's Brands-Only Summit is an annual event featuring 16 peer-to-peer collaborative workshops, 12 how-to classes, 12 real-world case studies, 3 brilliant authors, and 2 amazing keynotes. To learn more, visit

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In his Brands-Only Summit presentation, Microsoft's Social Media Manager, Rob Wolf, shares how they use creative brand storytelling to cut through the social noise to achieve business objectives.

He explains their brand journalism strategy from deciding on a clear agenda and finding the right storytellers, to building anticipation and sharing the message via social.

Below is live coverage of this session:

— Rob starts his presentation with Storytelling at Microsoft: We have a big story to tell. We have 16 businesses at Microsoft that do over a billion dollars a year. Consistent storytelling is critical. Our storytelling platforms: social channels (primarily Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), Microsoft News Center (corporate blog, executive bios, the official news source), (long form and visual content)

— Rob: We all have to ask ourselves, “What do we want people to believe?” We need to have a clear understanding of that. We have a storytelling agenda (our devices work together, it’s a great place to work).

— Rob: Welcome to Nobody Cares, population 6 billion: We need to entice our customers to talk about the things that matter to them. How do we get them to care? We build anticipation. Product reveals that lead to folks reading the blog, behind the scenes (testing products), YouTube “On the Whiteboard: Kill your PC”, feature demos, and external validation.

— Rob: Brand journalism tells the stories as we would like them to be told. We use social to drive people to the story.

-– Rob: Deep dive: We’re on 88 acres (how to manage all of the Microsoft buildings) and 150,000 page views. We talk about reducing energy consumption and corporate responsibility.

-– Rob: Your story is out there. I would encourage you to find it.

Q & A:

Q: How is the storytelling group set up and across different business units?

A: Rob: We report to VP of Communications (Chief Storyteller) and each business unit has a manager/editor.

Q: How do you find storytellers at Microsoft?

A: Rob: You have sales, marketing, and HR. Find someone who’s doing something amazing with our products. It’s not too hard to find the first few, but it becomes easier as people want to tell their story. It has to be an interesting story with a conflict, hero, and resolution — not just a press release with pictures.

Q: How often are you evaluating getting customers to care?

A: Rob: We always ask: Could we have reached these people through existing platforms?

Q: Do you have a vetting process for telling stories?

A:Rob: It has to serve our storytelling objectives. It helps to have a visual we can build a story around.

Q: How do you parse out how much time you give to different business units?

A: Rob: It’s not scientific. It just needs to be interesting.

Q: What are you measuring besides page views?

A: Rob: We’ll look at media pickup, for example, how much does it drive business, is it a conversation for our sales force? We need to look at old-school surveys to see how our stories are resonating. Some measurement is still done best the old way.

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