Dell: I.T. Squad
Business leaders don’t trust their I.T. providers—but opt to reference Reddit threads when shopping for the next host. Dell crafted an animated comedy series exclusively for Reddit to earn their trust back.
Watch the recap
Meet the Team
Chief Creative & Content Officer
Associate Creative Director
Group Account Director
Head of Business Operations
Ass. Media Director
Head Client Lead
Senior Associate Paid Social
Exec Strategy Director
Global Brand and North America Strategy Director
Global Account Director
Describe the brief or inspiration behind your project/campaign. What was your team tasked with?
How do we earn the trust of I.T. decision makers?
Dell Technologies provides some of the most advanced I.T. products for businesses, but business decision-makers don’t trust I.T. providers. There is an inherent disconnect in perceived trust across business decision-makers and their enterprise providers (49% do not trust enterprises and think they are not trying to understand their challenges).
Closing the trust gap is essential in restoring the fundamental partnership, and I.T. services stand the most to gain in building trust (15% spend more on I.T. services when businesses trust the enterprises they work with).
Traditional advertising was not working. We needed to better understand where this ‘hard to reach’ audience lives, what were their trusted I.T. sources, what motivated them and what were their most pressing I.T. issues.
Data revealed that this young business decision-making audience outrank other audiences in community forum engagement, especially on Reddit and Quora, where they trust in peer-to-peer discussions. These forums rank top of mind through most of the B2B buying journey.
Dell saw an opportunity to connect with this audience in a more organic way by joining the conversation on Reddit (72% of users trust brand recommendations on Reddit).
There is an inherent disconnect in perceived trust across business decision-makers and their enterprise providers (49% do not trust enterprises and think they are not trying to understand their challenges).EssenceMediacom Team
Walk us through your process. What steps did you take to bring your idea to life?
First, we conceived a number of ideas, pushing the boundaries of what has traditionally been done on the Reddit platform. Then, we partnered with Reddit to vet our favorite idea, I.T. Squad, to see what was possible and how best to bring the idea to life. They gave us the green light on bringing the Reddit avatars to life in an animated series based on real Reddit threads. We then scripted three 90 second episodes based on the hottest topics trending on the platform. We partnered with Charlex to animate the episodes and worked closely with Reddit to ensure the integrity and authenticity of the IP. The comedy series was designed to join the conversation, organically, with the I.T. Squad always saving the day with the best Dell solution. Fans could upvote, comment and continue the conversation. Then, the I.T. Squad led the conversation with Reddit talks and AMA (Ask Me Anything) series, where they invited influencers, expert on each topic, to discuss and share thought leadership. Bryan and Ryan became stars in the community and a go-to resource for I.T. business decision-makers.
Why it was important for you to solve this challenge. Why now?
Traditional advertising was not working. We needed to better understand where this 'hard to reach' audience lives, what were their trusted I.T. sources, what motivated them and what were their most pressing I.T. issues.
Describe your process for creating award winning B2B work. How is creativity at the center of how you work?
At EssenceMediacom our Creative Futures team who ideated and created I.T. Squad is a departure from your traditional "creative team" that is typically comprised of an art director and writer. Our EM Creative Futures team is a multidisciplinary team comprised of creative, social, partnerships and media talent. Together we build off of media insights, social platform behaviors, and creative storytelling to uncover and develop the I.T. Squad, a comedy series based on real Reddit treads.
How did the final product meet or exceed your expectations? What results did you see?
The I.T. Squad was released exclusively on Reddit, where it quickly gathered millions of fans and helped turn the Dell I.T. Squad into a hit series. The campaign received 72 million impressions, +1000% increase in followers and 200x increase in brand credibility. All three of the I.T. Squad episodes exceeded Reddit benchmarks for “Upvotes” by 48% or more. Quantitative evidence of the trust Dell developed with this audience.
A lot of teams have challenges keeping a campaign idea simple, especially if multiple contributors were involved. How did you ensure that your project remained true to the idea and on brand all the way from brief to launch?
At Essence Mediacom, we fundamentally believe that in order to create relevant content for the “new communication economy” you have to change the way you work to change what you make. Instead of handing off a project from one discipline to another, or from creative to media, our multidisciplinary Creative Futures team is organized around one project, from beginning to end. And that includes the client. So, there is no chance of deviating away from the strategy, the campaign goal and purpose.
Did you collaborate with another business on this project? How did you work effectively together towards a shared creative vision?
In order to create effective campaigns today, many times, multiple partners are needed. In this case we partnered with Reddit to help us push the boundaries of the platform and understand how best to leverage its tools. We partnered with Charlex to help us elevate the comedic qualities of the script within the challenges of 2D avatars.
What does being recognized by the Webby Awards mean for you and your collaborators?
The Webby Awards celebrates the best of modern day campaigns. It is the pinnacle of creative and effective recognition.
You can break the rules. Always push to try what has never been done before.EssenceMediacom Team