There is a revolution happening in communication. And the people who aren’t afraid of the unknown are breaking through the noise to stand out as leaders across their respective industries.
At C1 Revolution, we call them The Revolutionaries. And, as their name suggests, they’re a busy bunch, hustling behind the scenes to create the biggest waves in the business.
To join the conversation, we decided to spotlight these innovators by developing a web series, in partnership with Entrepreneur Magazine, to highlight forward-thinking work in communication, public relations, marketing, advertising, social media, journalism, events and branding. The idea took years to flesh out but there were a few milestones that stick out that led to its creation. Here’s a bit about how we brought this idea from brainstorm to YouTube!
We chose to turn toward change, rather than lose direction in the chaos
I attended graduate school for journalism in 2008, a turning point for traditional and digital media. We were panicking that newspapers were on their way out, Twitter was emerging as a news source (I actually wrote a paper on how it was a fad that would soon be over) and Patch was portrayed as the savior of online news.
Now as the founder of C1 Revolution, a communication start-up of creatives that offers brand amplification, I know that what worked a year ago can very well be out of date today. Instead of trying to overanalyze the industry and identify a blanket approach to address all the changes in how people seek out information and connect online, I decided to embrace the chaos. For me that meant going directly to the people who are successfully navigating the field and asking them to share their stories.
Communicators often make things look easy and appear as if they happen overnight. But with this series, we break down the complex, time-consuming and stressful situations it takes to create big moments that might last a few minutes – but take weeks, if not months (or years!) on the front and back end, to execute.
We chose video as our medium
Even though video content remains expensive to produce, I felt that viewers needed to see the experts to buy into the concept. When you see the variety in age, race and experience of the communicators profiled in the series, it really helps our audience to understand that the roadblocks, challenges and opportunities are universal. You feel less alone. The frustration ends up feeling like a natural part of the process, not an never-ending loop.
We hired the right team
When I fully fleshed out the idea for this series, I called Adam Banicki, producer and cinematographer to help me bring this project to life. He said yes but there was one caveat – it would have to be shot the following week before he started a documentary project. In one week, we put together more than 20 interviews with communicators across lifestyle, sports, non-profit and media brands.
We profiled the right people
We are so proud of #TheRevolutionaries we have profiled thus far. Among them, Brook Jay, co-founder of All Terrain, an experiential marketing agency whose clients included the Chicago Blackhawks, GM and the Cosmopolitan in Vegas; Nathan Michael, a photographer who shoots Instagram content for brands like Wendy’s and American Express; Fallon Ryan, PR director for Lana Jewelry, who helped place the accessories line in 24 images used in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition (including Gigi Hadid, Chrissy Teigen and Erin Heatherton); and Cody Madsen, a producer for the Chicago Bulls who’s living the millennial and sports-fan dream of having with his favorite athletes, Snapchatting and getting paid to do it.
When you see the variety in age, race and experience of the communicators profiled in the series, it really helps our audience to understand that the roadblocks, challenges and opportunities are universal.
We continue to optimize our process
Personally, I’m proud that an idea has become a movement, and that Entrepreneur saw the value and wanted to distribute it. Recently, I was able to sit down with Ludacris to discuss the success of the Fast & Furious franchise, making a film that speaks to minorities, and the power of social media. It’s just been incredible.
We are determined to keep this project alive and we are facing different challenges to make it happen. We are continuously evaluating our process, broadening our ask, and finding new ways to keep people engaged with the series.
For agencies and brands there is still opportunity to carve out a niche through video and establish yourself as a leader and content creator in the space. The other side of it is, does it make sense for you company? Will it impact your bottom line? For C1 Revolution the answer is yes. Not only because we love telling stories and promoting people we love, but because it allows us to refine our process and provide a better service to our clients. By creating content and promoting our series, it allows us to test new ideas on ourselves rather than our clients. In turn, people who we respect in the industry are given the platform to share their expertise. The result is vertical integration for our company and the result is a win-win.
About Ximena Beltran
Prior to founding C1 Revolution, Ximena lead Walgreens’ social media team in an analyst role on risk management issues. Her unique expertise and relatively new role is social has been called upon by media and educators to weigh in on industry trends, including in a Macmillan college textbook on digital branding and reputation.
Ximena specializes in using social media for public relations campaigns to create offline engagement. She is fluent in Spanish, providing past employers with an edge in understanding the Hispanic market and being able to quickly turn-around translations.