Preparing leaders for the shift to hybrid work
How the Work Trend Index report established Microsoft as a future-of-work leader
The year 2020 changed everything — from how we work to how we live. But in 2021, business leaders faced perhaps the greatest challenge of all: the shift to hybrid work. Employees needed to feel valued and heard. And as company leaders wrestled with how to marry in-person and remote work policies, they needed an entirely new playbook to navigate business continuity and employee engagement.
As a global technology company deeply invested in the future of work, Microsoft recognized its unique position to help. In March 2021, Microsoft published its first annual Work Trend Index, a groundbreaking, data-backed report that identified the most urgent insights about workplace dynamics that signaled what was coming next and what leaders needed to pay attention to.
Our objectives: give business leaders the guidance they needed for the shift to hybrid work — and drive customer awareness and adoption of Microsoft’s technology solutions that support an evolving workplace. But the airwaves were crowded, and countless return-to-work studies were met with moderate media interest at best. We needed to shape a fresh story to break through.
Robust research and insights informed our three-pronged campaign strategy:
- Led with messaging that tapped into the emotional toll of a year working remotely and what was at stake for employers that didn’t adapt to employees’ changed expectations. This enabled us to infiltrate the cultural conversation and drive broader relevance.
- Created durable content designed to catch attention and drive long-tail conversation and impact to lead an important and ongoing dialogue on the future of work.
- Aligned the Work Trend Index with Microsoft headquarters’ own return-to-work plans as business leaders looked to tech industry to lead by example and to create a more holistic story that would break through.
WE executed a 360-degree global media campaign that drove coverage in the top outlets business leaders read and dominated the airways across online, broadcast and social platforms. We extended and amplified our news with third-party advocacy, contributed placements, and executive speaking engagements at the events most attended by business leaders.
We accomplished our objectives of guiding business leaders in their shift to hybrid work and driving customer awareness and adoption of Microsoft’s technology solutions.
- Owning the conversation:
- 320 placements, 110M impressions and 100% positive-to-neutral sentiment.
- Coverage in 28 of the top 30 publications read by business decision-makers, with 55% of online coverage to date appearing in business or general news outlets.
- 5x increase in online coverage volume and 2x increase in social shares in the 6 months following launch.
- Driving business impact and engagement:
- 754K views of the Work Trend Index with a 21% CTR — well above the 3% industry baseline.
- 3x increase in speaking event and interview requests, including an earned keynote at CNBC@Work attended by over 300 business decision-makers.
- The Work Trend Index fueled the marketing funnel and customer acquisition efforts, including Microsoft’s Hybrid Playbook, which CEO Satya Nadella presented to 200+ CEOs and potential customers.
- Asserting thought leadership:
- 29% increase in share of voice for Microsoft in the hybrid work conversation.
- 14x increase in Microsoft social mentions in relation to hybrid work in the week following the launch.
- 13K+ followers who engaged with CEO Satya Nadella’s LinkedIn post, driving conversation among CEOs, founders, CEO advisors and other business decision-makers.
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