The position of Dell Social Good Advocate was designed to achieve a variety of objectives, specifically "to promote healthier, more sustainable choices and actions through digital storytelling and advocacy," as well as to expand and elevate activity related to Dell's overall 2020 Legacy of Good Plan and additional tech-driven efforts that can drive social benefits, such as entrepreneurship and filmmaking.
The goals are to raise awareness and understanding of some of the key challenges facing society now and in the near future–such as e-waste, ocean pollution and the resource demands of a rapidly growing global middle class–along with tech-enabled solutions. And to create net-new joint projects together that aligns the passions and areas of expertise of both partners.
The partnership also delivers shared value for Dell and its Social Good Advocate including through new connection points and partnership opportunities between the networks of both brand and Advocate. And it provides an outside perspective on the existing Dell CSR storytelling strategy.
We also aimed to expand reach outside of Dell's traditional technology-centric media to broader consumer, lifestyle, business and international press, and to drive integrated communications throughout with content driven through social, owned channels and paid media. Driving meaningful connections was another core goal, including with new influencers in the non-profit, NGO, policy and social good entrepreneur sectors.
The multi-year partnership with Adrian Grenier–actor, filmmaker, entrepreneur and sustainability champion–initially launched at SXSW in March 2015 and has been extended through Dell's FY17 (which ends January 31, 2017).
The communications strategy and execution has been led by global communications with costs shared by brand and consumer marketing. It was designed to generate visibility and action through new and expanded relationships that increased content and message delivery through multiple media channels including earned, social, owned and paid, as well as physical events.
The multi-year partnership strategy has two central elements: leverage the unique strengths of both Dell and Adrian Grenier to expand the reach and impact of both (e.g., tech-enabled storytelling, Grenier's Lonely Whale Foundation); and to create net-new programs that may not exist otherwise (e.g., ocean plastics packaging feasibility study).
As noted in the goals section, the partnership was designed to balance overall brand-related activities (Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan) and product visibility (tech-enabled social good and tie to entrepreneur programs), which has been born out in the activations to date. A good example of this balance is the collaboration on the virtual reality front, where we took advantage of a trending and innovative technology topic, which Dell has strong product offerings for and thus relevance to, for effective digital storytelling to a variety of audiences on a critical topic–ocean pollution–and aligned with Grenier's new foundation. The short film, Cry Out: The Lonely Whale Experience, debuted at Art Basel Miami in December 2015 and was then quickly shipped to COP21 in Paris, where Grenier was able to share the VR experience with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other global climate change dignitaries. The experience then made its rounds in January to CES (Las Vegas) and Sundance Film Festival (Park City, Utah, where Katie Couric partook) before heading to SXSW (Austin) in March and on to MCON - The Millennial Impact Conference (Washington, D.C.) in June. An overview of the VR project is available on the Foundation's website at: http://www.lonelywhale.org/virtual-reality.
The strategy has been consistent in driving a coherent and consistent overarching campaign, leveraging and balancing known plans of both partners, such as traditional tech industry and Dell events (e.g., CES, Dell World) and creative events (e.g., Sundance Film Festival, Art Basel Miami), while also being organic and flexible to take advantage of unique opportunities that present themselves, such as a speaking opportunity during COP21, the climate change conference held in Paris in December 2015, or leveraging America Recycles Day for a unique consumer call-to-action in New York City.
The partnership continues to deliver benefits with Grenier helping to draw attention to the power of IoT (Internet of Things) solutions in resource efficiency through a recent field trip (August 2016) to real-time examples (along with a dozen media and analysts), which was covered by Forbes, Fortune, CRN, eWeek, CIO, Tech Target and South Coast Today.
We are also working together closely and are in the final stages of an ocean plastics packaging feasibility study (outlined in a NYTimes.com post in March). Final results of the study and a decision on a commercial pilot are expected in Q3 2016.
All of our communications goals have been exceeded. We have measured more than 3 billion media impressions to date (using Meltwater), with more than 100 unique stories and more than 100 million social media impressions (using Radian6; this figure excludes Instagram, which cannot be measured easily but is the primary social media channel that Grenier uses). Media results have included many outlets that do not traditionally cover Dell/its CSR programs: Vogue, The Daily Mail, Bloomberg TV, Fox 5 NY, New York Daily News, New York Business Journal, USA Today, OZY, Business Insider, Mashable, Entrepreneur, CNBC, Gotham Magazine and more. There has also been a steady volume of SGA-related Instagram/Twitter posts on Grenier's accounts. Additional joint activities include: CES, NYC Tech Takeback partnership with Uber, Art Basal, COP21, Dell World, SXSW, Social Good Summit and the INEX IoT Tour.
The quantity and quality of joint activities has continued to remain high over the duration of the partnership, something that is difficult to achieve in a dynamic technology market (Dell just completed the largest technology acquisition in history) and fluid celebrity workstyle (multiple creative projects including film, music, media and non-profit and for-profit ventures developing over the duration of the partnership). The mutual ongoing commitment and development of new campaign elements is a testament to the value of creating a true partnership with shared value in influencer relationships.
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