Getting Schooled on Third-Party Storytelling with Eaton
Having voice of a third-party brand champion can often be the best way for companies to make an impact with target audiences. Customers are the obvious choice, but sometimes third-party validation can come from less likely places.
For Largemouth client Eaton, it was an unlikely project with some next-generation engineers that generated a unique and memorable story. When Eaton donated some power management equipment to a group of Wheaton Academy seniors during the COVID-19 lockdown, the resulting journey took them beyond what anyone involved anticipated.
In April of 2021, Largemouth and Eaton unearthed a positive storytelling opportunity tied to an engaging human interest story. It all started when a group of students at Wheaton Academy built a server to help the local school community stay connected remotely during the pandemic through Minecraft games. Upon finding they had far more equipment than they needed for just Minecraft, the students created a web hosting program that provided important support to local businesses and the Wheaton community.
It was the students’ ingenuity – designing the server room out of donated equipment – that made the story so compelling. The server room soon gained broader awareness and the students found themselves providing server space for organizations like Folding@home, a crowdsourced effort to help contribute research for COVID-19 vaccine development. And when faced with power management challenges with their equipment, the students reached out to Eaton asking for help. The company responded by donating power management technology to help with uptime far greater than what they had previously experienced.
A Tailored Approach
The students’ knowledge and resourcefulness were so impressive – and news cycles around the pandemic and back-to-school so timely – that Largemouth saw an opportunity to generate broad interest in their story through outreach to local mainstream media outlets.
The effort saw immediate impact when the Largemouth team secured an opportunity to participate in a comprehensive digital feature with CBS 2 Chicago. The feature gave the students the opportunity to tell their own story and showcase their impressive credentials as upcoming college students all pursuing degrees in engineering. The icing on the cake was some great positioning for Eaton’s role in donating technology to deliver greater uptime for the hosting server.
Like any good earned-media placement, the story didn’t end with the publication of the article. Largemouth and Eaton marcom teams have been working collaboratively to activate other storytelling outlets, from social media channels to website landing pages, that will ensure it continues to live on.
Storylines like these are valuable to leverage in connecting with new media targets and expanding visibility for Eaton outside the traditional IT space. While IT trades remain a major focus for PR outreach efforts, Largemouth is always look for unique, outside-the-box opportunities to introduce Eaton stories to a wider audience.
Takes a Village
Collaboration is instrumental for brand storytelling activities, particularly those activated in real time. The Wheaton Academy story went from word-of-mouth to a full-blown PR campaign quickly thanks to a strategic framework built through communication between Largemouth and Eaton marcom teams, along with front-line sales and service representatives that were directly involved.
The scenario drives home the notion that storytelling is a mindset and process engrained within a company’s culture. If you’re interested in evaluating your organization’s strategy, from milestone announcements to boots-on-the-ground story activation, connect with our team today to learn more about how we can help.