The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too


[Spoiler Alert: This post is not about Zoolander 2 — Sorry]

Hi all,

Hope you had another good week.

Welcome to Friday Thing/k — a brand storytelling canvas where I’d like to share with you smart, creative, inspiring, engaging, cool, and innovative content marketing ideas that take my digital marketing breath away once a week.

Derek Zoolander had a higher purpose. He knew that there was a lot more to his life as an influential model than just “being really, really, ridiculously good looking.” His larger aspiration and mission being, to build an education center.

Now hold that thought, we’ll get back to it shortly.

If you don’t already know, I love to discover content online and getting lost and always-always finding thing/ks. That’s how these posts are born.

In fact, not but just a few a days ago-Eureka! I came across an interesting article published last October on the Harvard Business Review about “How an Accounting Firm Convinced Its Employees They Could Change the World.” 

The article discusses the idea — and here’s where we get back to the significance of Zoolander — that a workforce motivated by a strong sense of higher purpose is essential to engagement.

A case study presented within the article from KPMG, one of the largest accounting firms in the world, described how vivid posters were created to celebrate and shine light on the variety of different employee stories being built:

article from KPMG

Probably not the answers you would expect to hear from accountants when asked, “What do you do at KPMG?”

But that’s exactly how KPMG reshaped how its employees think about their own work via their Higher Purpose campaign.

As KPMG embarked on an initiative to build a stronger connection to the firm, they followed up the important question with answers received in the form of a video entitled, “We Shape History:”

As you can see, history coincides with the company story — a great message to internal teams.

It reminded me of the historic event scenes Forrest Gump participated in for the movie — similar, but these really connect.

The video lit a flame for an inspiring cross-company storytelling campaign with additional posters celebrating the impact KPMG people have made on behalf of clients, and even an app that enabled content creation and distribution around their “10,000 Stories Challenge” goal.

The results?

According to HBR: 90% of employees reported that the Higher Purpose campaign increased pride in KPMG and improved overall morale.

Not sure about you, but I can always trust accountants with numbers.

To recap, why I love KPMG’s marketing initiative on so many levels:

  • A campaign targeted to the brand’s most important target audience –  The people, at the beginning and end of the day, are the ones who create and shape the brand.
  • A creative campaign which is brilliantly executed –
    Powerful, emotional, and inspiring on the part of these accountants. I think they have shown that anything can be story-fied. As William Shakespeare said, and I will never feel bad about quoting, “The world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.”
  • A campaign from the top of the company down –
    From the chairmen to the interns — it encompassed everyone’s story. And through that approach, their goal for increased engagement with the brand was met. Talk about the holy grail of content marketing.
  • A campaign that happened with content – It doesn’t matter what industry, it’s all about finding what resonates.

So, if you were wondering what I’m doing at Outbrain, I’m helping the fifth pillar of democracy (journalism) stay strong and relevant.

See you next Friday.

As always, feedback is more than welcome, and needed so please leave comments below. Additionally, if you have anything/k in mind, I would love to discover it.

Just call me Joe.

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