THE EVER BETTER CHALLENGE

“Carl Sagan + Mister Rogers + Kermit the Frog”

Evernote » 2019

— SKILLS EMPLOYED —

ACD / On-Camera Talent / Editorial Direction / Podcasting

We are the sum of our habits.

A new year is a time for transformation. We see the season as an opportunity to cast off our problems, start fresh, and become better versions of ourselves. And we make resolutions to commit to change—but rarely see them through.

One of the most popular resolutions is to get more organized, making the New Year a perfect time to adopt a knowledge management app like Evernote. My team set out to develop a content campaign that could drive attention and build engagement through the critical first weeks of the year.

“Finish for a change.”

Our insight was that most New Year’s resolutions fail because they lack planning, process, and accountability. We all enter the year with enthusiasm, but most of us give up as soon as the going gets tough. To help people tackle this problem, we created the Ever Better Challenge, a free 30-day program to build better habits and make them stick, with Evernote as the centerpiece.

The strategy had three main parts. First, we positioned Evernote as a thought leader through social and psychological insights. Second, we gave viewers a set of simple yet powerful tools to get them started on their goals. Third, we gave viewers emotional reasons to make Evernote part of their daily routine, and encouragement to keep going.

EBC-logo-fireworks

A Self-Help Carl Sagan

I was the public face of the program, starring in playful videos, podcast interviews, and a series of Instagram stories. My glasses and bow tie became signature branding assets for the program on social media. And as leader of the content writing team, I also provided editorial oversight for all scripts and copy.

For the videos, I developed a screen persona inspired by Carl Sagan, Mister Rogers, and Kermit the Frog. The goal was to come across as trustworthy, but also empathetic, supportive, and fun. It worked. The kickoff video amassed 330,000 views across platforms.

Elegant, yet scrappy

We built the campaign in-house and on a shoestring budget. Besides the YouTube and Instagram videos, our 10-person team produced specialized note templates, multiple podcasts, and parallel article series for our corporate blog and Medium channel. We built an interactive landing page to host it all and drove traffic with email newsletters that reached over 5 million people.

Japanese woodblock prints inspired the campaign’s visual identity. Rustic images of fireworks, ocean voyages, and the four classical elements (earth, air, fire, and water) conveyed a positive story through universal symbols, and added a calming spirit to all our content.

ebc-snail-2

We shot the videos in the Evernote office. We rearranged a conference room to look like a living room, and our building’s gym pulled double duty for workout scenes and as a bedroom set. Props—from elephant slippers to a marimba—were all supplied by members of the Evernote team.

EBC-BTS-2

Off-camera, I interviewed two New York Times bestselling authors, James Clear and John Zeratsky, for the company podcast, Focus Culture. The podcast reached #49 in Apple’s competitive Society & Culture category during the campaign.

EBC_Instagram-static2

“You want actual results... and so do we.”

The cornerstones of the campaign were authenticity and candor. On our blog, a copywriter from my team took the Ever Better Challenge himself, giving readers an intimate view as he worked to change his eating habits. On Instagram, a diverse group of influencers showcased their habit changes and rallied their followers to join the movement. And a Facebook group set up for the Challenge brought over 1,400 people together in a community of mutual support.

Together we shared our struggles, celebrated our successes, and ended our 30 days better than we began.

Results

“A series that intrinsically hooks people in… even if people are not currently doing the programme, the videos still offer helpful and motivating advice for generally doing your best.”

— Econsultancy

  • Mentions in Good Housekeeping, VentureBeat, Econsultancy, SF Egotist, and Elite Daily.
  • Over 350,000 landing page visits.
  • 98% positive sentiment on social media.
  • 38% rise in social media engagement over the previous January.
  • More than 60,000 notes created from campaign templates.
  • 1,400 members in campaign Facebook group.

Team

Creative Direction
Jonathan Woytek, Forrest Bryant

Design
DJ Murphy, Nathan Au

Copywriting
Brian Daignault, Anthony Bartlett

Video & Animation
Joshua Kidwell

Social Media
Melissa Santiago, Dorothy Spira

Producer
Stacy Leigh Bailey

Explore Fo's Folio

Writing SamplesVarious Projects

Repackaging EvernoteCreative Direction / Copywriting

Focus CultureEditorial / Strategy / Talent

Evernote Brand RefreshEditorial Direction

Coffee & Quill SocietyCreative Direction / Copywriting

Super Secret Stuff!Internal & Unpublished Work