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Brand Storytelling Live Streams: The True Story of Brands Telling True Stories

Live on Zoom - Wednesday, April 29th at 12:00PM PST

The craft of journalism is traditionally rooted in the relentless pursuit of the truth. Good journalists seek that truth, fight for it and often must challenge even the highest authority when they have sound reason to believe they are being led astray. Now, more than ever, the skills of journalists are being put to use by brands who want, not necessarily their truth-seeking prowess, but instead the emotional honesty in their storytelling approach. It is that emotional honesty and rawness that builds loyal and lasting connections with consumers- all without the loud clanking of a clumsy call to action. Storytelling…not storyselling.

But what’s the best way to make it happen smoothly and effectively inside organizations seemingly hellbent on the sell…the bottom-line buck, with their logo front and center? Let’s talk about it on Wednesday, April 29th @ 3pEST: Join our live streaming event, “The True Story of Brands Telling True Stories”. Hear from four journalists finding success, making an impact and helping brands foster the priceless connections they dream about. We’ll tackle the varying definitions of brand journalism from one company to the next and the fact that some form of standardized measurement of success is not only realistic, but unequivocally required. By sharing their paths from journalism to corporate America, the panelists will offer ideas on where a journalist should best fit inside an organization and how their ethics can be relied upon for a balance between “the sell” and the story. It might just be that even during this current pandemic, when people are most certainly not interested in being sold, they are beginning to put their trust in brands more than the media. The onus for responsible, honest brand storytelling could be greater now than ever. Who better to take on that responsibility than journalists?

Discussion Topics:

Defining Brand Journalism: The difference of this definition between organizations and industries is vast. Should we all be talking about the same thing before tackling some mode of standardization for metrics?

How, when and where does a journalist best fit within an organization? Corp. Comms., Marketing or a separate separate editorial vertical? What is the best approach for collaborating with existing marketing teams who may need educating on the value of journalistic ethics in their storytelling?

We tell marketers they are all storytellers and we admire companies who are acting like media companies, but are they all journalists? Does it matter?

We have seen recents studies that show brands are beginning to earn the public trust more than news outlets. Could this have long term benefits or an increased onus of responsibility for brands that could signal a need for more trained journalists on teams?


Hosted by

Heidi Collins

CEO/Co-Owner Thomas & Edwards Group

Heidi Collins spent the majority of her 23 years on air as a news anchor & correspondent at CNN. Her truth-seeking DNA and obsession with the craft of storytelling eventually led her on a new path. She was recruited by the CEO of Life Time, Inc. and created the Editorial Media Division. 55 brand short films later, she and her team of news photojournalist/editors now comprise Thomas & Edwards Group. The team works with several clients, primarily in the health & wellness space, to make lasting, emotional connections with their customers.


Robin Bennefield

Editorial Director, Marriott Creative and Content Marketing

Robin Bennefield is Editorial Director of Marriott Creative and Content Marketing, leading editorial storytelling and content strategy across Marriott Bonvoy brands. She also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Marriott Bonvoy Traveler, Marriott’s online magazine telling good travel stories that inspire exploration of the world’s greatest destinations. Bennefield comes to this role with 25 years of experience as a journalist and digital media producer, encompassing work as a reporter for U.S. News & World Report, travel writer and expert for, as well as executive producer and editorial director of several Discovery web sites, including, and

Megan Wells

Award Winning Director, Filmmaker & Content Creator

Megan Wells is a multi-award winning branded content creator and commercial, film and documentary director. She has spent more than 20 years working with major international broadcast, commercial and sports clients including Under Armour, Red Bull, Fox Sports, Google, Acura, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, PGA and NASCAR, Dove Beauty, Delta Air Lines, Sprite, Comcast, Gatorade, the Olympics and Chick-Fil-A.

She was formerly a Director and Executive Producer for Red Bull’s non-live/ long format productions group, as well as the the former Executive Producer and Director of Under Armour’s content house, and is the creator behind the “Under Armour Originals” entertainment franchise. In addition to her commercial and branded content work, she has created and directed six multi-episodic documentary series. 

Angela Matusik

Head of Corporate Brand, Content & Creative HP

Angela Matusik is a digital content marketing executive who has developed, launched and re-invented brands, franchises, videos and digital products for over two decades. She spent much of career leading creative teams at media brands, including InStyle, People and NBC’s iVillage. She joined HP in September 2017.


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