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Purpose with Sarah Colamarino and Stephen Marshall

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This week saw the launch of the new BrandStorytelling Purpose-Driven certification course, exclusively available on BrandStorytelling+. In this one-of-a-kind certification course, participants will learn how to identify brand purpose, how to develop a purpose-driven content journey, the business behind purpose, how to measure purpose-driven campaigns, and more.

BrandStorytelling sat down with two of the leading minds behind the course, Sarah Colamarino and Stephen Marshall, to learn more about what to anticipate at the kickoff of the first purpose-driven cohort:

What need did you see in the brand storytelling space that inspired you to launch this course?

Sarah Colamarino: The market is rapidly changing. Gen Z and millennials are increasing demanding that brands contribute to society as well as make a profit. Purpose-driven companies have clear advantages with their consumers and customers, as well as their own employees. Data clearly demonstrates the financial benefits of purpose-driven strategies. What often is missing is brand storytelling that reflects the values and beliefs of an organization, and brings its purpose to life. That's why this course is so important. It helps storytellers better understand how to create content reflective of a brand's broader purpose, creating emotive connections with many of its stakeholders.

What resources were used to build the curriculum for this certification course? What experts were tapped?

Stephen Marshall: This is a course with content driven by subject matter experts (SMEs) and powered by East Tennessee State University (ETSU). As an educator and university administrator, I’ve designed dozens of courses and programs in my career. This is program is unique because instead of having a single professor delivering this content, we wanted the best practitioners in the business as course faculty providing lots of different expert perspectives. Also data supports experiential learning is powerful, so our program is also unique because of our brand sponsor as well. Our brand sponsor supplies a request for proposal (RFP) that gives participants a way to apply their knowledge and measure their learning to earn our professional certification. Last, we mix asynchronous learning modules with live office hours, cohort meetups, expert sessions and coaching with all live events recorded since we know our participants are busy professionals. All content is professionally produced thanks to our partnerships with Mediabrands and East Tennessee State University.

What modules are offered in the purpose driven brand storytelling certification course?

SM: Our course has four modules: Purpose 101, Purpose Content Journey, The Business Behind Purpose and Measuring Purpose Campaigns. Each is designed to give a foundation and important principles in purpose-driven brand storytelling to marketers, brands, filmmakers, and content producers. Modules explore topics such as individual and organizational perspectives and approaches to connecting story and purpose; approaches and best practices for creating effective purpose-driven brand content; evidence of purpose-driven storytelling activation for stakeholder impact; and best practices measurement for approaching goals and brand content impact.

Who is this course for and what should those who take it expect to learn? This course has a broad audience. SC: Storytellers should be thinking about how to demonstrate what a brand stands for in addition to the features and benefits of products. This course provides the latest thinking and practical applications that will make storytellers maximize creative expression, as well as marketing and evaluation of impact.

How does the partnership with GoDaddy work?

SM: We are grateful to GoDaddy for being our first purpose-driven certification sponsor! Participants will apply their learning to a real RFP and the brand will get exposure to new talent and ideas from our amazing participants. Also, through their cohort sponsorship, GoDaddy is also supporting the launch of our Diverse Imperative Initiative focused on bringing 500 diverse creators into the brand storytelling industry over the next 3 years. It’s a big win-win on so many levels for all.

What's the difference between taking this course as part of the cohort or on one's own time?

SM: The main difference is participants must engage in the cohort experience to earn our official professional certification. The cohort experience is designed to be collaborative and offers live office hours with faculty, meet ups with peers and expert coaching group sessions. That said, the content is “always on” so even if we aren’t running a cohort, members can consume content on their own time and BrandStorytelling+ membership is tied to a yearly subscription and not a specific cohort. This means members can participant in as many cohorts as they wish as well as access our resource library with brand examples, academic and industry insights, SME interviews and book recommendations all focused on the art and science of brand storytelling.

What do you hope those who successfully complete the course will do with the information they've learned?

SC: For those completing this course, it should open a new perspective on brand storytelling. It focuses on understanding the "DNA" of brands -- what they really stand for and the impact that they make -- and bringing this to life through emotive storytelling. It should stretch the thinking of participants, and provide new perspectives.


Sign up for Purpose-Driven Brand Storytelling today, available to members of BrandStorytelling+.

Not yet a member? Join now and use the coupon code GODADDY20 at checkout to receive 20% off your BrandStorytelling+ subscription!


About Sarah Colamarino

Sarah Colamarino is the founder of SC Blueprint Inc. Colamarino is known for her ability to accelerate growth and change, ignite organizations and create stakeholder engagement and advocacy. Her deep expertise, experience and leadership in strategy, brand, marketing and corporate communication have led to her success activating purpose through business, talent and DE&I. Colamarino has 30+ years of experience at multiple Johnson & Johnson businesses, corporate communications and corporate marketing, most recently as Vice President, Corporate Brand Equity and Partnerships. She is an active Board member/CEO advisor.

About Stephen Marshall

Stephen Marshall, Ph.D, is an award-winning professor, (digital) marketer, and higher education administrator. Stephen consults and trains companies, universities, and students to transform media experiences to exceed organizational goals digitally. He is currently the Director of BrandStorytelling+, spearheading the premium platform's education initiatives.


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