Announcing the 2021 Brand Storytelling Honor Roll

Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv

As the prevalence of brand funded content and branded entertainment continue to rise, so too do the challenges and responsibilities of the individuals trusted within brands to pioneer the next great piece of brand-funded content. Navigating these challenges and coming out with content that inspires, educates, and entertains is no easy feat. This past year saw those challenges grow exponentially, as a global pandemic, an election, and a groundswell of discussion around equity and race grew to occupy the global consciousness, putting brands in a position where communicating their own values was paramount. Still – brands innovated, improved representation in their brand content work, connected that work to causes that benefitted people directly, and once again evolved the understanding of what can be achieved with brand-funded content and entertainment.


Brand Storytelling honored a select group of brand marketers during the Brand Storytelling Network, an all-online brand marketing program established in the wake of the pandemic to ensure the continued connectivity and growth of the brand storytelling community. The winners of the 2021 Brand Storytelling Honor Roll were announced by the previous class of winners: Marc Battaglia (formerly of Marriott International), Sarah Colamarino (Johnson & Johnson), Angela Matusik (HP), Kirstin Falk (formerly of Charles Schwab), Paolo Mottola (REI) and Allison Polly (PepsiCo). The following six brand marketers met and exceeded the expectations set by the previous winning class, once again setting an example for ways to work creatively and effectively to drive impact, purpose, brand lift and engagement through the power of story:

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Andrew Strickman

Realtor.com

SVP, Head of Brand and Chief Creative Officer


Andrew built the brand and audience marketing function at realtor.com from scratch over his 8-year tenure at Realtor.com. In his last project at realtor.com, based on conversations that began at Brand Storytelling’s Elevate summer conference, Andrew initiated, developed and produced a multi-episode full-length television series with Tastemade called “Beyond the Block,” which featured 4 sets of first-time homebuyers as they set out to discover why buying a home isn’t just about the four walls that sit on a foundation. The series ran on Tastemade TV, Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services as the country came out of lockdown in the late summer of 2020. The series drove phenomenal success for realtor.com across both audience growth and brand health metrics.



Carrie Sloan

Johnson & Johnson

VP, Director of the Global Content Lab


Carrie and her team have built an impressive content machine at J&J, no small feat for a global entity with many divisions, especially when a number of them fall within a category like Pharma. But when it came time to follow up on the heralded success of 5B, the global pandemic struck. Rather than look outside the organization for current stories to tell, Carrie and team looked inward, launching “The Road to a Vaccine”. This series provided an inside look into Johnson & Johnson’s path to developing a COVID 19 Vaccine as it unfolded, which was not only a unique play on entertainment-meets-education, but an opportunity to tell a story that was and continues to be meaningful to literally everyone.


Christopher Karpenko

United States Postal Service

Executive Director, Brand Marketing


Chris Karpenko was the driving force behind the heartwarming 2020 Christmas documentary, Dear Santa. Serving dual roles as film producer and Executive Director for Brand Marketing at the United States Postal Service, Chris orchestrated the film’s co-marketing efforts, facilitated creative development, helped secure financing, consistently advocated for the project and nurtured the movie’s overall creative direction. As well, Chris was instrumental in ensuring that Dear Santa director, Emmy-winning filmmaker, Dana Nachman, had unprecedented access to the USPS’s legendary 108-year-old Operation Santa program. The outcome was an uplifting and inspiring motion picture that was nationally distributed and critically received – with respected film reviewers like Richard Roeper calling Dear Santa “one of the most wonderful films of the year”.