In a world where information and knowledge is just a Google search away, how do you stay competitive or better yet relevant? Clearly, the media landscape is ever changing and disruption seems to be constant. Television viewership is down, but streaming is up. Both once staples of our industry are now out of date. Creativity is the new currency with ability to think outside the box as the only way to be relevant.
We caught up with Tru TV’s EVP of Marketing & Digital, Puja Zohra, at NAB Show New York, where she was talking on their panel on “Creativity: Shaping The Future of Business.” She opened up about Tru TV’s willingness to reach and engage their audience using social media during March Madness even if that involves being a little harsh. See, every year Tru TV launches an unconventional social media campaign around March Madness challenging their viewers to troll them. Yes, they let their viewers twitter troll Tru TV. “We created over 1,200 pieces of custom content,” says Zohra about this year’s campaign. She explains, “we have what is called a “war room,” so for two days you got 30 people stuck in a room… analysts, writers, designers, looking at what’s coming in [and] sending it back.” She adds, “it’s kind of fun. It’s the time of the year that we are able to show our voice… and have a lot of fun.”
Now for most traditional cable companies the thought of engaging in twitter beefs, battles and flat out trolling might not seem like a good idea, especially with the legal department. However, according to Zohra they try to sidestep clashes and not to have any of those issues. She clarifies, “What we try to do is match the tone of the person who is talking to us. So when we are creating a response, we will try to give it back to them as good as they are giving it to us, because they struck us first.” She adds, “We have a head of editorial and a writer, and they’re the ones who are doing all the stuff.” She explains it not easy though, “because of the speed at which this happens there is no approval process….[but] I think it also helps to have people at the company who have your back. My boss who’s the president of the network will stand by us.”
Zohra acknowledges that the benefits do outweigh the risk. She emphasizes, “I think that I really love and live for this [especially] when you get positive feedback from the internet [about the campaign].” She does express that she hopes it can keep going, but each year is different. She notes, “Every year we think is it going to happen this year? Will they come after us? [So], we are ready.” She goes on to say that traditional media’s biggest challenge, other that disruption from “technology companies you know Netflix or Hulu,” is the “status quo.” She affirms that “it’s hard to completely reinvent yourself,” but acknowledges the necessity for media companies to do so.