How Citrix's dancing robots rocked the B2B world
Citrix and SHIFT Communications has won the Social Media category at The Drum Awards for B2B. Here is the award-winning case study.
Check the award-winning campaign here.
Over the past few years, the world changed — and the way we work changed with it. While most employees were ready to embrace the new environment of remote and hybrid work, some organizations were not. Many lacked the technology to power and protect this new working model. A KPMG report shined a light on this, finding that 67% of digital transformation leaders accelerated their strategy due to COVID-19.
Citrix had the answer to this expanding market need. The challenge was, while Citrix was already a well-known technology company, decision-makers were less aware of its Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solution, the one that empowers a remote or hybrid workplace. So Citrix, and its agency, SHIFT Communications, had to act fast on this timely opportunity by building awareness and education with target customers. And it had to do so delicately, promoting the newer DaaS solution while not polarizing companies already using its older solution VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure).
The solution was #DaaSJams. This one-of-a-kind social media campaign reincarnated Citrix’s technology products as singing, dancing robots that hit all the right notes. The campaign was unlike anything else in the B2B marketing world and, while still waiting on its Grammy, it earned rave reviews and off-the-charts performance at this critical moment for Citrix.
OBJECTIVES Our objectives were clear cut: • Build awareness for and educate the core buyer group about Citrix’s DaaS solution • Drive engagement with the Citrix DaaS solution content • Drive IT decision-makers and prospects to Citrix’s DaaS website resources • Exceed previous campaign KPIs: 1-3% organic engagement rate on social media; avg. CTR of 0.24-0.78% on campaigns; avg. video view rate of 15-48%; avg. time on page of users driven to the site: 2:22
STRATEGY Like all good strategies, ours began with insights. Citrix primary buyer research and our own analysis, third-party research and first- Like all good strategies, ours began with insights. Citrix primary buyer research and our own analysis, third-party research and first-hand experience provided key insights that would be woven into campaign execution, such as:
• We needed technical content. With B2B buyers’ preference for doing their own product research, we needed to include detailed product information, which Citrix data also showed buyers had an appetite for.
• We needed to hit on “security” and "performance.” An analyst report Citrix commissioned found these are the top criteria when choosing between vendors and are the #1 rationale for buyers.
• We needed to reach a specific set of professionals. Citrix data showed the typical buying group for DaaS involves 6-8 decision makers, each armed with 4-5 pieces of intel they must reconcile with the group.
• We needed to entertain. To break through the content jungle, we needed to go beyond traditional B2B marketing, which is too often conflated with dry, data-heavy, position value messaging.
• A satirical approach would win over our audience. While regularly managing Citrix social media efforts, we’d observed an ongoing trend of satirical copy and humor performing well for the brand.
This tactical intelligence would provide invaluable direction. However, it was our arrival on a singular insight that became our aha moment. Through a robust exploration of our target buyer’s vantage point, informed by both Citrix’s primary research and third-party intelligence, we came to one (horrifying) conclusion: buying B2B technology is a battle. “The IT Buying Battle” typically involves painfully dense, dry and technical content to inform a highly complex purchase.
This became the bedrock of our strategy and campaign concept, as we morphed the insight — quite literally.
Armed with our organizing idea, “The IT Buying Battle,” we set out on our strategy to drive awareness and educate on the two products’ technical value propositions in an entertaining way.
We decided we wouldn’t just let these products, Citrix DaaS and VDI, speak for themselves. We would have them rap, sing and dance too, in a social media video series that veered far from the norm of B2B marketing content.
Enter DJ DaaS and The Notorious VDI, the first-ever, musically inspired Citrix-branded characters. By reincarnating the two products as animated robot characters starring in a series of music videos featuring custom lyrics and music, we could incorporate all critical messages and campaign elements identified through our insights — technical product details, entertaining delivery, our audience’s beloved satirical tone — and engage our targets in a fun and effective way.
For four months, we would “drop” weekly videos of the ’bots battling it out and singing across four musical genres (to appeal to diverse tastes) in short, animated videos, sharing how they deliver in a specific category.
With campaign strategy nailed down, we imaged the hip-hop representations of these two products as well as supporting characters who would help tell our story; each with attributes to match their real-life features.
• DJ DaaS: A floating robot, unbound by wires, complete with a cloud graphic image on its chest • Notorious VDI: An old-school throwback presence blessed with physical attributes to reflect its on-premises technology • The Hyperscalers: A trio of characters with connectors that physically hook into DJ DaaS to represent third-party integrations with other technologies • S.P.A.: A strong, alert and defensive bodyguard character, demonstrating the security features of DaaS
We storyboarded four campaign phases — Rap Battle (the series’ launch), New Wave, Motown and Ballad. Each would become its own set of music videos addressing a primary decision point for buyers. We then got to live out our own pop star dreams by transforming dense technical content into fun and catchy lyrics highlighting key product messages and buyer concerns. We teamed up with a custom beatmaker in the lab, recorded our rhymes and dropped a series of classics. After mixing the tracks, our animator got to work bringing everything to life.
For promotion plans, we focused on developing thumb-stopping social media copy to grab users' attention and get them to watch the videos and learn more on Citrix’s site as well as paid promotion to increase reach to a targeted pool of professionals. Finally, we hit play and the rap battle and subsequent music videos raged on, driving traffic to two key landing pages and four blogs. LinkedIn and Twitter Polls on who won each rap battle were used to help boost organic engagement, while paid promotion of the campaign, targeting both primary and secondary buyers, extended
RESULTS The campaign — a creative risk for agency and brand — paid off, reaching Citrix’s audience the exact way our insights proved necessary, exceeding expectations with its off-the-charts performance. Over four months, we:
Built awareness for and educated the core buyer group about Citrix’s DaaS solution, with:
• 6.9 million pageviews directly from the campaign • 44 million video views across four months
Drove 1.1M engagements with the Citrix DaaS solution content, as well as:
• An 85% average campaign video view rate and 19.7% average click-through rate across all social media platforms (both more than double the industry standard and Citrix YTD average across all campaigns) • Organic engagement rates reaching up to 12% across social media platforms, surpassing the 1-3% industry benchmark and Citrix’s average • A fanatical response from users, including: “DaaS features explained clearly in a fun and creative mode"
Drove IT decision-makers to Citrix’s core DaaS website resources and pages, with:
• 11 million clicks to the website with an average of 6 minutes and 9 seconds spent on landing pages, eclipsing Citrix's YTD average of 2:22.