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10 Essential TED Talks to Elevate Your Corporate Communications Game

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.” For marketing and communications professionals, this can be especially challenging when the goal is to convey a particular message or tell a story about a brand or company to attract attention or move product.

A successful campaign involves defining goals, thinking “outside the box” and inciting a specific action. Each of those steps can be tricky, and TED Talks are a great resource for expert advice from a variety of disciplines that help you to step back and look at your own goals and objectives in a new way.

Here are 10 essential TED Talks with valuable lessons for comms professionals:

1. How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Speaker: Simon Sinek

Description: Using Apple as an example, Simon Sinek, author of the bestselling book Start with Why, delves into how successful leaders and companies flip the typical marketing script by emphasizing what they believe in rather than what they do to garner brand loyalty.

2. 404, The Story of a Page Not Found

Speaker: Renny Gleeson

Description: “Well-designed moments build brands,” argues marketing strategist Renny Gleeson, who looks at how one tech start-up’s innovative approach to the annoying 404 Error webpage demonstrates how a little ingenuity can make a big impact.

3. What Makes Something Go Viral?

Speaker: Dao Nguyen

Description: BuzzFeed’s publisher Dao Nguyen distills the popular content site’s successful formula for videos going viral, which focuses less on the content being promoted and more on what the audience is thinking.

4. How Five Simple Words Can Get You What You Want

Speaker: Janine Driver

Description: Using five words, including the all-important “because,” to prompt people to think differently about decisions they believe they’ve already made, Janine Driver, former ATF agent and CEO of BlueStreak Training, demonstrates the importance of language and explains how to effectively move the needle in communication.

5. What Brands Can Learn from Online Dating

Speaker: Sarah Willersdorf

Description: To achieve an emotional response from target audiences and earn brand loyalty, the rules of online dating—creating simple, shareable and sexy messages—should be applied to marketing, suggests Sarah Willersdorf, managing director and partner of Boston Consulting Group’s New York Office.

6. The Creative Power of Your Intuition

Speaker: Bozoma Saint John

Description: The Chief Marketing Officer of Netflix, Bozoma Saint John argues that moving away from data to rely instead on the power of intuition helps professionals generate better creative ideas.

7. Declaring War on Bland: Copywriting as French Literature

Speaker: Jean Tang

Description: “Every business makes its first impression with words,” Jean Tang, the owner of copywriting company MarketSmiths, says in this talk filled with actionable tips for spicing up copy to attract more readers and keep them engaged in your project or business.

8. Where Good Ideas Come From

Speaker: Steven Johnson

Description: Steven Johnson, bestselling author and host of the podcast American Innovations explains the reasons behind organic growth, how connections are formed and the importance of involving the community around you to spark big ideas.

9. How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

Speaker: Seth Godin

Description: Using his iconic story of a purple cow, entrepreneur and marketing guru Seth Godin argues the importance of answering the question “is it remarkable” in marketing campaigns to target innovators and early adopters who will spread your message.

10. The Power of Vulnerability

Speaker: Brené Brown

Description: This last selection may not seem like an obvious talk for comms professionals, but author and researcher Brené Brown, PhD, discusses ways to build delight, trust and loyalty by projecting a message that is authentic and real that can be applied to both personal and professional relationships.

Mary Lorenz

Mary Lorenz is Editorial Director at Cision and writes about best practices and thought leadership for marketing, communications and public relations professionals. She has a background in marketing, public relations and journalism and over 15 years of experience in copywriting and content strategy across a variety of platforms, industries and audiences.