North Highland helped a leading cable communications provider design a public "FutureForward" event aimed at combining stakeholder perspectives in building a vision for the future of innovation in Colorado. This marketing effort helped to position the client's brand as an enabler of innovation and an integral part of the community.
A Media, Entertainment and Communications Case Study
A leading cable communications provider identified an opportunity to elevate its brand beyond the role of “service provider,” positioning itself instead as a proactive enabler of innovation and forward-thinking discussion.
To this end, the company sought to develop a targeted marketing effort that would place it in an active, visible role in a key community in which it operates— orchestrating conversations about issues that transcend the scope of telecommunications services.
The client engaged Sparks Grove, North Highland’s Experience Division, to design a strategic event and accompanying deliverables that would accomplish this purpose—fueled by the insights and diverse perspectives of community members, including business leaders, government workers, and educators.
Every element of the "FutureForward" event was carefully designed and executed to position the client as a driver of innovation. The event featured discussion among six community leaders in a transparent glass “Think Tank." The Think Tank, placed on a busy street in Denver, was visually distinctive and made the event highly visible to pedestrians.
In the Think Tank session, the Sparks Grove team crafted strategic, guided 20-minute discussions aimed at producing specific, tailored insight. Topics of discussion included housing, access to education, and policy regulation. Using Sparks Grove's Futures methodology, each dialogue was aimed at identifying underlying opportunities in these areas, through an approach based on identifying emerging trends, determining critical uncertainties, and developing future scenarios.
Sparks Grove then helped to extrapolate this feedback, in guiding participants towards defining a manifesto for the future of Colorado. Sustainable energy, next-generation connectivity, microbusinesses, open-source spaces—as well as a focus on innovation to break existing norms—all characterized the future state that the participants defined.
The team also produced a video that captured learnings from the event and generated brand visibility across the client’s geographic markets. This video was anchored in the perspective of a fictitious child named Zephyr. Throughout the event, the team filmed both discussion sessions and community members engaging with the event. Using this footage, Sparks Grove crafted a narrative that brought the future manifesto to life through Zephyr’s eyes.
By fusing the diverse perspectives of community stakeholders in focused, time-stamped conversations, Sparks Grove placed the client at the center of a robust discussion about common issues across the community – issues not directly related to the client’s services, but issues that helped the client to connect with customers around the common purpose of securing a positive future. Through these purposeful discussions that produced actionable, meaningful insight, the team helped to position the client as an integral component of the local community.
The glass Think Tank physically reinforced the client’s position as a forward-thinker, challenging the convention of brick-and-mortar with a transparent structure that made discussions visible and better integrated within the broader community.
Ultimately, throughout the course of the event and in the resulting video, the client generated meaningful human engagement. By bringing Colorado stakeholders together in conversations about the future, Sparks Grove helped to elevate the organization’s brand position beyond the role of service provider.