When I asked my Berlin class to do their first breakout session, each person turned to their worksheet and started filling out the demographic bubbles individually and quietly. It turned out to be a cultural thing here – put your head down and get started on your work. It was very different from teaching the course in America or England where people start talking the moment you give them a chance. Over the next two days the class would come back to this topic of cultural awareness and sensitivity in a variety of ways. And they quickly got into the class method of group brainstorming and sharing ideas.
Using humor and being culturally sensitive
When I teach curation, I like to have the students use a little humor to spice up their top ten lists. Rather than say “Top 10 reasons to use environmentally friendly lighting”, you could write “Top 10 Sweaty Santas who wished they used low-heat lighting”. You’ll know you’re on the right track by running it by a friend. If you get a blank stare after telling him your title, you’ll need to rework it. If you get a quick laugh, then you’re onto something!
However, it is important to be aware of your cultural and business context when writing a top ten list. You need to know your audience, what would be considered tasteful and appropriate humor, and what would be considered over the top. Since many of the students in my GA Berlin class are not native German, and are often writing in English as a second (or third) language for an English-as-a-second-language audience, knowing your audience can be quite tricky. My advise is, if you’re unsure, to seek the help of a local before you unintentionally ruffle any feathers.
The big idea behind content marketing
Digital Marketing for Everyone is a class about content marketing. It looks at all the ways to create content and share it digitally, over the internet. Ultimately though, all of these tools are just the communication channels that reach the intended audience. Each business has to create the content to fill the channel. If this content is compelling and interesting enough, the business’ target demographic will find it and begin to learn about the business through consuming the content (i.e.: reading text, watching movies, viewing pictures and listening to podcasts). If the content is good, the potential consumer will begin to trust the content creator as an expert and want to hire them or buy their product. The goal of the class is to introduce students to all the different tools of digital marketing and prepare them to dig deeper into the tools that interest them.
The Berlin businesses and their next big idea
It looks like many of these businesses wanted to focus on content creation for their websites. This creates a great foundation for your customers to learn about your product or service on which you can build an email and social network strategy. Thank you all for your active participation and excellent class feedback. Good luck with your businesses!
- Toy manufacturer of the Stachifier (curation)
- Webshop for products based on your Facebook likes (prize, curation)
- Importing furniture from the Philippines to Germany (search)
- Facebook marketing for a financial business (email)
- Workshops/seminars for business decision making (website content)
- Travel company bringing people to Berlin (search, website content)
- Grinberg Method consultant – (website content, partnerships, referrals)