Using Your Brand’s Strengths to Operate with Purpose
Jordan Kelley, Content Director, BrandStorytelling.tv
As being purpose driven grows to occupy a larger part of the public consciousness, so too does the need for brands to emulate those increasingly important ideals. However, brands seeking to operate with purpose should consider a variety of definitions of the word “purpose” in order to differentiate themselves while simultaneously being meaningfully impactful. On occasion, brands looking to invest time and energy into purpose put that time and energy into places that are incongruous with what they naturally have to offer – this can often appear disingenuous to the consumer. Instead, consider putting that same time an energy toward an endeavor that creatively utilizes the resources your brand deals in regularly.
In a recent partnership between Verizon Media, Yahoo News and The Wounded Warrior Project teamed up to do just that. Verizon Media helps brands reach passionate communities and make a lasting impression through immersive storytelling that forms deeper connections. In this way Verizon is able to provide a type of relief that deals directly in their ability to keep people connected. This creates opportunities for other purpose-driven brands like Yahoo News to partner with Verizon and deal in the resources that allow them to operate with purpose, which in the case of this partnership is access to a passionate community of military veterans that rely on Yahoo for a variety of levels of news and information (Last year, Yahoo news had 54M views related to veteran content). Enter the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Wounded Warrior Project’s existence is centered on creating awareness around the difficulties so many Veterans go through upon returning home. WWP sought to connect audiences with veterans with inspiring stories around mental health, stigma, and recovery. By tapping Yahoo’s veteran community and with the help of Verizon Media, the concept for “The Invisible Wounds of War” was born - a series meant to uplift and inspire – requiring the involvement of a production team prepared to think critically about producing such a series safely during a pandemic. This is where RYOT Studio, Verizon Media’s branded content studio, shines.
The remote creative collaboration process was one of trial and error executed by a synergistic group made up of RYOT Studio producers, Verizon Media storytellers, and representatives from Yahoo News and WWP. Creative collaboration started from a position of mutual respect, grounding all parties involved in the seriousness of the work and putting them on the same page. Remote groups at RYOT Studio, Yahoo News, and WWP stayed in constant communication to do the work justice and honor their three subjects. The warriors selected were asked to go above and beyond typical talent in order to meet the needs of a pandemic shoot, staging their own shots, lighting, and sending video and audio files to the folks at RYOT to produce.
The resulting series is an intimate portrait of a group of unique veterans on their personal paths to acclimating to civilian life. It’s made clear through viewing that there is still a stigma around mental health, with an increased bias within the veteran community. WWP looked ahead to September and October, both months with a focus on mental health conversations and awareness, to launch their content campaign. Partners at Yahoo tapped into the notion that the driving emotional force was the narratives being shared by the soldiers in focus. Interviews captured an intimacy that could not necessarily otherwise be captured under different production circumstances. Yahoo went on to package the info with support from published articles and researched information to give the content roots in brand journalism.
With Verizon’s commitment to reaching passionate communities and making a positive lasting impression through immersive content, Wounded Warrior Project’s driving purpose to help veterans heal, Yahoo News’s journalistic foundation and direct connection to an audience of veterans, and the inclusion of RYOT studios in producing content that delivers on the overall vision, this is a case of companies coming together to use their strengths to operate with purpose. Each contribution is in line with what the company is focused on and has to offer. Each company was effortful in contributing their expertise to the overall product. Most importantly, each company demonstrated its value through participation in this collaboration, helping demonstrate to others looking to capitalize on their strengths how they, too, can collaborate, operate with purpose, and telegraph their value to other potential partners.
Learn more about this campaign from this Brand Storytelling Livestream
Watch “Invisible Wounds of War”
About Jordan Kelley
Jordan Kelley is the Content Director at BrandStorytelling.tv. He's an essayist, editor, and observer intent on mapping new media trends and disseminating the most relevant information in the world of branded content. Jordan is a lover of stories and an avid consumer of new media.