Audience Engagement Digital Publishing
3 mins read

“Strong ROI and rewarding DEI”: Why the Guardian sponsored Mighty Dream Forum

Publishers typically host their own events but in this instance, Guardian U.S. itself sponsored a third-party event – it partnered with Pharrell Williams’ Mighty Dream Forum as part of its own brand strategy to support DEI mission-aligned initiatives. Here are the takeaways…

Created by renowned producer and recording artist, Pharrell Williams, Mighty Dream Forum is a three-day event aimed at promoting financial literacy, investment, small business success, and career opportunities for People of Color.

The first Mighty Dream Forum took place in early November last year in Norfolk, Virginia, with two thousand people attending an event described as ‘the first-of-its-kind, multi­-day event of business thought leadership, idea exchange, networking, progressive conversation, and food and entertainment experiences’.

Where is The World Economic Forum for advancing all things DEI? Where marginalized groups are the focus and not the afterthought? We all have the power to supercharge such an event – and this is it.

Pharrell Williams

For Joyce Parente, the Guardian U.S. VP of Marketing Solutions, the tie-up with Mighty Dream Forum made strategic sense with the publisher having a built-in think tank of editorial talent available for discussion, moderation, and commentary on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Speaking to WNIP she says, “Much of The Guardian U.S. reporting drives actionable impact, including exposing racial equity gaps, and Mighty Dream Forum, like our journalism, is overtly designed to effect change. We aligned perfectly with their mission. This forum is not just getting like-minded folks in a room to pat each other on the back.”

It is of ongoing importance to “show up” within events like Mighty Dream Forum to show solidarity and advocacy for DEI and other initiatives that are core to who the Guardian U.S. is an organization.

Joyce Parente, VP of Marketing Solutions, Guardian U.S.

Programming collaborations

The Guardian partnered closely with the event’s organizers, providing production and promotional support to Mighty Dream Forum via its own in-house marketing, insights, and design team. Parente says that in partnerships like this, the closer the collaboration, the better, “This kind of collaboration between the Guardian U.S. and Mighty Dream Forum is the epitome of ‘mutually beneficial’.”

Events need compelling, well-curated programming. It can be arduous to build that from the
ground up. But quality publishers are well-stocked with editorial franchises or series that easily lend
themselves to a conference stage.

Joyce Parente, VP of Marketing Solutions, Guardian U.S.

The Guardian U.S. contributed to and facilitated three specific conference panels including Black Entrepreneurship, The New Face of Small Business; Buying Black, Where Does the Movement Go Next?; and Ignite the Mighty, a panel highlighting successful Black business leaders.

ROI and Deliverables

Whilst Parente declined to give precise figures for the collaboration she feels the investment was more than worth the financial, logistical, and editorial input. The publisher was noted as the Official Media Sponsor, via a locked logo, on all Mighty Dream Forum collateral and press releases. On the latter front, press release pickup resulted in 6.9M impressions and included Adweek, Forbes, Yahoo!, Black Girl Nerds, The Virginia Pilot, and Virginia Business, among others.

The Guardian U.S. publication and editorial talent achieved visibility to 2K attendees, and top DEI
thought leader panelists. Our Guardian US marketing talent also achieved visibility to Mighty Dream Forum brand co-sponsors and agencies, including All Birds, Cisco, Publicis/Publicis Health, The Martin Agency, Bloomberg Philanthropies, UPS, The Rockefeller Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, and Google Tech Equity.

Guardian U.S. spokesperson

As for the future, Parente feels that the publisher’s investment in events like The Mighty Dream Forum will continue, “We hope to continue to bring the Guardian US journalism to life via programming, as we did in 2022. We also would like to bring select advertising partners into the mix via sponsorship of those sessions.”