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Atlassian highlights touching ‘Open Stories’ in its first brand campaign


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

May 14, 2019 | 5 min read

Atlassian is encouraging people to ‘work open’ in the software development company’s first-ever brand campaign. The brand’s ‘open’ concept comes to life in a trio of videos that showcase the power of openness in everyday interactions and relationships.

Atlassian Open Stories

Carlyn and Jon are two of the featured 'Open Stories' for Atlassian

Atlassian is putting its name and 'open' concept out for the first time, as the company looks to gain more name recognition beyond the enterprise software world. Even though the Australian company – which has most of its workforce in the San Francisco Bay Area – has products used by over 140,000 companies, many consumers beyond the software space may not know the name nor what it stands for. ‘Open Stories’ hopes to change that.

'Open' is a narrative series featuring stories of people and teams who achieve their goals by embracing an open way of thinking, being and working. The stories are told in long-form blog posts and documentary-style shorts.

The three stories feature: entrepreneur Natalie Egan, a driven entrepreneur who finally learned to embrace her true self and come out as transgender to successfully lead a team and company; Sean Ahlquist, a professor of architecture who used his knowledge of textiles and, with good teamwork, created a technology with the potential to change the lives of kids living with autism; and Jon Ellsworth & Carlyn Dougherty, a Special Forces veteran and Columbia University student, who worked together to develop an app that allows soldiers and medics treating wounded soldiers to quickly and accurately record and exchange notes.

The videos can be difficult to watch at first, as we see the struggles the subjects went through before finding their respective purposes, but ultimately they show that, through teamwork and being open with themselves and their information, they were able to succeed in very human ways.

Atlassian hired four journalists to find stories that would feature the ‘open’ concept – they didn’t need to be techies or clients – and they came back with 21 different options.

“Ultimately, we got down to these three because they spoke most precisely and specifically to the open practices we wanted to showcase and represent for the brand,” said Robert Lodge, senior brand marketing manager at Atlassian. “What was unique about these three was they showed such a wide range of teams and team dynamics. They also show a number of different types of people facing a number of different types of challenges and struggles and using open tenets to overcome them.”

Rather than promoting features and benefits, like many software companies do, Atlassian decided to promote its work style because it’s one of the things that has made the company a global success.

“Open is not just some generic marketing thing. It came from this introspective look at what made us successful and what we believe in. And hopefully we’re starting to spotlight other teams that are embracing the same things with the same potential,” said Lodge.

The company explored what made it successful and found that its openness to share information internally was one of its greatest assets.

“We have a number of different ideas of what it means to work open…things as simple as being open to sharing information. A lot of companies will use information and weaponize it, close off access to a lot of different people so they can have power in certain roles. For us, we believe everyone should have access to all the information they can,” said Lodge.

He added that Atlassian is trying to improve teamwork overall through this brand statement. “All of our tools are designed to unleash the potential of every team. So, we feel very strongly, because it’s something that worked for us…Getting that idea out into the world was really important to us…what our brand represents is the ability to create better teams and help teams work better together through these open practices. By telling these specific stories it gives us a chance to show the kind of open teamwork that ultimately allowed us to get to the point we are today but without talking specifically so much about ourselves.

Atlassian hopes the campaign, done in partnership with Portland-based brand and product innovation agency, Instrument, helps with consumer awareness and to help with its global growth. Over the next 18 to 24 months, it will continue to find and tell more inspiring ‘open’ stories.

See the stories by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

Atlassian: Open Stories by Instrument

By Atlassian

Overall Rating 4/5

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