The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Beyond Survival: A Small Business Resiliency Guide

Audience Honor in LinkedIn


Customer centricity is vital when creating content, especially when you are competing in an increasingly digital world while navigating through a pandemic. Cisco and LinkedIn partnered to create a ground-breaking co-branded e-book with the objective of teaching small businesses how to use technology to adapt, adopt and overcome in a COVID world. 

Strategy and Execution

Small businesses represent 90% of companies and account for more than 50% of employment worldwide. With less cash on hand and fewer resources, the pandemic created new challenges for small businesses to keep their doors open. As traditional methods of doing business were rendered irrelevant, small businesses in every industry began to reinvent themselves, and many were doing it with technology. Our team knew that small businesses were facing a difficult road to recovery, and in a time of panic, we knew that we had the tools to be able to provide these small businesses with a glimmer of hope and the resources needed to stay afloat. Our team rallied together and partnered with LinkedIn to develop Beyond Survival: A Small Business Resiliency Guide to help small businesses leverage technology to not only recover but bounce back better than they were before the pandemic.  

Our content approach differed from traditional e-book creation in that we solely relied on insights from LinkedIn, leveraging customer/prospect pain-points and customer centric verbiage to capture our audience’s attention. This gave us an advantage in the marketplace. The best part is that the research, e-book and banners were created as a value-add based from our current level of investments with LinkedIn. 

We started by building a core team from the Cisco small business side and the LinkedIn research side to make sure we had the right expertise to provide the most relevant information in the guide.  Our team took a contrarian view of the pandemic impact-- what if the increased use of technology  due to COVID could be an opportunity to thrive instead of just a necessity to survive? 

For the campaign, our team compiled resources into the following chapters: Small Business: Reinvented, Adapt and Overcome, Leverage the Right Resources, and Resiliency for the Future. Whether it was providing details on how to obtain financial assistance or case studies of how our customers pivoted quickly when the pandemic hit, our guide provided the financing, marketing, IT, legal, and even LinkedIn learning resources to aid small businesses in their resiliency efforts.  

Once completed, our team promoted the guide on organic and paid social, and used it as a CTA for podcasts, blog posts, webcasts, and digital events. The guide was also incorporated into our always-on digital journey, and our sellers sent the guide directly to their small business customers. 


Our north star for this entire campaign was not about pushing Cisco products, but instead showing our full support for small businesses during such a difficult time. Knowing that small business owners were facing several challenges adapting to new technology, our team knew that our expertise was crucial to aid these businesses. On organic social, our Small Business Resiliency Guide received 1500 clicks and 600K total reach. Paid social across Canada and the US resulted in a 0.46% CTR, double the average of small business in Q1. Additionally, the e-book is currently our best performing piece of content on our small business webpage. Due to the positive results, we are in the process of translating and launching this content globally. Our team also broadcasted the guide on LinkedIn Elevate to activate our sellers, and was shared by 180 employees, resulting in a total reach of 250K. 

Typically, eBooks like this are gated on paid social, but because the team wanted this resource available to everyone (and not requiring providing business or personal information) we leveraged static sponsored posts with the objective of driving new and return visits. Compared to similar creatives (same ad format, targeting strategy and Small Business Recovery topic), the best performing eBook creatives generated a higher new visitor conversation rate (.029%) than the average (0.019%) AND a higher return visitor conversation rate (.41%) than the average (.18%). The campaigns launched in July 2020 and are still running. We are also now testing on Facebook. 


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Cisco, LinkedIn, Scorch Agency


Entry Credits