DNA Gets National Addy Gold and a Bronze Effie For The First Time Ever!
At DNA, we aim to create impact that moves people, business and culture forward. With the power of creativity as the through thread, we believe impact comes in many flavors ranging from influencing conversations and culture, driving sales, instigating behavior change, and building iconic and beloved brands that stand the test of time to name but a few. Although our drive for impact and shared desire to leave our mark is the prize we chase day in and day out, I admit that recognition for our ideas and the tireless teams that create them are welcomed validation and motivation that we’re moving in the right direction. To that end, we are stoked to share two significant awards earned this past month for creativity and effectiveness–DNA’s first ever National Gold Addy for our work on Tableau’s TC21 conference and a Bronze Effie for our life-changing work on Project:SugarFree on behalf of StolenYouth. Adding to our excitement is that these two awarded ideas couldn’t be more different from one another.
Tableau’s annual conference (aka TC) is THE yearly gathering for data lovers and visualization nerds with multiple days of live inspiration and epic entertainment celebrating the power of data visualization for analysts, executives and innovators across a wide range of industries cultivating valuable moments of community connection. When Covid forced TC21 to pivot from IRL to virtual, Tableau Software challenged us with an ambitious brief–ensuring that Tableau Conference doesn’t lose its epic quality and end up feeling like a three day Zoom meeting. Our success would be based on CSAT scores (customer satisfaction), tasking us to keep attendees engaged and inspired across three days of programming, and doing it all with the fun-loving, eccentric spirit that Tableau is known for. Buried deep in the feedback surveys of past Tableau Conference attendees, we found the data driven gem that music was a high scoring element of past conferences. This nugget sparked the team’s creativity to celebrate Data Visualization–the world’s most advanced storytelling tool–by using one of the oldest storytelling tools out there–the universal power of music. Key themes around community and the democratization of data were conveyed in the form of hooky, playful songs filled with data-inspired lyrics that got our attendees up out of their virtual seats. We called this idea, ‘Let’s All Data’ and brought it to life through a dozen originally composed songs on a number of data-related topics. To bring our songs to life and to the small screen, we assembled a genre-bending, improvisational band who could play everything from metal to funk. After rehearsing the band and planning out one massive integrated shoot, we produced multiple pieces of content to be spread throughout the three day event, some of which featured remote performances from Tableau’s musically-inclined community members. Each of the three days started with a fully-produced music video to tee up the day’s marquee content and included short form musical content as interstitials to be played during breaks and in between keynote speakers. The impact of our creatively differentiated approach exceeded established CSAT goals and the conference slack channel blew up with declarations of delight and engagement ranging from–“Probably one of the funnest conferences! #Data21” to “Omg I’m going to need a copy of all these songs,” to a personal favorite of ours, “This is not what I expected out of a conference for data analytics tools.” As recognized by the National Addy’s, a change in plans doesn’t mean you need to change your ambition and when you lean into creativity, in this case in the power of music, impact will follow.
Like the Monty Python film, Now for Something Completely Different, earning a Bronze Effie for our AI-driven solution to a devastating societal problem, child sex trafficking. Project:SugarFree underscores that impact really does come in different flavors and unlike so many “increase sales” marketing goals, our impact aims at reducing sales in the nefarious industry of sex trafficking by interrupting one its most pervasive and effective on-ramps, “sugaring”. “Sugaring” is an innovative and dangerous online practice where traffickers assert the illusion of an attractive lifestyle in “mutually beneficial relationships” in exchange for easy fast money thereby grooming young, often disenfranchised victims through glamorized prostitution. These predatory traffickers turn to social media to amplify their efforts and reach people under the guise of anonymity where they can then open direct conversations with potential victims. The Effie awarded effectiveness of Project Sugar-free is not only due to the innovative AI solution but also in the creative and insightful problem identification that led our social data intelligence team to identify this “sugaring” dynamic in the first place. While analyzing datasets for a financial services brand, we noticed a surge in “SugarBaby”-related posts among our brand’s social mentions. Here were exploiters, flagrantly soliciting sex for cash and tagging banks in their posts. We quickly connected the dots and got to work. Because “Sugaring” is such a pervasive onramp to child sex trafficking, our goal is to intervene, educate and prevent more youth from being trafficked. To achieve this aim, we created an AI Twitter bot that detects and deters “sugarbaby” conversations through educating and empowering victims and reporting exploiters resulting in de-platformed traffickers and lives saved and sales interrupted. Project Sugar-free was developed in partnership with Stolen Youth; however, it was sparked by a culture driven to leave a mark and think outside the confines of an assignment.
As different as these two awarded ideas are in terms of approach and outcome, they share the same DNA in that both are born out of DNA’s culture as an organization engineered for impact and committed to creativity. If that is what winning this new hardware celebrates, we’ll happily accept it, enjoy it, and humbly brag about what we did to earn it.