The Trilix team has had the pleasure of partnering with Make-A-Wish® Iowa for years, supporting various elements of the organization’s marketing. We’re often behind the scenes, capturing video and imagery of a wish being granted to share with our community. When we heard there was an opportunity to work with them to grant a wish, we jumped at the chance.
Make-A-Wish Iowa grants life-changing wishes for critically ill children across the state. These wishes go beyond momentary joy; they provide hope, strength and resilience to young people facing challenging circumstances. In this instance, the wish to become a content creator sparked a creative flame in a little girl, setting the stage for an unforgettable journey — and Trilix knew exactly how to make Ava’s wish come true.
“I wish to be a content creator.”Ava’s wish
“Make-A-Wish Iowa is just so lucky that I could pick up the phone, call Trilix and say, ‘I have this amazing wish; do you want to help make it possible?’ And without any hesitation, they said yes. They didn't even know the details at that time. They just replied, ‘Yes, what do we need to do?” said Sara Kurovski, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Iowa.
At only 10 years old, Ava became Trilix’s youngest client.
Understanding the transformative power of storytelling, Trilix set out to create an experience that would not only fulfill Ava’s wish but also leave a lasting impact on her life. To ensure we exceeded her expectations, we followed our traditional steps in creating an on-point brand and strategy, training to ensure she could continue developing her podcast and YouTube channel, as well as recommending the state-of-the-art equipment she would need at her home creator studio.
Understand the client's goals and audience
We set up a series of strategic planning sessions to learn her goals and ideas for messaging. This initial step sets the foundation for content creation and helps tailor the podcast and YouTube channel to meet the brand's specific needs.
“The initial business meeting was awesome,” said Phil Young, head audio engineer for Trilix. “She walked in with a binder, asked for coffee for everybody and walked in like a total boss. She was ready to explain what she wanted and how to execute it.”
Ava was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a congenital heart defect where the left side of the heart does not form correctly during pregnancy. Her ultimate goal was to educate the public about this medical condition and connect with others experiencing critical illness with messages of hope, positivity and health.
“It was important for us to show Ava how valued she was as our client,” said Melissa McCarroll, lead account manager for Make-A-Wish Iowa. “All questions were directed to Ava, not the wish manager or her parents. We wanted to ensure we understood her vision, her wish and what she wanted from the experience. You could tell she was delighted by that.”
Develop a content strategy
Crafting a compelling content strategy was the next crucial step. This involved brainstorming topics, formats, and potential podcast and YouTube episode guests that align with Ava’s brand's identity and resonate with the target audience.
To help her content strategy match Ava’s goals and engage the audience, we talked about how she could prepare lifestyle, educational and entertainment content. The topics could be about living with a serious medical condition (interviewing a friend she’s met in the hospital/at a charity), or it could be about the joys of experiencing a life well lived, like baking a new recipe or trying something new.
“The stakes felt really high because, of course, none of us wanted to disappoint this sweet little girl who had a clear and specific vision with all her ducks in a row,” Melissa said. “This project was something that the team, the entire agency, was able to feel really proud of.”
Create engaging visual and audio elements
Trilix designed visually appealing graphics, thumbnails and attention-grabbing channel banners to reflect what Ava wanted from her brand. “I was thrilled that I had the opportunity to put my spin on it, helping her develop her brand from her great Pinterest mood board and all of her plans she had been dreaming of,” said Gayle O’Brien, senior art director at Trilix. “Her inspiration inspired me.”
“I wrote and recorded three songs for her to pick from,” Phil said. “When we were recording her voice-over for the intro in Trilix Studio, I played them for her to pick one, and she was like ‘I’ll take all three.’ It was perfect, and we had so much fun.” For her podcast, our team crafted a catchy intro and outro and helped her set up her new equipment at home to maintain high audio quality.
Investing in professional equipment elevates the overall production value of a podcast and YouTube channel. Ava received the equipment as part of her wish. For some other clients, we use Trilix Studio, a full-service creative studio at Trilix that clients can rent and use for their own productions.
Distribution and promotion
Traditionally, when the content is prepared, Trilix develops a distribution and promotion plan. With Ava wanting to execute this independently, the Trilix team met her at her home, built a content creator studio and made sure she was set up to get started.
“We recorded her first real podcast episode that day,” Melissa said. “She expertly interviewed a few of our team members who had been with her on the day of her wish reveal.” The result was a day filled with laughter, creativity and the joy of bringing ideas to life, all captured on camera to be shared with the world.
“In the time we have worked alongside Make-A-Wish Iowa, we've always looked for additional ways to get involved and support their mission,” said Brett Adams, Trilix president and chief marketing officer. “We had nearly our entire team involved on this project, and you could feel how energized we all were by Ava’s dream for what she wanted to accomplish as a content creator. We were able to take a lot of our expertise and experience and pass that along to her.”
As the popularity of podcasts and long-form YouTube videos continues to rise, this dynamic duo presents an exciting opportunity for brands like Ava’s to connect with their audiences in meaningful ways. Our team is sending her our thoughts and well-wishes as Ava continues her fight, and we wish her all the best for a successful content creator career.
The collaboration between Trilix and Make-A-Wish Iowa granted a valuable wish and is an example of the potential for positive change when businesses and charitable organizations join forces. In a world where dreams can feel out of reach, this heartwarming partnership serves as a reminder that, with compassion, creativity and collaboration, we can make the impossible possible for those who need it most.