Welcome to Brilliance@Work, a series of profiles about stellar collaboration professionals and their best practices at work.
Denise Roberts McKee is the Chief Operating Officer at AboutFace Media, which creates brand storytelling initiatives told through the lens of independent film’s most acclaimed documentary filmmakers.
Denise brings her years of experience working with leading brands to conferences and seminars worldwide, with a focus on content development and marketing. In 2014, The Online Marketing Institute named her one of the Top 40 Digital Strategists in Marketing.
Prior to joining AboutFace, Denise co-founded the companies LimeLife, Inc., a publisher of mobile media for women, and Stunt Puppy Entertainment, an independent developer of CD-ROM games focused on the children’s market.
Join Denise at the Advanced Learning Institute’s Strategic Internal Branding Conference, April 19-21 in Scottsdale, Arizona as she presents “Authentic Storytelling in a Digital Age – How to Get Your Message Seen, Believed and Remembered.”
In the meantime, read on to learn more about Denise and her insights on effective storytelling.
Peggy L. Bieniek, ABC: What are you most interested in and speak most enthusiastically about?
Denise Roberts McKee: I love speaking about video content, storytelling in particular. It can be such a powerful and effective means of communicating and connecting when done well. I also know how daunting a task it can appear to be, so I really enjoy sharing practical advice and approaches that, hopefully, make tackling the process a bit easier.
PB: What are some of your past and current projects that you are most proud of?
DRM: I am especially proud of the work we’ve done featuring military veterans. A few years ago we created a series for Sears about their “Heroes at Home” program that provides home repairs and upgrades for veterans facing hardship. My favorite episode featured “Hoppy” Hopkins, a WWII vet. Every Friday, Hoppy headed to downtown Lynchburg, Virginia to lead a group of veterans who pay tribute to the troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. We were so lucky to capture his amazing story before he passed away in 2009. Watch it at: http://aboutfacemedia.com/work/sears-hoppy-hopkins
As for current projects, we have a short film screening at film festivals that I’m in love with. “Operation Allie” is a personal short documentary by Manny Marquez, one of our directors. The film features Manny’s brother Anthony, a vet of the war in Afghanistan, on a quest to find one of his best friends from his days in combat – his bomb-sniffing dog partner, Allie. It’s amazing, and guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye. For more info, go to http://www.bigskyfilmfest.org/festival/films-2016-peak/operation_allie
PB: How does digital storytelling support internal brand strategy?
DRM: A key component in any internal brand strategy is employee buy-in. If employees don’t readily participate and feel part of the process, or the organization as a whole, all the content and budget in the world won’t get you past Step 1. Thoughtful, well-crafted storytelling content has the ability to make a personal connection, start an ongoing two-way conversation and help employees feel that you are communicating with them, not talking at them.
PB: What will people gain from attending the Strategic Internal Branding Conference?
DRM: I’ve had the pleasure of leading many ALI workshops over the years. What’s unique about ALI is an amazing sense of community. You meet others with similar experiences, facing similar challenges and together you share, discuss, learn and problem-solve. You’ll leave with tons of take-aways, and make great, lasting connections. It will be three days well spent. I promise.
PB: What is most important for people to understand from your conference workshop?
DRM: While I do try to provide as much practical advice as possible, it’s not a step-by-step checklist. There is no right way or wrong way of creating video content. It needs to meet your objectives and speak to your audience.
There are many types of video, story-based is just one. It’s up to you to “do the homework” before you begin shooting to make sure you’re starting with the best approach. I don’t want you to waste time, resources and most importantly, budget on content that is not positioned for success.
That being said, if you take the time to thoughtfully develop your strategy, at a certain point you can’t be afraid to pull the trigger. To quote Nike, you gotta “Just Do It” and use the results to learn, adjust and continue forward.
PB: What is your contact information for questions, comments, ideas?
Register for the Strategic Internal Branding Conference. Together we’ll learn about using authentic internal branding communications to create brand champions, build culture and engage employees to live and deliver on the brand promise.
Since I’m a conference supporter, just mention Starry Blue Brilliance when you register to receive a $200 discount. 🙂
Please share this information with your networks. The Twitter hashtag is #ALI_IntBranding.