Thought Leadership: Verizon Media Academy and Decoded

Clear Hayes was named Verizon Media‘s agency of record in February 2020, tasked with helping enhance its PR and marketing strategy across ANZ.

The first few weeks were spent honing a strategy based around two existing tentpole events – Decoded and Verizon Media Academy. But, with preparations well underway, COVID-19 struck, forcing Australia into lockdown and throwing plans into chaos.

Budgets were cut in half, but we knew there had never been a more important time to get trusted expert knowledge to the market to help them adapt to working remotely and having to completely rethink working practices. It needed to be done well, but quickly.

Within 10 days we’d worked with the Verizon Media team to evolve the strategy, taking two exclusive events and turning them into open and inclusive webinar series featuring local and international experts – leading the implementation and running of the technology needed to do this.

This new ‘human and helpful’ approach delivered record results for Verizon Media.

Decoded Series

We identified the opportunity created by lockdown to reach beyond our local shores and tap into top international thought leaders, to create even more appeal and differentiation for an already interesting series.

We secured former Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser for the second webinar Identity Decoded, which also featured Optus’ CMO and >an ex-hacker, and attracted 1,200 viewers, a massive number for the Australian industry and considerably more than a major conference keynote address.

The subsequent Recovery & Reemergence sessions starred ex-Unilever CMO Keith Weed in an exclusive interview, and a practical recovery planning workshop with strategy agency Saintsmiths (another Clear Hayes client).

Over five events we attracted 2,500+ attendees, got an average usefulness score above 4 out of 5, hugely expanding Verizon Media’s database and creating unprecedented engagement with brands directly.

In a testament to its effectiveness, this hugely successful strategy is now being copied in Verizon Media’s other global markets.


Verizon Media Academy

We led Verizon Media’s evolution of its exclusive, skills-based program – originally planned for 40 attendees at a live event – to a whole-industry online masterclass series, offering practical skills training on resilience, remote working and personal branding.

We understood that speed was of the essence as people struggled to adapt, and the first masterclass went live 10 days into lockdown and immediately captured the zeitgeist. Six webinars covered pertinent topics from increasing resilience, staying connected with colleagues and how to build your personal brand.

These sessions drew 1,600+ (40x original audience) attendees and we’re now producing a podcast with the content for global syndication.

We subsequently adapted some of these into the Build Brand You podcast series.

Returning in 2021 VMA Masterclasses continued to be a popular pillar for the business, with Clear Hayes helping to attract expert speakers including Cindy Gallop and Claire Salvetti to share their wisdom with an eager audience of more than 1,000 viewers.

Plans for 2022 are already underway.