Finding chemistry: A case study of one PR agency’s relationship with a B2B publisher
When C&EN BrandLab burst onto the scene in 2017, several PR agencies wondered out loud how they were going to coexist with this custom content studio. C&EN BrandLab was in the business of creating content for advertisers. How would two groups of creatives get along?
C&EN BrandLab quickly established how it fit with other agencies. In fact, one of C&EN BrandLab’s biggest projects to date was in partnership with a PR agency, Ogilvy.
Lighting the creative spark
One of Ogilvy’s clients, The Chemours Company, was interested in putting its stamp on the chemical enterprise. A spin off from the merger between Dow and Dupont, Chemours asked Ogilvy to help it build its brand recognition in the specialty chemicals arena. Ogilvy approached C&EN BrandLab to create content that raised the company’s profile in the eyes of chemists. The first project went on to become such a resounding success that Ogilvy renewed its partnership with C&EN BrandLab for a second year.
Ogilvy knew its client’s objectives and goals intimately. C&EN BrandLab, housed within the C&EN newsmagazine, understood what types of stories would resonate with chemists, Chemours’ target audience. Over the course of two years, both teams built on the strengths of the other with a common goal: creating content that had staying power in the minds of chemists. “The C&EN BrandLab team was communicative and highly collaborative throughout our partnership. They were consistently willing to push themselves to ensure we met (and exceeded) our client’s objectives,” says Clarissa Lampertz, Account Director at Ogilvy.
First, the partners came up with the “Future of Chemistry” series.The series looked at how chemistry would help advance areas such as global communications, living spaces, and frontier explorations. The two teams took the following steps to execute the campaign:
- Editors at the PR agency and at C&EN BrandLab brainstormed story ideas that were both interesting and technical enough to appeal to C&EN readers, and also made sense for Chemours’ sponsorship.
- C&EN BrandLab commissioned their science writers to write a total of 9 stories for the series. The editors at C&EN BrandLab directed the scientific focus of the stories and ensured their scientific accuracy.
- Ogilvy editors worked on the narrative arc of the stories.
- Both teams collaborated with C&EN BrandLab’s designers to decide on art elements and the visual presentation for each story.
- Ogilvy editors used C&EN BrandLab’s content as anchors to develop companion content. They used the sponsored piece in Chemours’ internal communications network, and on the company’s external website, boosting SEO
- Both teams made sure the stories were widely distributed among C&EN’s readership through a variety of promotional assets, including C&EN’s print and digital platforms and social media channels.
Taking it to the next level
Bolstered by the first campaign’s success, Chemours decided to renew the campaign for the following year. This time, the partners decided to go bolder and create a series that was unusual and thrilling for the reader. The result: the “Chemistry of Delight” series. The team focused on the different chemistries that come into play in several leisure activities, bringing out the unique chemistry of outdoor music festivals, spending a day at an amusement park and traveling.
The two teams went through a similar, collaborative process as they did for the “Future of Chemistry” series to craft the pieces. This time, the editors wanted to present different reading experiences in print and digital formats. They spent a lot of time creating multimedia options for the digital version of the stories. C&EN BrandLab took on the responsibility of creating the multimedia elements and ensuring their scientific accuracy.
By working directly with a publisher in this way, Ogilvy and Chemours could take advantage of C&EN Media Group’s design and production teams, which are well-oiled machines in producing both print and digital content that is highly engaging.
Once again, the series was a success. Both campaigns were shortlisted for prestigious awards, and most recently won two AM&P EXCEL awards.
Excellence in partnerships
Together, Ogilvy and C&EN BrandLab were able to help Chemours make a high-profile entrance onto the speciality chemicals stage and stay in the limelight for two years – and counting.
Behind the scenes, the two groups became like-minded teammates who found a creative synergy. As Jeremy Katz, Worldwide Editorial Director at Ogilvy, says, “If our experience is any guide, they excel at working in partnership with agencies, and together we produced effective content that our client was proud to sponsor.”
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