Exploring Haute’s Rules to Engagement

 | Liz Lathan

A deep dive into Rules #1 and #2

What’s your challenge?

Engagement. Rules.

In our last post, we covered our Five Rules to Engagement, so we thought we’d break down each rule and bring it to life with real stories. We’re kicking off this series with Rules 1&2.

Rule #1: Forget Formulas and Rule #2: Use entertainment as a keystone to education, or in Haute parlance, “edutainment.”

Capturing attention is hard work. More than ever our attention is being pulled in a million different directions by overloads of marketing and messaging. It’s not only difficult to grab your audience’s attention, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to keep their attention.

Creating genuine “human” hooks that unite the audience with every sliver of messaging and delivering it in a way that is convenient and unique, is what sparks those long-lasting and impactful connections. Previously, you read about our sales training program that was an epic escape room (The Heist), but what we didn’t tell you was that the program was brought to a screeching halt after only its first implementation when national lockdown orders were announced in March 2020.

This was the first moment where we channeled our inner Ross Geller and yelled “PIVOT!”

Case in point

It’s LIVE! (no, really!) for Dell’s internal sales teams, channel partners, and customers

The product launch roadmap for 2020 included a new business laptop, a new desktop, and a new workstation, which were planned to roll out globally (and in-person) across 22 countries in March, June, and August.

When stay-at-home orders rippled throughout the world, we took a step back, re-evaluated our objectives, and made a plan. The team at Dell agreed to combine their launches into a single week and we took the plans that were already in place for thematically launching our three products and put them together into a TV show-style LIVE broadcast, that we ran three times for internal teams to hit reasonable time zone, twice for channel partners with slightly altered content, and three times for customers to hit their local time zones.

The energy of a live show was important – it was early in the pandemic and we wanted to drive a true feeling of connection. We took the content and themes from our “The Heist” escape room and turned it into a crime drama-like TV show. We took our plans around launching the new workstation with a musician and turned it into a Music Television-style interview and concert. And we hadn’t yet crafted our theme for the desktop launch, so we were able to turn that into a sports show, with our sportscaster sharing all the key stats around our MVP.

While that first show was primarily driven from people’s homes, the production level has evolved and we have now produced 35 live shows for customers and partners and 7 shows (each airing 6 times each for a total of 45) for sales teams and employees.

But we didn’t just throw some slides up and talk at people. We ripped up that formula and had some fun. Since inception, we have blown up cars, met a sasquatch, cooked up some fun, crushed vehicles with bulldozers, and so much more. People tune in just to see the crazy entertainment and how our creative team will tie that into the message each time.

The shows are now expanding into more areas of Dell’s business to reach vertical markets and additional product coverage, including retail!

In-person events and live streams are great, but what if you want to get even more creative with how you engage? Forget formulas and put entertainment first to drive real education and content retention… that’s what we did with our next story.

We love it when a plan comes together with no bumps or challenges… but sometimes challenges help us get even more creative. Here’s a story of how a nearly-ready-to-launch program required a 180-degree pivot and still hit the mark.

Case in point

Choose Your Own Adventure for Dell’s Chromebook/Latitude Sales Enablement Program

Dell came to us in late 2019 seeking a fresh take for a team building, sales enablement program to educate while creating excitement for the release of their new Latitude and Chromebook series laptop collaboration. Together, we created an experience we called the “Chrome Crate,” a series of custom kits made to be sent to sales teams in their offices, hyped well in advance to build anticipation and seed friendly competition among the teams to see which version they would receive.

One kit included an array of elements designed in a “Survivor” style for the sales teams to work together in a race against colleagues that, once completed, would reveal clues for the next challenge.

Another version was magic-themed, where upon opening the Chrome Crate, clues were embedded in a hologram message.

The Jurassic Park and Outer Space kits had their own video games. Each crate was a full-blown enablement training kit, disguised as “edutainment.”

Lockdown, The Pivot, and “Choose Your Adventure”

As the world locked down, Dell’s “Chrome Crate” was in limbo – sales teams weren’t in the office anymore. But embraced the challenge together and in a truly collaborative effort, “Choose Your Own Adventure” was devised with the same intended goals but from the safety of each sales makers home/remote office.

How would we serve up an epic adventure to house-bound sales teams, that would buoy morale, entertain, educate and provide something meaningful?  

Wherein we produced the following:

  • A full-scale, web-based journey to be played alone or virtually with the team.
  • Two major plots with limitless ways to engage as told by voice actors narrating storylines as choices were selected.
  • A five-question quiz and for each correct answer, energy points were earned, allowing the player to progress. We provided a truly clever way to embed entertainment into product education that was as far from the standard PowerPoint webinar fare one could possibly get.
  • As for Haute’s incredibly talented creative team, they were given license to craft the stories that allowed their imaginations to go the distance and not be constrained to products in a way that might have limited the experience for users.

Did we connect?

Choose Your Own Adventure proved to be much more impactful than even we had envisioned. This program was an enjoyable and flexible activity for the sales teams, especially during a time where they were really trying to keep their teams connected and find ways for them to bond, while learning at the same time. Created with true entertainment in mind, you could play as long as you wanted. Players could go back and start again and never get the same results (unless they chose identical to the time before). The point is, each turn, each decision had the player returning to try and earn energy points, which was another opportunity to ingrain the product information into their brains.

Following Haute’s Rules to Engagement is our unique code for connectivity. These rules are akin to a pilot checklist before take off and landing. Our client-partners have seen the results and trust us to deliver an extraordinary adventure time and time again – regardless of the circumstances beyond control.

Coming up in our next piece:

Case in Point:

Our custom door opener program for Hot Schedules. Where we look at how we made each mile of the journey meaningful (Rule #3). Capture the attention of difficult-to-reach prospects—and keep them interested with universal “human” hooks that unite.

And our Virtual Tech Rally, where the global pandemic grounded us, but our humanity led the way to connect us. It’s not about wowing them from the start—it’s about continuing to delight with every step, and through this program, we met our audience where they were (Rule #4) and kept the human connection at the forefront.

What’s next at Haute?

You can experience what it feels like to put all five Rules to Engagement together into one event at Flashpoint. Flashpoint is your opportunity to join 80 industry pros to partake in educational peer-sharing sessions (a.k.a. Spontaneous Think Tanks) that will spark your mind, activities that will spark your spirit, and make connections to spark your business. Oh, and did we mention it’s in the Bahamas, January 18-21, 2022? We curate our participant list for optimal conversation and problem solving, so request your invitation today at www.flashpointsummit.com

Let’s Work Together

Spark your mind at Flashpoint

Flashpoint is your chance to engage with thought leaders, change-makers, marketing mavericks, and rebels against the status quo. We curate the participants to ensure a balanced ratio of suppliers and brands. January 18-21, 2022, Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas. Request your invitation today!

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