A Q&A with Telly Award Gold Winner National Geographic

Claudia Malley, EVP Partner Solutions at National Geographic Partners

We sat down and chatted with the team behind Gold-winning series, Chasing Genius: Inspirational Stories, a series of short form pieces documenting those whose ideas are changing the world. Be sure to find us at one our upcoming screening events to see the work on a big screen!

Where did the idea for “Chasing Genius: Inspirational Stories” come from? Do you have a story that has particularly stuck with you?

The idea for Chasing Genius is rooted in consumer insight that tells us millennials believe they have the power to change the world—and at National Geographic, we believe this to be true.

The Chasing Genius campaign is anchored by immersive editorial storytelling that showcases everyday people who are chasing their inner genius, thus inspiring others to think differently, share ideas and, ultimately, take action.

In an effort to ignite our Chasing Genius community, we identified several stories of individuals creating true global impact and curated them to create a short-form, mini-documentary series. Featuring real stories of people that bring to life the essence of Chasing Genius, each of the stories demonstrated how the spark of an idea could become a force for change in the world and, in turn, activated thousands of individuals to unleash their own potential.  

One story that stands out in particular is that of Kathy Ku. While spending a summer in Uganda teaching, Kathy experienced first-hand one of the biggest problems facing Ugandan families today: access to clean drinking water. Our mini documentary, “Spouts of Hope,” chronicles her experience teaming up with a fellow Harvard student and devising a solution.

What have you found is the key to making successful online series at National Geographic?

Simplicity, authenticity, and relatability are at the core of Chasing Genius and these are the elements that have also paved the way for our online series to break through an oversaturated market. Fortunately, these characteristics are ingrained in our organization’s 130-year-old storytelling DNA.

What new elements are you hoping to experiment with in video in the year ahead?

In addition to including previous Chasing Genius winners in the videos we produce for next year’s challenge, we plan to leverage our learnings as the leading brand on social media to bolster our content with Instagram stories and “tap-umentaries.”

Congratulations on your Gold Telly win! What does this win mean for you and your team?

The recognition and acknowledgement of our industry means the world to us. It inspires us to continue leaning into the National Geographic brand and purpose to identify like-minded partners that will help us engage our communities and create real, global impact.