As President and Chief Legal Officer at Microsoft, Brad Smith helps set policy priorities, and acts as a diplomat for the company – connecting Microsoft with the broader issues of society and liaising with global leaders to set policy agendas focused on transparent and ethical technology development and use. In a time when the development of new technology is outpacing state, national, and global-level policy to keep people safe, Brad’s deep knowledge and unique perspective is unmatched.
Brad’s reputation as a trusted advisor and advocate for change was growing quickly. Many business and policy leaders followed Brad’s social channels to read his thoughts and stay informed on issues of ethics and technology, and his influence was growing when it came to topics ranging from immigration to cybersecurity to facial recognition technology. As the world reached an inflection point, where modern technology could be used as a tool or a weapon, Brad and his chief of staff Carol Ann Browne embarked on writing a book to provide a unique narrative and guiding voice from the cockpit of one of the world’s largest tech companies. Tools and Weapons: The Promise and Peril of the Digital Age, goes deep into the most urgent debates and topics surrounding the technology landscapes.
Tools & Weapons provided others with Brad’s experiences and insights to help chart a path toward a safer, more equitable future. Knowing that the Formative team, through its ethics and technology work with other teams at Microsoft, was fluent in these topics, Brad's team turned to Formative to help launch the book. Our role was to promote Brad and Carol Ann’s thought leadership through both their and Microsoft’s digital channels; creating content and messaging, conducting audience analysis, segmentation, needs assessment, and recommendations on the where/what/why of audience engagement of key audiences.
Our team successfully amplified Brad’s role as a responsible and trusted tech leader and confirmed that there was significant appetite among key audiences for discussion around book topics. The launch was a success, driving awareness among priority audiences, and increasing Brad’s, Carol Ann’s, and Microsoft’s credibility on key issues like privacy and security.
Since the launch of Tools and Weapons, our work with Brad’s team continues. Today, we are helping his team multiply capacity, including prioritizing content and brand-building efforts, giving them the tools to proactively execute on work, and helping structure content.