Telling Purpose-Driven Stories with Purpose-Driven Studios: Q&A with Myriad

Jordan P. Kelley, Content Director, Brand Storytelling

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Brands looking to connect with audiences through shared values often turn to a purpose-driven model of brand storytelling to put those values on display. This, however, is becoming increasingly difficult to do properly. Audiences who care about causes like social justice, the environment, and groups rights and care are more discerning and informed than ever before. ‘Purpose washing’ and ‘virtue signaling’ are now part of common vernacular and can be sniffed out from a mile away.

The good news is that the workaround for this potential pitfall is simple: don’t fake it. But simple isn’t always easy, and it can be hard to determine just what it takes not to appear false when championing brand values. A great place to start is to partner with production companies who are already well entrenched in purpose-driven storytelling. Companies like Myriad, a video production agency out of Raleigh, North Carolina that has been making original content with an emphasis on social impact for decades.

Their latest film, released on Veteran’s day, is called "Voicemails To My Future Self: Vol 2", a short film inspired by what are known as ‘Wingmen’ - friendships that help prevent Veteran suicides. It’s the second installment in the series; Volume 1 was made in collaboration with poet Javon Johnson, revealing the struggle he faced in teaching his young, black nephew about the complexities of interacting with the police.

Brand Storytelling caught up with Tony Cope, Co-founder of Myriad, and the Director of Voicemails To My Future Self: Vol 2, to learn more about making social impact films and why brands should work with experienced storytellers to do the same:

Tell us more about Myriad.

Myriad is a creative video agency based in Raleigh, NC.

We make videos that make a difference. With an emphasis on technology and social impact, Myriad sees creativity as a force for good and video as the language it speaks in. Our expertise is finely-honed video production skills. But we back it up with fresh ideas, in-depth strategy, and seamless client services. We work with in-house brand and marketing teams to develop daring video concepts that speak to your vision as a company. After decades of working with Fortune 1000 clients on everything from episodic series to one-off videos— we’ve learned how to adapt anything.

Oh, and we just became a Certified B Corp!

What is the agency’s internal definition of a social impact film and in what ways do the films you make uphold that definition?

Impact is driven by your heart and your soul's need to make something better. It's always deeply personal. Whatever that desire is, that is what feeds every single piece and part of the work.

For us, that ends up resulting in a film. Then, by working with other individuals and community groups, we try to leverage that into a direct action — something that can inspire true change.

What inspired the production of ‘Voicemails to my Future Self'? Why make it a series?

Voicemails are such an interesting time capsule, in a personal narrative form. They are something everyone understands; that they will listen to, and then respond. Each Voicemail film is a short that focuses on a different societal or cultural topic. We feel like they are a perfect forum to deliver important stories in a unique way.