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Limelight Explains Why it's More than a Content Delivery Network

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[Note: This sponsored interview was recorded at Streaming Media East 2013.] 

Online video pros know Limelight Networks as one of the top CDNs (content delivery networks). But now it's time to think of Limelight as something more. At the recent Streaming Media East conference in New York City, Jason Thibeault, senior director of marketing strategy for Limelight, sat down for a red carpet interview to explain the platform his company has become.

"We’ve done a tremendous amount of work in the market to sort of reposition the way people think about Limelight," Thibeault explained. "We all know that CDNs are expanding into value-added services. They’re trying to add more value to customers, and at Limelight we realized as we were acquiring and building that we were creating something that was more akin to a platform for helping companies manage what they were doing out there in the digital world."

Limelight is still a CDN, but it's also much more than that. It's now a platform focused on engagement.

"We began to think about CDN as just one application that we were building on top of this platform," Thibeault continued. "We ended up with four or five applications, and what we’re trying to get people to understand is now that Limelight is less about just delivering content and it’s more about enabling organizations to really engage with their digital audiences through the experiences they build. So they’re delivering experiences to mobile, delivering to the web, delivering to TVs, and we’re helping with that."

To hear more about Limelight's new direction, as well as Thibeault's book Digital Presence for Dummies, watch the video below.

 

Eric: Hi. I’m Schumacher-Rasmussen, the editor of Streaming Media magazine, here at Streaming Media East, with Jason Thibeault from Limelight Networks. Hi, Jason. How you doing?

Jason: How you doing?

Eric: Good.

Jason: Great. Fantastic.

Eric: Limelight has been known for years as a CDN, but that’s changed recently, or at least it should be changing people’s minds, right?

Jason: Oh, absolutely. We’ve done a tremendous amount of work in the market to sort of reposition the way people think about Limelight. So we all know that CDN’s are expanding into value-added services. They’re trying to add more value to customers, and at Limelight we realized as we were acquiring a building that we were creating something that was more akin to a platform for helping companies manage what they were doing out there in the digital world. So they had websites and they had video, and delivery was only a portion of it. And so we began to think about CDN as just one application that we were building on top of this platform. And so we ended up with four or five applications, and what we’re trying to get people to understand is now that Limelight is less about just delivering content and it’s more about enabling organizations to really engage with their digital audiences through the experiences they build. So they’re delivering experiences to mobile, delivering to the web, delivering to TVs, and we’re helping with that. And then we’re helping them publish and create the content with that, and then through the combination of those we’re enabling them to get more intimate with their digital audiences.

Eric: Well, and one of the ways you’re doing that is with the new book that you’ve written, right? “Digital Presence for Dummies”?

Jason: Absolutely. That’s right here. That’s a copy of “Digital Presence for Dummies.” Yeah. We made this book really as an educational resource. It doesn’t talk about our products or services. It really talks about what a digital presence is and how to understand if your digital presence is failing in ways, and then how to build the processes and technologies internally to create a digital presence that’s what we call awesome. And there’s some great examples in the book of both awesomeness and not awesomeness.

Eric: Right. And you recently gave a presentation called “The 9 ‘C’s of Awesome Storytelling.” We don’t have time to go through all nine of the C’s necessarily, but what are the top two or three C’s of awesome storytelling?

Jason: Sure. Was a fun presentation, so let me see. So I think the number one C from a business perspective is probably conversion. Right? Storytelling, even though it engages the audience and it’s all about engagement and getting above the digital noise and not broadcasting your product message, it has to have meaningful impact to the business. And so really if you’re not converting from a story into something that you consider to be sort of that KPI or that performance metric, then it’s a failing story. The second one is all about what I call character. So stories have to have characters, and too often marketers get into the idea that if we just tell people about our products or tell people about our company, they’ll listen. And they really don’t want to. And so now we’re seeing these really brilliant brands like Coca-Cola and Audi and up and coming brands like Dollar Shave Club start to create characters around which the audience can circulate. So they see the character, they get excited about them and they connect with them on an emotional level, and that’s really the third really powerful C is emotion. And it’s funny. Obviously emotion doesn’t have a C in it.

Eric: Right.

Jason: So I called it cEmotion.

Eric: Right.

<laughter>

Jason: To make sure that it fit in. And that’s really the third most important C to remember is that marketers have to create characters and stories that really connect with the audience on an emotional level.

Eric: Now, you’re going to be presenting next month at the Streaming Forum in London, giving a keynote, and it’s called, “The Power of Storyshowing.” Tell us a little bit about, without giving it all away, tell us a little bit about how you see and define what you’re calling storyshowing.

Jason: Sure. So we all know what storytelling is, right?

Eric: Mm-hm.

Jason: I mean, we have books, we have magazines. But I think the world is changing, especially from the digital perspective, and video is awesome. So video allows us to do more than just tell a story. We get to show a story. So we came up with this term called storyshowing, and it’s really that combination of words and images and videos all wrapped up into one big story. And we’re starting to see more brands do that. So Go Daddy is very good at that. Again, I use Coca-Cola as an example, simply because The New York Times did a great write-up on them. They’ve completely rebranded their corporate side into every that’s about stories. So nothing about them, everything about their customers. And they’re using tons of video and tons of images and tons of text, and that’s really what story showing is, is they’re starting to not only tell people and let them engage with it through the traditional channels, but then they’re showing it through these vibrant, rich, engaging videos.

Eric: Now, storytelling is obviously universal, but are you seeing any differences regionally or internationally with the way stories are presented on video from country to country or region to region?

Jason: No. That’s an excellent question, and I think we are. We do use some video examples. There was a really funny, I think it was a French toilet paper ad, and what it was was this guy and his family, kept telling his family to stop using paper and he kept handing them iPads. I don’t know if you’ve seen.

Eric: Mm-hm.

Jason: It’s absolutely hilarious. And it really sort of branched across cultures. Here was a topic that nobody wants to talk about, but everybody does around the world.

Eric: Right.

Jason: So we’re starting to see not only little regional cultural differences in storyshowing and storytelling, but they’re starting to branch out past that. They’re starting to look at, “How do I tell a story that’s universal, because now I understand that my customers, sometimes, are universal as well?” The digital world knows no geographic boundaries. It knows no cultural oddities. It is really, “I found your product or your service, and I want to buy it.” And so your story has to resonate with me. Even if it’s not on a cultural level, then something above that. Something that sort of, you know, I guess wiping your butt is shared by all of humanity, so…

<laughter>

Jason: It’s a story that they can tell.

Eric: Right, right. And there’s the headline for the article.

Jason: <laughs> Absolutely.

Eric: Or maybe the presentation at Streaming Forum.

Jason: Oh, there you go. Now, that would be kind of funny.

Eric: I’ll look forward to seeing you do it and obviously, if you’re interested in hearing more about storyshowing and how to ramp up your marketing efforts with digital video storytelling, check out Jason Thibeault’s keynote at Streaming Forum in London in June.

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