Who they are
Well Told Story (WTS) is a leading media and social impact company based in Kenya and Tanzania. Their comic books and radio services currently reach 75% of 15 to 24-year olds in Kenya alone, with an aim to strengthen youth confidence and agency.
We were put in touch with WTS by one of their backers in August 2017 when the company decided to shift focus from their offline offer (comic-books and radio broadcasts) to a digital, interaction-based model using social media channels and an SMS service.
Since launching, WTS’s offline offering had grown impressively – reaching 75% of 15- to 24-year olds across Kenya. WTS and their investors saw the potential for even broader reach (and greater social impact) by developing a digital offering.
As an organisation, WTS was already forward thinking about the relationship and interaction with its audience. For instance, they have a research partnership in place with Cambridge University, which includes studying sentiment analysis – assessing how likely a member of their audience is to adopt a certain point of view on a subject, based on their use of language.
That said, they also knew they needed help assessing the risks and obligations that would have to be addressed when they initiated digital interactions with their audience. For instance, through the SMS service, their audience had started to communicate with WTS characters – sometimes sharing sensitive and very personal messages of admiration and desire in video or photo format – and WTS had to quickly put something in place to protect their audience and themselves in relation to that sensitive data.
At the time of introduction, WTS had identified the four types of online products they wanted to create and had set up a digital team—but none of the products were live or had been fully developed for launch and use by the public.
For the development and successful launch of their new digital products, WTS and their investors needed our help to ensure the new products and services they were developing upheld and protected the rights of their users, whilst still maximising their social impact.
What we did
After developing and agreeing a scope of work, we entered the discovery phase with WTS. Using a short questionnaire and a series of remote consultations with their team, we quickly learned their brief for the four new digital products and the planned data architecture of the organisation. We then developed a report detailing their national legal requirements and international best practices, relevant to the four new product streams, along with our recommendations on policy, tech, internal capacity and communications.
WTS then asked us to work with them on the implementation phase of those recommendations. We developed and agreed a second work plan with WTS, which included a 2-day, in-person session with their team. Ahead of that session we drafted all policy and comms pieces, and during the 2-day session we discussed and reviewed all pre-drafted policy material and delivered training – both company-wide and specific to the digital team – to increase their capacity to develop and implement online products and services in line with the new statements and policies.
WTS digital products and services now meet national legal requirements and international best practice, minimising risk for the company and their investors, and protecting their audience too. They now have firm internal policies and procedures in place, ensuring that any future product development will meet their standards, and we have given them the internal knowledge, skills and capacity to maintain this in the future. Furthermore, we enabled the WTS team to build even greater trust with their audience as they continue to communicate clearly and transparently around their ethos and use of data.