Through a 30-second spot for AT&T, Courageous – the branded content studio unit of WarnerMedia, was tasked with finding a way to showcase that the mobile network company was there for its customers during a time of need, the Covid-19 crisis, in a way that was authentic to the brand.

What resulted was an ad that featured front-line workers and how AT&T was helping them solve business and technology problems on the fly. According to  SVP of news content partnerships for WarnerMedia Ad Sales and head of Courageous Studios Michal Shapira, speaking to Beet.TV, the storytelling was “relevant and passionate,”

More brands are turning to Courageous for help navigating their communications and marketing strategies during Covid-19. The branded content studio, with its ties to CNN, has journalism at its DNA, says Shapira, and it uses those instincts and tactics to develop cultural stories on behalf of brands. In any environment, brands are looking to relay interesting, purpose-driven and relevant stories to customers. Now, the stakes are higher, customers are in a rapidly evolving and uncertain time and the risk of coming off as tone deaf or insensitive is a one weighing heavily on brands.

“We’ve helped our clients develop purpose-driven campaigns that are authentic. It’s natural to us at a time when a lot of brands are looking to do that type of campaign or creative, and want to tell their own purpose-driven stories as they relate to the health crisis,” says Shapira. The biggest challenge, for Courageous as well as the brands, is being nimble enough to respond when the situation changes. “What might work today may not work two weeks from now,” she says.

Finding and sending the right message is part of the battle. Data analytics still need to inform purpose-driven marketing. Courageous works with Xandr to deliver branded content to the right audiences. In addition to targeting, Xandr provides data on audiences that can help brands inform their creative campaigns ensuring that content isn’t uniform.

Shapira says that this approach helps brands maintain a presence during an undeniably difficult time for advertising.

“A lot of [brands] feel strongly about having a presence right now, and not going dark,” she says. “Their customers want to hear from them; they want to be there for them and we want to help them do that.”

This video is part of a Beet.TV series  titled “Audience, in Context,” presented by Xandr.  For more videos please visit this page.