Inspired by conversations around discrimination, disparity and isolation sparked online by the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19, Visible set out to spark and sustain conversations around the invisible, yet powerful, stories that shape our identity. The idea began to take shape as a purely social campaign, told through partner stories, with our ultimate objective to elevate the voices of underrepresented communities and to unite people from different backgrounds.
Visible is a new wireless carrier, so overall national awareness of their digital-only plan (sign up, pay, and do everything right from your phone) was the brand’s primary 2020 objective. While increased brand awareness is a blanket objective for all Visible influencer partnerships, our primary campaign goal was to spark conversation around racial and social justice. Our second goal was to authentically engage various communities by introducing them to new perspectives and stories, as measured by actions on partner posts.
Leaning on two of Visible’s core brand values, connection and transparency, we created #ShareInvisibleStories, a first person narrative campaign championing stories that often go unheard. During the onset of this campaign, the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag was used over 2M times per day on Twitter and feelings of isolation/depression increased from 1 in 10 adults to 4 in 10 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many took to social media to vent and find a place of connection. This allowed us a chance to enter into existing conversations in a subtle, and sensitive, way that provided value beyond positioning the benefits of an affordable and reliable wireless service.
At the core of our strategy was a thread on Instagram (via Reels, IGTV, Static In-Feed Carousel Posts and IG Stories) that united partners from diverse backgrounds through the vulnerable share of a pivotal moment that shaped their identity and worldview. The #ShareInvisibleStories hashtag itself was designed to be actionable: as each partner showed up in their follower feeds, our intention was to inspire others to engage to show support, and share - whether it be their own Invisible Story or amplifying others’ to give a voice to those who need to be heard.
We carefully chose partners from underrepresented communities to not only bring to light stories that have largely gone unnoticed but also to ensure diversity of stories under the campaign hashtag. The resulting content was not intended to be a typical social sponsored post. Instead, partners dug deep, resurfacing childhood photos, previous writing samples, personal interviews, resonating messages from their lives and candid, raw content that was less about maintaining a facade on social and more focused on stripping away the flair to reveal a human element that some partners had never accessed with their audiences. The Invisible Stories covered a variety of topics that shape identity: evolving family dynamics around acceptance of gender identity and sexual preference, the effect of prejudice and the importance of representation for healing and hidden trauma resulted in a powerful communal moment for survivors once shared.
To build brand alignment between this new audience and Visible, it was important that the brand not only showed up for our partners but also the people that make up their communities. We tested a new payment structure with certain partners where in addition to paying their standard fees, we included additional funds that allowed partners to donate to a charity of their choice that corresponded with their Invisible Story and supported the community mentioned. For other partners who asked, we included a ‘surprise and delight’ moment by gifting audience members with complimentary devices and Visible service. It was not taken lightly that our partners trusted us to tell their personal stories within sponsored content, and we took care to ensure that each partner’s voice shone through, ultimately allowing them to speak about the brand in a way that was authentic and resonated.
During a time of isolation and loss of connection amidst COVID-19, Invisible Stories connected audiences around numerous raw topics, brought together by the vulnerability of our partners. At the time of this entry, there have been over 15,620 shares of partner posts. The campaign garnered 5,152+ comments (97% of which were of positive sentiment) earning an average engagement rate of 5.3% and over 434k engagements. We were especially delighted to see that we truly did spark conversations with +41% of comments making a direct reference to the story or campaign versus a general “I love you” positive note of support, as well as several followers who were moved to tell their own Invisible Story, adding to our ongoing thread on the hashtag. Despite awareness being a secondary goal, we were still able to generate over 5M actual impressions, reaching 4.6M accounts.
In 2020 we partnered with 24 vibrant voices from July through December, and in 2021 we will continue to invite others to help educate and spark constructive dialogue united under our #ShareInvisibleStories hashtag. Visible recognizes the value in continuing a campaign focused on brand values and we have plans to continue Invisible Stories as part of our 2021 influencer partnerships. While we are so proud of this campaign, we know our work is not done.
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