As I prepare for my talk at Red Hat Summit 2019, I can’t help but think about what led to today.
Since the moment you arrived at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for Red Hat Summit (or watched the livestream if you couldn’t join us in person) you’ve experienced the efforts of Red Hat’s Marketing Communications team. This is the big game for us, and we work all year long to deliver an immersive, creative experience to showcase what Red Hat and the open source community are up to.
But we don’t do it in a vacuum. It takes a multitude of internal teams, stakeholders, and external collaborators to bring this to life. It takes the Red Hat Open Studio.
When I joined Red Hat in 1999, our Marketing Communications team was a fraction of the 180+ associates we have grown to today. Our once-small team has blossomed into a full-service internal marketing agency with an open, agile approach and a laundry list of capabilities.
The Red Hat Open Studio is more than just another name for our Marketing Communications team. It's not just a group of people. It's not a specific set of skills.
What makes the Red Hat Open Studio unique is our way of working.
It’s become clear to me over the years that everyone’s creative, and even if they don’t see it, they bring that creativity to their jobs every day. Creativity is seeing things in a new way. It’s bringing together familiar things and turning them into something entirely new. The Red Hat Open Studio brings together a diverse group of people, all with unique perspectives and talents, to tell the Red Hat story.
But this isn’t anything new. This is how Red Hat has always worked. Our entire organization is built on the principles that govern open source technology communities—principles like collaboration, participation, and transparency. (Although you don’t often see open source principles applied to marketing.)
Just as Red Hat harnesses innovation from hundreds of open source communities, all working together to contribute code that shapes our products, the Red Hat Open Studio harnesses the creativity of those we work with to bring our stories to life. And we collaborate with a community of creative-minded associates—from across our company and beyond—to simplify, unify, and amplify Red Hat’s communications. That’s why we in the Red Hat Open Studio say creativity is our code.
I’ve felt for a while that tech marketing and communications need a jolt of authenticity, truth, and distinctiveness. Since our inception, we've seen growth and evolution, investments in new technological capabilities, a changing profile of competitive brands (many adopting open source technology), and ever-increasing expectations on the part of savvy audiences. Throughout these shifts, I've continually challenged Red Hatters to tell stories that remain authentic.
While this may sound great as a concept, what really matters is how this works in practice. And Red Hat Open Studio is full of examples.
Command Line Heroes
In early 2018, we launched an original podcast dedicated to telling stories of people who transform technology from the command line up. What makes Command Line Heroes special is we don’t develop it in a vacuum. We involve the community and feature both internal and external experts to bring each episode to life. Command Line Heroes is preparing to premiere its third season this summer, which will cover the history and future of software programming languages—and it’s an epic story.
Open Brand Project
This month, we announced the evolution of our corporate logo and brand system, a project that has been in the works since late 2017. To guide our work, we followed the same open principles we use to build software. We brought together a cross-functional team of Red Hat designers to collaborate with external consultants on the process. Then we opened the process up to customers, partners, associates, and the open source community to gather feedback. It wasn’t a design contest. There was no voting. This was about collaborating to ensure the best vision won.
Open Source Stories
Open Source Stories celebrates how community, meritocracy, and a free exchange of ideas can unlock potential across a range of disciplines. When first launched, it was a documentary film series that showcased interesting ways to apply open source thinking, highlighting the stories behind open source technology and the people making a difference. But it has since grown into much more than that. It now encompasses the film series, live talks, an article series, and CO.LAB, an activation of Open Source Stories, introducing students to a world of technology and collaboration.
The millions of people and projects in the open source community gave us the model for the Red Hat Open Studio. Your lives, ideas, and passion inspire our work. Let's continue talking about all the ways an open approach to creative projects can change how we tell authentic and powerful stories today. Do you want to know how to include hundreds of people in a logo design project? Or how to use Agile methodologies for marketing projects? Or how to start a project by listening (and creating effective event activations in the process)? Or do you just want to see what we do next? Join the conversation on social media using #RedHatOpenStudio.
About the author
Leigh Day leads global Marketing Communications and Brand at Red Hat, the world's leading open source provider to the enterprise. Her organization includes brand, public relations, analyst relations, content strategy, creative strategy + design, customer reference program management, marketing resource management and events. Leigh and her team have designed a highly effective internal agency model, known as the Open Studio. As founder of Red Hat's multi-thousand user event, key contributor to Jim Whitehurst's book, "The Open Organization", executive producer of Red Hat's award winning films and podcasts, Leigh has taken a multi-faceted approach to the building of Red Hat's brand.