MC Hammer: Role of Social Media in Marketing

MC Hammer: Role of Social Media in Marketing


>>[introductory music]>>[pause] MC Hammer: Would you mind just for a second if everybody would just stand up and kind of shake it out a little bit? It’s been about thirty minutes. You might say hello to the person next to you, shake their hand, you know? [laughter]>>Hey, microwave before. Hammer, starts. There is a word of mouth on Twitter that you should write a ten tweet vis. [laughter] MC Hammer: All right. [laughter] Thanks for having us here this morning. I always consider it an equal exchange to interact with fervent minds. So with minds that are fertile ground — entrepreneurs, been an entrepreneur — I shouldn’t frame it like this, but I will — “before you were born.” [laughter] I’ve been an entrepreneur. My first job was when I was eight years old. And I started with the Oakland A’s when I was nine years old. I was around a very innovative owner in baseball who thought baseball was boring. He thought the game was so boring that even he had a rabbit pop out the ground and hand the umpire the baseballs instead of just the traditional “get it out of the bucket,” he thought that — he was so stubborn as an owner — that it would be good that a mule would be his mascot, and he brought the mule into the hotel during baseball league meetings. He took the game of baseball from traditional uniforms to colored uniforms. He innovated the designated hitter. He hired track stars for the playoffs in the World Series — go right over to Cal Berkeley and take a track star and pay him a hundred thousand dollars just so “In case we made the World Series and we need to steal second base, he didn’t even have to know how to play baseball, just steal second base.” [Laughter] So I’ve been around innovators and innovation all my life. I’m very — a serial entrepreneur, and I understand the mindset of an entrepreneur. And so, I’ll try to make this as valuable as I can from that standpoint, and also from the standpoint of social media — and, in particular, social media optimization vs. search engine optimization. Just real quick — over the surface and 30,000 foot view — earlier I put up “See Her Face”, which was like, ‘What is that?’ right? Because of social media, it is so much easier — the bar of entering — this is strictly for entrepreneurs and thinking of starting businesses. The old model of having to raise x amount of dollars of angel capital. And then, you know, get ready for your VC Round. Before you even get there today, you can use all of these social media tools to see if you really have something, right? And insert yourself into the conversation. So why did I choose this? I have a song on a project that I’m working on, and it’s called “See Her Face.” When I finished the song, I said, “Woe, See Her Face, okay.” I made a big dance, party record that was optimized for an audience that may also love fashion. So rather than waiting until after the song has received a certain amount of gross impressions and other media around it, I decided to create the media myself and insert myself into the fashion world without spending a dollar. And why not shoot for the top since other people now pay for the content? In other words, for me to source a content that I needed for my launch into the fashion world, all I had to do was go to YouTube. It didn’t take long. I didn’t have to go out and shoot the video. I didn’t have to cut the deal with the models. I didn’t have to do any of that. At the same time, I’m making it aware to D&G, Versace — if we go down the page, you’ll see Prada — that I’m going to make available not only the events, the songs, and the social media campaign for these brands, but I’m going to create a destination that they can go to around an actual brand: See Her Face. Because obviously, although it’s superficial, models start with the outer appearance and then — well, I guess in models, we don’t ever get into necessarily the depth. [Laughter] But, that’s not to say it’s not any substance there, [laughter], but we have to be real, right? So initially, we start with the outer appearance. And then, they clothe them in all these great designs. Later on — for a lot of you who are fashion oriented — take a look at what’s on there. And this is all 2010 stuff, so you’ll see the spring and summer collections, but the point that I’m making is, as an entrepreneur — and this being Entrepreneur Week — and focusing on the tools of social media, it took me at — I think I used — yeah, I used blogspot. I shouldn’t even say, “I think I used blogspot.” I used blogspot for a very particular reason. I found out that, within the Google search engine, when you use blogspot, it’s optimized. So in the search return, it comes to the top. So it wasn’t an accident. And so — Audience member: Why do you think I’m on buzz? MC Hammer: Is that why you’re –? [laughter] It’s very important. It’s very important. And so, if you look — and, by the way, the Twitter optimization works the same way. So if you look on Twitter — for those of you on it right now — and if you Twitter Blast24, you’ll see a lot of MC Hammer come up around Blast24, but what is that? Well, what I’m doing is, I’m doing two things. I’ve already began to seed the content. The content was sourced, again, from places like YouTube and other places with video. Ultimately, I want to build a destination for citizen journalism. We were talking about “social good” earlier. Now, this is another startup I’m doing, but I’m not doing it with the traditional model. These tools have lowered the bar of entry. And the bar of entry now is here. It’s really in how active you are. Earlier, I heard the dean say that — it reminded me a lot of a music conference I was at a couple