Creating a Brand Newsroom for Walmart … In Two Weeks or Less

The company has more than 2.2 million associates around the globe (roughly 5,000 of which would be in Arkansas for this event), and was looking for a way to capture and share their stories, quickly and at scale. To make this happen, Walmart tapped Pace, as we already create the Walmart World internal employee communications program, and asked us to assemble a real-time newsroom for the event to produce associate stories for publication across a variety of digital internal and external channels. In the process, we learned a few things:

The Walmart event in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the Bud Walton Arena.

Client and Agency Collaboration is Key

Going into the assignment our client bet on us, just as much as we bet on them. We are a team and together we collaborated fully to organize and quickly pull together a cross-functional team to deliver on this whirlwind project.  The details mattered and through candid, proactive dialogue and quickly aligned objectives, the client/agency team worked together to make sure the many details (work flow, schedules, credentials, event access, real-time reviews and approvals etc.) were carefully put into place, propping the team up for success as we dove into planning and execution.

Content Creation with a Focus on Speed—and Quality

Organizing a real-time brand newsroom on short notice is no small task, and it all started with building the team and editorial process. We leveraged our network of existing editors to create a process and hierarchy to define how we would seek, develop, and manage a huge amount of content in a short week. Seasoned writers, photographers, and video crews were brought on board to provide creative support for text and visual storytelling. In less than a week, we created a team of 20 writers, 5 editors, 15 photographers/video crew, brought the entire team up to speed on duties, expectations, and responsibilities, and then journeyed to the largest Shareholders’ meeting in the world to capture the “real” Walmart.

Behind the Scenes: Publishing Systems and Process

At the same time that we were getting the ideal team structure in place, we needed a quick, easy, and portable publishing technology platform to streamline our workflow, and partner with Kapost to make that happen. In a fast-paced and dynamic situation such as a live brand newsroom, the most talented content creators are only as good as the system and process around them, so a considerable effort was focused on mapping the right publishing platform to the needs of the newsroom.

In the days leading up to the event, we worked closely with the team at Kapost to create a customized workflow for story capture, editing, photography, and client approvals. The system centralized all content so that approvals happened quickly and content was instantaneously available for immediate distribution on Walmart’s multiple websites and YouTube channels.

Real-Time Results

In the course of less than five days, the Walmart and Pace brand newsroom team collected more than 575 stories, 2,500+ photos, and 27 videos—over delivering against the client’s expectations and capturing some wonderful stories in the process.

Beyond the initial posting, the story content has multiple uses and applications—including supporting Walmart’s corporate communications initiatives such as the Real Walmart campaign, which is in motion today. This high volume of compelling stories produced will continue to be distributed throughout the month of June.

Be sure to check out some of the associate stories on the Walmart Corporate YouTube channel.

By Amy Adams

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