5 Things You Can Learn from Pixar's Inside Out Marketing Strategy

Inside Out, 2015. ©Disney/Pixar.

Pixar's Inside Out hits theaters this Friday, June 19th. Based on what we've already seen, this animated feature is sure to light up the box office on opening weekend. But all of those teasers and trailers were just a small part of what got us excited about this movie. The real buzz began when Pixar deployed a marketing strategy that invited fans to do the marketing alongside them. While many strategies tend to broadcast and only distribute content, Pixar's strategy revolved around making genuine connections with people.

Here are 5 things you can learn from Pixar's Inside Out Marketing Strategy:

1. Invite Followers or Fans to Create Your Content

We've seen brands do this before, but very few times have we ever really seen them reward or follow through on their ask. For Inside Out, Pixar collaborated with artist networks like the Poster Posse, and featured fan art contest entries on social media channels like Tumblr, and Instagram. They also invited writers like Jon Negroni, blogging moms like Vera Sweeney, YouTube sensations like The Eh Bee Family, several podcasters, and other online personalities to get a behind-the-scenes look at their work ahead of the film's debut. Insiders wrote posts about their experiences, hinted at what they saw, and praised them for a job well done.

Marketing doesn't have to be one-sided. If you're getting ready to launch a product, brand, or event, identify your most devout followers and see how you can leverage their help or influence.

  Pixar's Inside Out collaboration with artists,   Salvador Anguiano,   Matt Needle,   and   Adam Rabalais   of the Poster Posse (left to right).

Pixar's Inside Out collaboration with artists, Salvador Anguiano, Matt Needle, and Adam Rabalais of the Poster Posse (left to right).

  Pixar enthusiast, Jon Negroni at the #InsideOutPixarHQ Event.

Pixar enthusiast, Jon Negroni at the #InsideOutPixarHQ Event.

  Lettering and images by  Sean Tulgetske , inspired by Pixar's Inside Out.

Lettering and images by Sean Tulgetske, inspired by Pixar's Inside Out.

2. Invite Followers or Fans to Distribute Your Content

  Pixar's Inside Out social media channels and assets.

Pixar's Inside Out social media channels and assets.

With everyone essentially on every social media network these days, Pixar made sure to coordinate content across all platforms. But they did more than just share links and announcements with followers. In fact, they brilliantly contextualized assets as well. On their Inside Out website and social media channels, Pixar resourced their fans with downloadable mobile and desktop wallpapers, stickers, headers and profile images. They took things even further and populated the web with shareable #BirthdayEmotions, #WeddingEmotions, coloring book pages, doorhangers, and Pinterest recipes.

Inside Out Pinterest

Communicators looking to build awareness need to make sure they build creative assets people can share and distribute for them. If you want to increase engagement, make sure graphics aren't overloaded. And if your culture allows it, use humor.

3. Invite People to Ask Questions about what You are Offering or Doing

Don't be afraid to open the floor for discussion. If you keep all the information to yourself, you'll have trouble getting people behind you. At special screenings, festivals, and events, Pixar invited people to ask questions about the cast, production, studio, etc. For those unable to attend those engagements, Twitter became the go-to space designed for questions to be taken.

Pixar Twitter Questions

4. Give Your Followers or Fans a Place to Celebrate What You are Doing

People with shared interests like to huddle with other members of the tribe to develop relationships, network, and speak the same language. For Inside Out, Pixar initiated a series of "emotional" events for industry peers, students, artists, and fans. Do a hashtag search of #InsideOutYouTubeSpace, #InsideOutPixarHQ, #InsideOutAllAccess, #BeEmotionalInsideOut, and #SpreadJoy and you'll see where people gathered offline and online. The lesson here: if you build it, they will come.

Pixar Spread Joy Downtown Disney

5. Remind People You Live on the Same Planet

Throughout the year, Pixar took advantage of expressing their "emotions" by commemorating several seasons, cultural events and holidays. Rather than ignoring them altogether, they fashioned character memes accordingly and joined the online conversation. And in an exclusive movie tie-in, 15 new bitmojis were released for fans wanting to fully immerse themselves with these emotions while texting.

Pixar Memes
Pixar Bitmoji