Fortune has an excellent behind-the-scenes article on Conan O’Brien and how social media changed and kept his career alive in the days after he walked away from the Tonight Show. (link via @MikeAdamsNC)
It’s a inspiring story on several fronts, but here are some points that I walked away with.
- Conan & his team used social media to communicate directly with fans in a non-traditional way.
- Fans initiated the “I’m with Coco” campaign as a grassroots-type effort without any prodding from Conan & his Team
- They took immediate steps to position themselves both online and offline (the “Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour”) to take advantage of the growing fan reaction.
- Conan’s production company owns his new show and they are constantly looking for ways to take advantage of non-traditional points of distribution.
- In the end, he realized that what he had become was greater than what he always dreamed he wanted.
And all of the above is great, and there are lessons to be learned from his experience.
None of this would have been happened if he wasn’t open and honest through the whole situation. Beginning with his letter, he showed his true colors and we all identified with him. If he had been bitter & angry or manipulative in any way, I think very few of us would have bought it.
Strategy is important and I’m not discounting that. However, all the strategy in the world isn’t going to give you long term success if nobody wants what your selling, or (worse) they don’t like who you are.
What does this have to do with web design? Probably not a lot. Websites & Facebook & Twitter & [fill in the blank here] are all great things to have. Broadcast & print are both still relevant no matter what people would like for you to believe. All these things are really secondary to you and your business. Done well, they tangibly reflect what your business is about.
Not the other way around.