'Film production was a huge undertaking' – Behind the Campaign, LinkedIn Changemakers

Rachel Evans, associate director for digital, social and influencer at Brands2Life, discusses the new iteration of the agency's campaign with LinkedIn.

'Film production was a huge undertaking' – Behind the Campaign, LinkedIn Changemakers

What was the campaign, in a nutshell?

Changemakers amplifies voices of LinkedIn members challenging the status quo: championing a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable working world. Originally launched in mid-2020 as a UK-only social influencer programme with seven Changemakers on LinkedIn, it has scaled to a multi-market brand campaign across the UK, France, Germany and Australia.

The September 2021 UK launch included eight more Changemakers, a TVC, eight social films and a strategic collaboration with Channel 4.

How did the idea come into being?

Social platforms can be difficult places to be your true self for fear of judgement and negativity; this is often the case in workplaces too. Back in 2019, we had an idea for how LinkedIn could lead the way in addressing this head-on, to nurture a more trustworthy environment that encourages and empowers professionals to be outspoken about what’s important to them.

In recent months, we’ve seen the LinkedIn community come together to rally around issues and challenges – having open, honest and frank conversations on LinkedIn – more than ever before.

We’ve seen people share content, ideas and perspectives that have helped us adapt to the seismic changes of the past 18 months and, in some cases, drive important changes forward. Among this rich sea of conversations, we identified our trailblazing Changemakers.

What ideas were rejected?

This campaign helps to reinforce LinkedIn’s position as the most-trusted social media platform, so we did consider an idea that pitted it directly against other social platforms, but it felt too direct. Instead, we took a more modest approach, focusing on real stories, real change-making individuals, real conversations.

Briefly describe the campaign planning and process

We commissioned international research to identify the topics most important to professionals, then used Brands2Life’s own influencer algorithm Punch to qualify individuals already outspoken in these areas before selecting the Changemakers.

Production of a TVC and social films required significant planning. The launch was strategically aligned with Channel 4’s Black To Front initiative, which disrupted normal programming for a day dedicated to black talent – including two of our Changemakers.

Activity beyond launch is driven by topical moments and opportunities for the Changemakers to tell their stories in the media and online.

What were the biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?

Film production was a huge undertaking. The challenges were twofold:

  1. To present real-life human stories compassionately, powerfully and optimistically in a way that galvanised the LinkedIn community to join the conversation. Thorough preparations – but no scripting – was key.
  2. To co-ordinate a four-day, multi-location shoot in a mid-pandemic, post-lockdown world. Rigorous planning, testing (and insurance!), and a refined production team ensured everything went smoothly.

How did you measure the results?

A brand tracking study of wave one showed significant uplifts in LinkedIn brand awareness around “community” and “trust” metrics, and LinkedIn platform analytics confirmed Changemakers themselves now rank in the top 0.09 per cent most influential UK LinkedIn members.

Editorial coverage of Changemaker stories in Vogue, the Evening Standard, The i and Mail Online, plus social engagement from Radio 1 DJ Greg James and author Florence Given, further confirmed the relevance and importance of conversations for change beyond the LinkedIn platform alone.

Early results for the UK 2021/22 campaign are strong. Changemakers’ stories coverage already includes The Independent and Gay Times.

What's the biggest lesson you took away from the campaign?

The world of work continues to evolve at a rate accelerated by the pandemic – fronted by mental health, job security and work-life balance challenges. Meanwhile, change isn’t happening fast enough in some areas – with sustainability challenges, systemic racism and gender inequalities rife every day. Conversations for change are more important than they’ve ever been and a trusted platform like LinkedIn is the natural place to have them.

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