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.