Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv
In purpose-driven storytelling, where a brand puts its mission-based message can be as important as what they say in their storytelling. Not only do publishers often have bigger reach than a brand’s owned and operated sites, they bring the purpose of the publishing brand into the mix. This combination can help create a powerful statement for both brand and publisher.
During a weekly live stream, Brand Storytelling brought together the creative and editorial pros from Vox Media, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR to discuss how they work with brands on purpose-driven storytelling, both during the global Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. This expert conversation led to revelations about the importance of publishers in purpose-driven storytelling, revolving around the importance of studios working with partners during the pandemic to determine best practices and next steps, as well as the benefits of bringing journalistic authenticity and integrity to a brand’s messaging.
Coronavirus has forced all publishers to be nimble and adaptive to make relevant and trustworthy content. The large machinations that were once at work have struggled to operate when teams are scattered and working from home. On the other side of things, brand partners have been and are still faced with how to respond appropriately to the nation’s woes and current cultural climate. It’s been extremely important to speak to partners about how to deliver messaging during this time, and how the content of that messaging aligns with brand values and the responses expected from authorities like brands. Solution oriented content is in demand, and consumers want to know what brands are doing to address the virus and consumer safety internally and externally. With expertise in an ever-changing news cycle and an eye on data, publishers can help facilitate that.
Publishers and trusted media partners are providing data-driven best practices strategies to their brand partners on the subjects of demonstrating leadership, how to speak to the public, exercising empathy, and more. This has proven to be an invaluable tool for brands that partner with publishers like Vox Media, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR, cementing the value of a brand-publisher relationship of this nature. Data collected over the duration of stay-at-home orders has been used to help inform brands on how to re-enter the consumer consciousness as the country slowly eases into re-opening. The language and messaging advice coming from publishing partners can be trusted not only because it’s based on data and feedback, but also because publishers, rooted in journalism, hold themselves to a high journalistic standard – a standard that, when adhered to by the brand, can help elevate a brand’s messaging.
The ethical standards upheld by media brands that function as publishing partners give brands the opportunity to tangentially benefit from the glow of those ethical standards. Although it can create challenges to work with a brand that has requests outside of the rigors of journalistic integrity, ultimately a brand can count on it being in their best interest to work within the publisher’s model of fact-driven authenticity. Doing so allows them to share their messaging with the utmost confidence, backed by the knowledge that the information they are communicating is vetted and reliable. It can also help bridge the gap into one of the most vital positions a brand can put itself in in the current moment: a position of operating with purpose.
The collective data across publishers suggests that anchoring purpose-driven messaging to action is the best way to demonstrate authenticity, especially right now. There is a huge divide between words and action, and people sense that more keenly now than ever before. Early days of the pandemic saw a wave of silence, followed by a wave of homogeneous messaging. Today, it seems like many brands have settled on messaging like “we’re here if you’d like to come back”, which can feel a bit lukewarm. The brands that stand out are the ones who demonstrate their words through action like resource donation, community aide, and sustainable programs. Implementing publisher data, tapping into the purpose-driven initiative that best aligns with your brand’s values, and indicating purposeful intent through messaging is one of the best ways to take advantage of the brand-publisher partnership.
About Jordan Kelley
Jordan Kelley is a versatile creative intent on mapping new media trends and disseminating the most relevant information in the world of branded content. He is a lover of stories and an avid consumer of visual media.