Excelling at having fun in running a business

Excelling at having fun in running a business

The success story of documentary series Business Aces

How to become top of mind in the Dutch business world? This question spurs the VodafoneZiggo marketers to come up with a unique idea: creating their own documentary series about and for entrepreneurs. Simple and effective. Show the approach of excelling entrepreneurs and use that to inspire other entrepreneurs.

Spoiler alert – don’t expect any sluggish corporate films with ready-made presentation lines, but lively documentaries you will not pause once you’ve pushed play. The Ziggo documentary series ‘Business Aces’ inspires entrepreneurs, from the self-employed to multinationals, and even appears to be worth watching by a wide public. Charlotte Broekman, Chapter lead Content and Communication Business to Business, has been involved with her team from the very beginning.

Charlotte B 2

Charlotte: "Our first episode was produced in 2016. Subject: Corendon. Following the founder at close quarters resulted in a fascinating image of the company." The next episodes, each taking up 20 minutes, portrayed companies like Bunq, New York Pizza and Omoda in similar fashion. Filming the entrepreneurs ‘up close and personal’ while paying attention to the challenges they are facing at that particular time. "A few weeks ago the twelfth episode was released", Charlotte says proudly. "About the controversial slave-free chocolate brand Tony's Chocolonely. The documentary is brimming with ambition and saucy entrepreneurship, exactly what we wanted to show."

Business programmes
"Most consumers are aware that Ziggo is all about entertainment", says Charlotte. "But we also want to provide the best content to entrepreneurs. Preferably of our own creation. The series Business Aces is our flagship in this area. A pure example of storytelling, showing entrepreneurs other entrepreneurs at work. From the most impressive successes to the biggest lessons – everything comes up. Charlotte: "That variety is chosen to create captivating and credible stories. You will not achieve that by simply putting on a show. The funny thing is that many participants don’t want that either. Tony's Chocolonely set the condition that we would scrutinize them." Laughing: "Because sugar coating is not what they need us for."

Added value
The film series is effective, according to Charlotte. "As soon as an episode goes online, we see the number of people visiting the enterprise site increase. Resulting in tens of millions of views by now." To further increase the impact, all episodes are enriched by additional content. Like snippets: short videos about individual topics in the documentary, e.g. with advice about marketing and sales growth. The documentaries led to another new initiative, the Excel Service. "Containing videos about our products, like business internet. It tackles questions like ‘How this contributes to making your business more successful’" The service responds to the need of entrepreneurs for concrete advice about which products provide added value for their own business.

Charlotte adds: "Recently, we also published the Ace collection, to be downloaded for free on our website. Next to all the stories, you also find useful entrepreneurial tips. In this way we improve the connection between the documentaries and ourselves."

Show it
That link with Ziggo is also sought in the documentaries. Charlotte: "But very subtly." In a scene in the episode about Tony's Chocolonely you see the company communicating with its people in America and England through an online connection. 'Chief Chocolate Officer' Henk Jan Beltman wants to share at least a cup of coffee with everyone who joins the company. If need be online, using a livestream. Charlotte: "The fact that this livestream is one of our own products, is not something we drag in. After all, technology plays an important role nowadays in every company. We simply show the approach the entrepreneur in question takes."

Top of mind
The effectiveness of the Business Aces format is reflected by the results. Charlotte: "More than half the viewers click to access our website. That is huge." The series has already won a load of awards, at home and abroad. The Videographer Award, the Grand Prix Content Marketing, the Esprix and many more. "And we have succeeded in our initial mission – becoming top of mind in the Dutch business world – with flying colours. Its market share of more than 33% has earned Ziggo a podium place ánd a place in the spotlights. Which will only become bigger."

Another spoiler alert – the next Business Ace, to be broadcasted on 21 October, will be the cheeky water bottle brand Dopper.