A Little Bird Told Me… A Lesson in Out of Office Storytelling

By Seema Sharma, Creative Director, Edelman Amsterdam.

We like to think of ourselves as grown up ‘storytellers’ at Edelman Amsterdam, but over the past few months – while school has been out  – we’ve been using our ‘out of office’ ability to craft a good yarn to help our kids (as well as our clients) make sense of a lot of stuff which really doesn’t make sense in the world right now.

When your kid is as intellectually curious as my three year old, you can expect literally any question to crop up anytime from breakfast-time to bedtime – from how people get into space to why ‘the virus’ has stopped him from going outside or seeing his friends or grandparents. It’s amazing what they pick up.

Us creatives, used to music blaring and art directors, videographers and strategists to bounce off have also had to adjust to working from home.  We always need a sparring partner or two and during these strange few months my son and the persona ‘the virus’ has taken on have been a couple of mine…

The reality of having to share my ‘desk’ and have lunch with a small ‘colleague’ who asks very honest questions about how life is today has absolutely played a part when it comes to helping clients from tech companies to lifestyle brands find the creative routes that will engage their audiences – all in the same boat, more or less – across the globe in these strange times.

However, my little boy’s endless questions about ‘the virus’ also fueled further conversations with workmates with kids. They’d also faced the same dilemma of how to talk about their fears, worries, hopes and the things we take for granted at home on a range of topics this year – and this sparked an idea.

With well documented research, including arguments recently set out by The New York Times suggesting that ‘it’s our mind-set’ about stress that matters most – the idea of writing and illustrating an online book for kids (and parents) on how to change our mindsets in tough circumstances was born.

Between Teams calls and emails – we put a shout out to assemble the creative genius of mums, dads, carers, homeschool ‘teachers’ and marketing and communications professionals in our ‘virtual office’ – who’d all talked to their kids at home about the situation – to create our first ever kid’s story book.

The result, Tommy and the Blue Bird is designed to help kids as well as parents understand that if we embrace our worries, it can only make us stronger. Click this link to read the book via your mobile phone/tablet.

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Leave a Reply