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UNLEASH: Communications

UNLEASH is a global innovation program that supports talented youth to find solutions to local problems, create a business around those solutions, and bring them to scale. This includes bringing them through the UNLEASH methodology, based on human-centred design, connecting them with experience, high-level mentorship and funding, and giving them a platform to voice their needs and share their successes. During my time with the program, I was responsible for all content creation across platforms, both externally on social media and internally on private pages and the UNLEASH platform.

New strategies

At the time, UNLEASH was working to diversify its program offerings without a physical lab (due to the pandemic). This meant that communications also saw a shift. When discussing this new strategy, we assessed that the communication objectives needed to be three-fold; to inform and recruit new participants into the new online programs, to encourage continued Talent engagement and participation in the new programs, and to promote UNLEASH’s public partners. To do this, I developed a variety of new communication features and built out existing initiatives. Below are some of the highlights. 

Informative Instagram stories

Accessible Information

As I was responsible for engaging our audience across channels, I also fielded many questions about our programs. Due to the number of questions, it was clear that the information needed to be more accessible. Although one could find answers on our website, we frequently engaged our audience on SoMe, so providing clear and concise resources on these channels seemed necessary. Thus, I developed Instagram stories that lived as Highlights on the UNLEASH page and were re-shared to our live stories on Instagram and Facebook every time we posted about a related program. This new feature drastically reduced our questions and increased our visibility because our existing network loved the stories and used them to explain their work with UNLEASH on their own channels.

Example Static Post

Corresponding IG/Facebook Story

Video Video Video

We all know that video has taken over the internet. That is obvious from the uproar on Instagram when still-media creators were forced to make the switch to motion. But in a world where mindless scrolling has become the favourite pastime, it makes sense that the content that grabs attention will hold it longer - cue video. So, when tasked with engaging the current talents in the UNLEASH network and informing potentials, it seemed obvious that we needed more video content. However, while the videos were fun to make and those involved enjoyed participating, we were surprised by the low levels of engagement. Tracking their differences, it seemed that the higher quality content was more successful, but the ratio of cost to engagement was too high and led to deprioritisation. A key takeaway from this project would be earlier budgeting and time allocation for these more involved strategies. When given the time, they succeeded, but when done too quickly in low quality, they did not. 

Personal Talent Video

Chemonics Partner Video

Campaigning for change

After the many global political events of 2020, UNLEASH had several internal conversations about its position as a global hub with a significant following. While discussions began hesitantly, it immediately became clear that it was not only a good strategic move but one based on its own values to take a stand on critical global issues. Thus, our small communications team (myself and the communications manager) took on the enormous task of creating large-scale, cross-media campaigns that would run semi-regularly. The first of these was a campaign on gender that coincided with International Women's Day 2021. These included infographic posts, a panel of experts, and daily stories co-created with talents in the UNLEASH network.

Gender Campaign Instagram Posts

Gender Campaign Panel Discussion

Always Learning

During my time with UNLEASH, my biggest takeaway from social media communications was to invest more time in planning resource allocation for various strategies across the team and include time for evaluation. When done effectively, the content will be higher in quality, you'll know what increases engagement and what doesn't, and teams will have more time to follow through on interactive engagement, such as responding to comments, etc. I also learned the value of batch content creation, which allowed me more time and energy for direct engagement and work on larger projects. Most of all, I saw firsthand how crucial diverse strategies are for content creation, which is why I have invested so much time in broadening my skillset to include videography, design and even UX/UI. To see more of this work, click below!

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