end, Mister Splashy Pants won and the results say a lot about Internet culture today.


Key Takeaways for Marketers:

Ohanian says it best: “The Internet provides a level playing field.”

You can put your messaging out there for the public to consume, but ultimately they will choose what they want to devour or ignore. The challenge is to find the balance between releasing your highly targeted message and being OK with losing some control like Greenpeace did, and sometimes that means taking yourself a little less seriously.

Whatever your message is, though, successful content relies in large part on planning and execution, particularly if you’re using social media to further your message. We created a handy social content calendar that examines which type of content does the best, month by month. One interesting finding: Video content in the education and entertainment verticals garner the most shares.

Inspiring Talk #3: 8 Secrets of Success

Professionals in any career struggle with success. Achieving it is hard, but to put it into a series of steps is even harder. It’s different for everyone, but analyst and marketer Richard St. John makes eight great points after interviewing 500 successful people over a seven-year period.


Key Takeaways for Marketers:

This talk is inspiring for a lot of reasons. I’ve seen many articles about the daily lives of the world’s most successful people: They swear by waking up at 4 a.m. to enjoy meditation and yoga before hitting the gym and getting themselves – and their kids – out the door before 7 a.m. However, this is not a reality for most people (although power to those who do).

More realistic goals are the eight secrets St. John offers – including working hard, pushing yourself, serving others, and having fun becoming a “work-a-frolic” – which are all things we can do at any level in our careers.

Inspiring Talk #4: The 4 Ways Sound Affects Us

Sound consultant Julian Treasure took the stage to share how sound affects our lives – specifically how the habit of suppressing sound has changed our relationship with it in a way that has become largely unconscious.


Key Takeaways for Marketers:

A brain lights up when it hears sound, so how can digital marketers learn to effectively use sound in a specific medium? Videos.

Partnering with BuzzStream, we surveyed 1,000 people to understand the emotional impact of sound, looking specifically at five viral videos and asking them to pick strong emotions they felt in reaction to the sound.

As Treasure explained, a big effect of sound is psychological. We discovered negative emotions were less commonly found in highly viral content, which emphasized similar insights from our original research on the emotions behind viral content.

Inspiring Talk #5: A Look Inside the Brain in Real Time

“Fantastic Voyage” – the 1966 film where a submarine and its crew is shrunken to microscopic size and injected into the bloodstream of an ailing scientist – is quickly becoming a reality: Neuroscientist and inventor Christopher deCharms explains how we can now look at a human brain in real time – in other words, we can actually see how someone feels.


Key Takeaways for Marketers:

We’re all human, made unique with our own experiences, feelings, emotions, and everything else that makes you you.

Falling into a rut of self-doubt, intimidation, and even fear in your career is totally normal – just think about the pressures you’re faced with on a daily basis. However, we sometimes forget that these feelings are all in our head – no one can make you feel the way you do; you allow yourself to feel that way.

As deCharms explained, “Control the brain, control the pain.” The key is to have the correct mindset and learn how to reach your full potential. Nick Santillo, president of Fractl, recommends this read if you’d like to explore this concept in more depth.

What do you think? Are there any TED talks we overlooked? Let us know in the comments below!

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Erin Hogg

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