weeks ago at the Grammies. It said, you know, social media and all these new tools are not the end-all. They’re not going to supplement — and, as a generalized corporate statement, it’s very true, but on many levels, I would challenge you on that, because a lot of things are going to be replaced because of the realtime access of these platforms. And we don’t even have time to go and pick up, per se, a newspaper when I can just whip out my iPhone or my Android platform and go boom, boom, and it’s right there. So, who’s going to provide that information to me — recommendation is going to go further beyond the traditional, “here’s the paper, and here’s the headlines.” I want to know what you’re reading, which is why trending topics are so popular, follow lists, and so forth. So, what I’m encouraging all you entrepreneurs in the room – – and I’m like Lloyd earlier — when only half the room raise their hand on entrepreneurship, I’m always taken aback, because to have the opportunity in this model. This is the greatest opportunity ever to be an entrepreneur — this time, right now. The down economy actually works in your favor. Whenever a company like Intel. I was at the Intel CEO 600. I did the keynote for them two years ago. But this year, I was there. One of the things that they do as a company during a down market is, they double up on all of their investments and all of their bets. They double down in a down market. So in a down market, there’s a great opportunity. One of the things that I love doing. I said this earlier — I’m going to extend the conversation. I like working with great companies, and I like working with distressed companies. The distressed companies who need social media to tell their story, to regain ground, and to communicate their message. There’s a great opportunity in that, because as you can see from the FCC across the board, there’s always a problem. There’s always lawsuits. There’s always challenges. And the other side of the story needs to be told. So there’s three sides, right? Your side, their side, and the truth. [laughter] Well, if you are actually telling the story yourself, the transparency — is what you spoke of earlier. The transparency — it distinguishes the initial effect of breaking news. So, I’ll take David Letterman instead of Tiger Woods, because I know Tiger better. [laughter] It’s not that complicated. Tiger is a friend. [laughter] Tiger is a friend. Tiger is a friend, and David is somebody I might turn up on once every five or six or seven or eight years. So, with that being said, David Letterman used the principles of social media to deal with his story. How many remember? He went out front and broke the story the night before to the extent that his audience didn’t even think it was serious. They laughed. They actually laughed. He said, “You know I’ve been couple things that [laughter] you know, kind of, you know, feel the women around here. They say they’re going to extort me because they know what I’ve been doing. And I just want to say that –” Whatever, however he framed it, he told the story. Well, what did he do? Well, CNN can no longer now say, “breaking news.” David told the story last night. So, what he did was get ahead of the story using the principles of social media. That’s a very social-media-oriented principle. So, if you utilize these tools and you entrepreneurs think about creating businesses around companies who need to tell stories — who need a third voice to tell the story outside of themselves — that is a huge market. It is the equivalent of being — without being, right? It’s the equivalent of being a lawyer. Lawyers — you don’t necessarily get a lawyer because he’s some expert. They admit it themselves. You know what they say? “I’m practicing law.” [half-chuckle] They’re practicing. [laughter] Some of this is going to — You’re going to win some; you’re going to lose some. So, but — [laughter] it happens every day. But if you can start to shape the story from your perspective, from the corporate perspective, tell the story. He mentioned Comcast earlier. Comcast, when they humanized themselves with social media, it’s not that all of a sudden they became a perfect company, but what it did do was give you a voice, a ear to hear your problem. Nothing worse than “I’m trying to get this Mayweather fight” and I can’t get it and all I’m getting is this voice thing over and over. That — that really upsets me. But if I can tweet out and say, “Listen, man, now you guys knew this fight was coming four months ago.” [laughter] “What do you mean you can’t handle all the calls?” But isn’t that how the company makes the money? Can you explain to me why my block cannot get through? [imitating customer service guy] “Well, we didn’t –” Okay, you didn’t plan on it, but what’s the resolution? I’m in a conflict resolution. How can you solve it? His shirt says, “Smart is the new gangster.” I’m with that. [laughter] That’s what his shirt says. “Smart is the new gangster.” Well, if smart is the new gangster, I need a gangster at Comcast right now [clapping] to tell me how we’re going to solve this problem. Social media is not to be taken lightly. Don’t let it be taken lightly. Don’t be guilty of this great opportunity as entrepreneurs right now. The gold strike earlier. The 1800’s is back again, and you can either get left behind by missing the mark. You think Pepsi shipped at $20 million over to social media just for the fun of it? Is that a nice number — twenty million? Did that get anybody’s attention, or did you continue with the current project you were working on? See, as an entrepreneur, being able to shift — to adapt — to the marketplace is very important no matter how much you loved your little idea. Sometimes you got to push that ideal