The sun was shining. Bands were playing. The park that had replaced Howard Street in San Francisco’s SOMA district overnight bustled with people trying to make it to the Marc Benioff – Richard Branson fireside chat.
Dreamforce was in full swing.
Then at 2:45, the first notes of “In the Navy” the 1970s hit from Village People boomed over the loudspeakers. Within moments of the opening beats, over 100 people were dancing in sync as thousands more watched and teams of people handed out fliers advertising a ticket to a free Village People concert with attendance to the Data.com keynote. (The headline read: Access 30 million business contacts and 6 village people with Data.com.)
It was the first flash mob ever at Dreamforce, taking everyone by surprise. But it came with some serious challenges for our Data.com marketing team.
First and foremost? The event committee's sole request regarding how we organized the flash mob: “don't make the call for participants too public.” Since our original thinking had been to leverage our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn communities, we had to find another way. One that could help us organize a public event in a secure and controlled way.
We turned to Chatter.
Our first step was creating an internal Chatter group. It allowed us to invite employees we knew might be interested, and for them in turn to invite others to join us. When the number of people joining the group passed 100 in about 24 hours, we knew we had something special. (That number continued climbing to 265 members.)
Second, the team focused the group’s power by teaching them what was needed. For this, Jessica Chan (our events manager who conceived of the flash mob) and her co-choreographer Gino Ramos created a dance routine that worked for a variety of dance levels. Then they published a training video to the Chatter group that could be used for employees in remote offices.
Getting customers involved - without giving the Dreamforce team reason to worry - was the next step. A private group in the Dreamforce Chatter app (available only to all full Dreamforce conference attendees) was formed and provocatively titled: "Shhh…Data.com super secret dance project.” 53 people requested to join this new group almost immediately.
The Friday before Dreamforce, the Data.com marketing team recorded their practice session and shared it with the internal Chatter group, to get people excited. A few videos later (Strategic Sourcing, Data.com San Mateo team), it was more than clear there we had passionate employees ready to go.
With everything in place, it all came down to the moment of truth. Would everything come together?
Rather than explain what happened next, I'll let you see for yourself.
With this video edited and posted overnight, it was more than just a lot of fun. The following day, the Data.com Keynote was filled with people, and even Marc Benioff himself had tweeted the video out to his followers.
Apparently it’s true what they say: With Chatter you can do impossible things as a team.