“Building houses and doing philanthropy; that is what I thought my next thing was after retirement,” began Gemma Toner, TONE Networks and ChartOne Media Founder and CEO. ChartOne Media is an OTT platform and content company that is the parent company of female-targeted TONE Networks.
“During that downtime I got asked to be a speaker at a women’s leadership conference on the subject of career pivots and I immediately realized the of having an executive coach, mentors and/or sponsors,” she added. “Not everyone gets that and that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have access to it. And that’s what really got me thinking about how could I find a way to get women access to personal and professional development resources. That was the genesis of how TONE came about.”
Now year two, TONE Networks is an online destination for those women on the go (which, of course, defines most of the female population at present) who can benefit from this one-stop resource. The site offers an array of content tailored to the female population (of any age) with a menu of credentialed experts offering tips about life, work, mind and body (and much more). This is done via short form videos; weekly personalized emails; weekly moderated member discussions; and a monthly live one-hour streaming event. That event, called TONE Live, offers these individuals practical steps to help women manage specific areas of their lives.
“TONE is really meant to look at the whole person. Depending on whatever moment or situation you are having in your day or in your life, you may need some advice that is of a professional nature or you may need something that is more on the personal front,” explained Toner. “This is a place that women can go, whether it is getting unstuck in a situation, or getting that promotion, or getting that raise. Whatever it is, I wanted to find a way for women to have to high quality coaches and experts.”
“This initiative fills an underserved niche in the female community,” noted media analyst Brad Adgate.“Mentoring, coaching, improving lifestyles and wellness have certainly been in the zeitgeist the last few years, and it bodes well for Tone. The timing was absolutely right to do this.”
Before launching, Toner invested in the type of consumer research, including focus groups, to develop the of the platform and to understand the needs and interests of the .
“One of the things we found when we spoke to working women was they needed something that was truly to them, and we know our audience has very little time,” noted Toner. “They did not want us to give them a dissertation to go off and think about this. They really wanted the ‘how to’…the ‘1-2-3.’ And that is part of how we came up with the short-form format and designed the with the CRM .”
“But the other side to that is that the attention spans of consumers have continued to shrink, so everything needs to be in what I call these headline sound bites,” she added. “And that was very much a part of what we realized we needed to create.”
Finding the idea is the hardest part of doing anything, according to , who wanted to create something that would both make a difference in the world and have a social impact. After putting together a business plan, where TONE sits on top of a platform, part of the idea was to use the infrastructure to build other learning brands based on short-form content with the combination of a like-minded community with live streaming.”
“TONE is a micro-learning coaching tool designed for women; that’s what it is today. And it is made up of a couple of pieces,” explained Toner. “There is the library that we built, which is about 650 pieces today and growing. There are live streaming events, which helps us build and community. And we have some of the best female experts in the country.”
Included are Dr. Debi Silber, a lifestyle, personal development expert, speaker author; leading sleep expert Nancy Rothstein; Annie B. Kay, an integrated registered dietician nutritionist, yoga therapist, author and lifestyle expert; and Dr. Swati Desai, a psychotherapist who helps people achieve a more harmonious state of mind with a combination of psychological tools and cognitive methods.
“When you watch our videos we know it, and we then send you what we call the TONE takeaways the next morning. And our live streaming events are of two flavors,” explained Toner. “One is TONE Live, our studio format, where we have the experts and a host and the questions come in. And the other is our monthly community coaching, which is the ‘how to’ where members can ask questions.”
“We are all here to do this together,” added Toner. “It’s about this sense of learning together and supporting each other.”
The Mindsets of TONE Networks
“There are companies that see diversity as their secret sauce and they want to offer as much to their employees. There are other companies that have significant women’s initiatives, and our goal is to give them the access they need at their fingertips. “Then there are the women personally who just want to live their lives to the fullest,” said Toner. “We ask our members when they come in what they are interested in. So, if you are not a parent we are not going to send them parenting videos, for example.”
At TONE, each member has their own page that is serving up content based on their interests and their behavior. And each member receives “TONE Teasers,” which are two videos sent twice per week (on Tuesday and Thursday) tailored to their passions and meant to tease you away from your routine.
“You need to be able to have that push content as well as that content that these women can look for when they are in discovery mode,” explained Toner. “So, what that is doing is increasing engagement across the customer base.”
The Turn Key Nature of TONE Networks
“We aim to make it really easy for companies to work with us, and we partner with the company and create the internal communications so that they can get their employees engaged with TONE,” noted Toner. “We also literally write the content for emails to then be sent out by their senior executives that are typically sponsoring the initiative in some way, shape or form. This gives the companies we are working with the opportunity to offer these women on their teams a new way to learn, both personally and professionally. And it shows these women that their companies are in them.”
Recently, TONE Networks partnered with Networks for training and coaching resources that help employees be more successful at work and . employees now receive weekly the customized emails with suggested videos and content that is tailored to their specific needs.
“AMC Networks is excited to offer TONE to our employees as we look for innovative ways to support their personal and professional development,” said Jennifer Caserta, Chief Transformation Officer of AMC Networks in a statement. “It is incredibly important that we champion the women in our organization and provide them with the tools they need to find greater success.”
“Looking ahead, what we refer to as TONE 2.0 has another huge community building component where it is about virtual community and women of other like-minded interests getting introduced to each other,” said Toner. “TONE is about not being alone. We are all together. We are all similar. And we are here for support, nurturing and personal and professional growth.”
“TONE is the ‘How To,’” noted Toner. “We think of Me Too, Times Up, and now it’s also How To.”
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