aside and say, “It looks like here is the sweet spot.” So, me? I know that the fashion companies are struggling because why? The economy is down; you’re not spending as much money. Good. Hammertime. [laughter and clapping] Very good. Very good. That’s when I hear, in the third person, “Hammertime.” [laughter] I do, because I am used to engaging people and creating solutions and marketing and promotion and business. It’s the foundation of the music industry. We go from grassroots to mainstream. That’s what we do. We have an idea, a song. We conceive a song. At the time it’s just a song. At a certain point — as a writer myself — I start to think the video by the second verse I’m writing. So I’m seeing the video in Madison Avenue that would be the commercial. So I see the commercial — the trailer. Now, I’m starting to see, “Well, what are they going to wear doing?” All these things I could see initially. So, apply that to social media — which my research for what I call “The Holy Grail of the Internet” at the time, in 1995-96, that led me over — I said this before — to Apple, and I met a 14-year-old kid who was writing a code for Quicktime who said he was going to solve my problem. Back in — about ’96 that was. It was because I had a huge problem. There were two outlets for my art, and I didn’t like that. Two outlets. That meant that 10 people could sit in a room and decide if my art is worthy for you to even view it. That is a barbaric thought. [laughter and clapping] It was barbaric back then — Audience member: It certainly is. MC Hammer: — and it was even — and is even — more barbaric today. You don’t even think it. The first thing you want to do is post your video in the bathroom on YouTube to see if you can get a million views. We got people doing all kind of things. They jump off the building with no parachute and land on their back for views, right? [laughter] They’re trying to get the most views. Well, here we have taken time to craft the product, market, mix, get it on the radio. And then, you go, and you present it to this one guy, and his wife might have told him ‘no’ last night, and [laughter] you know, you haven’t been able, you know, they want four kids, and he only been able to make one. I don’t know. He’s mad today. And I come in with my happy video and thinking about some dance. [imitating the evaluator] “I don’t like it. You should have put this in.” Ho — hold it. Who made you judge and jury? Are you telling me that, if you don’t like it, I can’t show it to the world? Well, we got to fix this. So, that is one of the reasons why I started searching for companies that would become — later on — YouTube. You know, it’s all YouTube when I was there. When they had about four computers, but they were about the fourth or fifth company that I had went to over the years since ’96 or ’97 trying to find who would solve the three big problems. What were those three big challenges? One, compression technology. Two, broadband pipes. And last but not least — and the most costly — it was the last-mile solution. Who would pay to get the fiber from the curb to the household? Well, in searching that information and trying to find that out, it led me to places like YouTube down the road. So, because I was thinking of what I would be able to do and how I would monetize my content once I had control of it and had distribution, and able to market, I was able to make some good strategic partnerships, networking and friends in the valley as a result of that going forward. So what I’m saying in a nutshell to all you entrepreneurs, because I curtailed this for Entrepreneur Week — I’m saying that, Whatever it is that you’re working on right now, use the tools of social media to keep your costs down, to do testing, to grab the analytics behind it and see what the people are saying. Don’t be afraid to curtail your ideal. I called it a “little ideal.” Okay, I’m sorry. It’s a big ideal. But whatever it is, little or big, if you’re passionate about it, don’t be afraid to utilize these tools to move it forward. Outside of this project, I have another project called ” Hidden Knowledge” — that knowledge is hidden, it’s hidden to them that are lost — which I deal with, again, social issues. I said earlier, but “social good” is also a business. And there are a lot of businesses that participate in social good. And finally again, I said the Blast24 — another startup that I’m working on — I’m utilizing the tools of social media to optimize. With that, I’ll end, and we can go back to Step One for questions. And here’s something very important that I’ll say to you in ending. I meet a lot of people, very — you would consider very — important people. I have an opportunity to exchange ideas with very important people who are very creative, whether it be the founders of Google, Twitter, YouTube, Nancy Pelosi last week. People who — Audience member: Tiger Woods? MC Hammer: Tiger Woods. [laughter] I’m never swayed. Again, I’ve been around — as I’ll just say this as we say ” Tiger Woods.” I’ve been around fame, fortune, people of means, since 1971. So just believe me when I tell you that I, as an individual — I’m still as proud of Tiger and what he’s able to do in his profession as I was yesterday. If the cover is pulled off of every man — we’ll leave the women out of it. If the cover is pulled out off of every man and every man’s personal life is exposed, what would you think of him? What would you think of your own life, if all of your quote unquote “personal things” aren’t covered? So just saying that, with Tiger Woods, I wish Tiger Woods the best on his road to recovery and that he continues to be a great athlete. And I’ll end it right there.>>[Applause]

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