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How QuickBooks partnered with Vox Media to equip small business owners with information and inspiration to not just survive, but thrive through the pandemic and beyond

A case study on the “Shift Happens” campaign – which led to a 33 point lift in favorability and 66 point lift in consideration for the brand.

Objective

Throughout 2020, 92% of small businesses had to pivot in order to survive as a result of the ongoing pandemic. To bring awareness to how QuickBooks can help small business owners navigate complex business scenarios, the brand partnered with Vox Media to bring to life stories of 16 small businesses and how they’ve shifted their livelihoods in the new ‘Shift Happens’ campaign. This custom content program was also developed and executed in partnership with Omnicom Media Group’s The Content Collective and Hearts & Science.

The goal of the campaign was to show how QuickBooks provides real value, information, and inspiration to help ‘make shift happen,’ especially for BIPOC- and female-owned small businesses who have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.

Idea

At the heart of the campaign were four short documentary profile videos that go in-depth on small business owners from across the U.S., where we meet:

Hearts & Bones: A non-profit dog rescue near Dallas, Texas, co-founded by Whitney Fang, that transports stray dogs to New York to find their furever homes. Using QuickBooks, they streamlined their operations in order to accommodate a higher-demand for dog adoptions during the pandemic, where they saw the number of dogs they typically rescue double.


Progeny Coffee: Maria Palacio, a working mom and fifth-generation Columbian coffee farmer, started a B2B coffee business with her husband to close the gap between the price of coffee and the wages the farmers are paid. During the pandemic, they used QuickBooks to get more insight into tracking finances and shift their business more to direct-to-consumer eCommerce as their B2B revenue dropped nearly 97 percent in one day.


Claima Stories: Quitting a reliable day-job to devote himself full-time, Bimma Williams co-founded the Claima Stories podcast to provide a platform that both amplifies the voices of BIPOC entrepreneurs and creatives, and also exposes young people from diverse backgrounds to the career opportunities in the creative industry. In the video, we see how QuickBooks helps Bimma feel more confident when making big decisions for his business.


Sky Ting: A yoga studio, founded by Krissy Jones and Chloe Kernaghan — two female entrepreneurs with the mission to bring a sense of community back to NYC. Considered somewhat of “another team member for them,” QuickBooks allowed the company to focus more of their time on their virtual classes as they re-invent new ways of bringing their community back together during the pandemic.


To further diversify and amplify the small business stories being told, QuickBooks also worked with Vox Creative, Vox Media’s brand studio, to create a custom hub that served as a service-oriented business guide, housing a range of topics related to small businesses from Vox Media’s networks, such as financial news (Vox), wellness (The Cut), and restaurants (Eater) – leading to strong performance for the brand. The hub saw strong performance, with an average engagement time of 4 minutes, 20 seconds, speaking to the strength of the article topics featured, diverse range of small business stories that encouraged readers to consume more content across all the three editorial brands in one location.

Results

In partnering with Vox Media, QuickBooks was able to tell these stories at scale, across a number of topically diverse networks, the Vox Media Podcast Network, and Concert which were able to move the needle for brand favorability, especially among QuickBooks’ target audience of business decision makers.

On the audio front, we created a custom podcast segment, featuring a small business pivot success story from restaurant owners (and QuickBooks users) Chris Bleidorn and Aarti Shetty, that was distributed across our premium business and thought leader shows including: Pivot, Decoder, Vox Conversations, and Today, Explained.

To further support the small businesses featured in the campaign, Vox Media donated media and creative services, creating custom Athena units (Vox Media’s proprietary ad unit) to run across the Concert premium ad marketplace — leading to over 2 million impressions for the small businesses.