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Purpose-focused Storytelling

TELUS Takes a Walk with Sandwiches

In our blog post, 8 Guiding Principles of Purpose-Focused Content Marketing, we described a framework for producing content that matters, content that paves the path to engagement and long-lasting customer and constituent relationships, no matter whether you’re a business or a cause.

In this, the first of a series of case study posts about purpose-focused content marketing, we are using our 8 Guiding Principles as a framework for analyzing how well a brand, a nonprofit or a public agency is using the power of purpose to create trustworthy, engaging and meaningful content.

Project Title

Walking with Sandwiches

Brand / Company

Telus is a global communications company based in Canada, with operations in the Phillipines, Central America and the United States.

Content Type

Video

Eye Opening Metric

Originally published on YouTube on Jan. 15, 2016, Walking With Sandwiches has received 274,861 views in 4 weeks.  While Telus’ YouTube channel has videos that have garnered more views, most of those appear to have taken a year or more to reach those levels.

The Story

Walking with Sandwiches is the story of Ben Pobjoy, a real guy making a real commitment to improving his health, and contributing to a greater good. In Ben’s case, a commitment to walking to lose weight and get in shape also became an exercise in giving back by distributing sandwiches to the hungry on his walks.

Why We Like This As Purpose-Focused Content

  • There is a value upheld in this story about caring, caring for one’s self, caring for others. It comes across real, not contrived. The story is credible, believable, aided in large part by the documented physical transformation that Ben experiences.
  • While TELUS products are integrated, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a story about a TELUS customer doing something to improve his life and his health. The product placement wasn’t obnoxious, and didn’t become an issue until the calls to action at the end (see Purpose Focused Content Score below for more thoughts on this).
  • The meaningful nature of Ben’s story became the basis of consumer conversation about the brand across the usual channels, helped in part through the social sharing activities of Team TELUS Advocates, a collection of bloggers supported byTELUS.

What Could Be Improved

While the product shots didn’t at first seem overbearing, there were at least 13 different takes of TELUS products included in this video. We felt a bit of a let down when we hit the two sales call to actions at the end of the video. Granted, TELUS exists to sell us products. But we believe that when visitors are directed to their Better You page it would be far more engaging if there was more customer-centric content about being fit, versus a product catalog page. One has to wonder what the bounce rate is on a page that is all products, after a video like Walking with Sandwiches, versus a page of useful fitness information that would keep people engaged longer with the brand, before they’re pitched to buy a product.

Purpose Score: 7, on a 1 to 10 scale*

The Purpose Score is on a scale of 1 through 10, and is a measure of how well a brand uses purpose as a vector for creating content. Scoring a “one” on the Purpose means the content is completely self-referential and gratuitous; a 10 means the brand successfully presented meaningful content that engages without being pitchy.

In this case, TELUS scored high on our scale for providing meaningful, values-based content as an engagement strategy, but dropped points because the follow through was to a product catalog page, and not to content that furthered the purpose of supporting their customer’s fitness. Please note that we aren’t privy to whether or not this video provided a lift in sales, which in and of itself would be a valuable metric, if not the most valuable. But based on the success other brands have had by taking their content one step further, TELUS may be missing an opportunity by not providing a bit more substantive fitness content to support their fitness products.