Harness the Power of Stortyelling for Good Like Culture Shift Brands

This Christmas I bought my very adorable six month old niece Julienne a red onesy from The Gap in big part because it was part of Bono's latest Red Campaign to end Aids. Juju also looks great in red, and the onesy says "Inc(RED)ible" on the front, and is very rock and roll which I knew my sister in law Beth would love (my brother and sister in law are musicians). I also own what is an almost vintage RED Gap InspiRED t-shirt myself and it's one of my favorite shirts. But the heart of the story is that I was happy to use my buying power to support a cause I believe in and felt really good about it. It was totally an impulse buy. I was seduced by the excellent story again.

I know I was reading an article on my phone when the Red Campaign ad came up, but sadly my middle aged brain can't remember more than that. I can tell you that the ad is currently running on the mobile version of The New Republic website right now. 

This latest Red fundraising campaign began on #GivingTuesday and runs through the end of January. This is the first fundraiser I've looked into hosted on the Omaze platform and wow. It's so cool. It's all about the experience. Take a look at how they've married great images with bold graphics and compelling storytelling in text and video. Donation opportunities begin with the very affordable $10 and scale up. Each dollar you spend gives you a better chance to win a once in the lifetime experience. Of all of the very fun experiences one can choose from my personal choice would be a bike with Bono in Central Park, but being complimented by George Clooney for 45 seconds wouldn't be a bad way to go either.

And brave of Bono to get back on a bike again and make a good joke of it all. If you're not familiar with the why and how behind RED read about it here.

So what storytelling ideas can you lift from this beautifully crafted and sophisticated campaign and use for your own outreach efforts? What jumps out for me is that right up front they share the story of who this campaign is raising money to help in a very personally and emotionally engaging way. We can all do this. We can all work to better humanize our work and make it accessible to broader audiences.

The second thing that jumps out for me is how Bono's star power has been harnessed to get top brands and personalities to give to the campaign. A fascinating and broad array of brands like The Gap, Le Crueset cook ware, and Coca Cola are participating, offering partial proceeds of the sale of certain products to the campaign. The Gates Foundation is matching every dollar this new campaign raises up to $20 million.

Imagine if we could harness the power of the joy of bicycling in a similar way for say Bike Month 2017?  What if people could donate towards winning the chance to ride a bike with bike friendly celebrities like Stana Katic or Ryan Seacrest or Beyonce? I'll be sharing more about this idea in the upcoming weeks. If you have thoughts along these lines I'd love to hear them.

Example #2 Warby Parker

One of the books I'm reading to help inspire my writing for our upcoming digital "Storytelling & Media Outreach Kit" (my goal is to have the first version of it ready between this Valentine's Day and the end of February) is Difference: The One Page Method for Reimagining Your Business and Reinventing Your Marketing. Prior to reading this very fun and thought provoking book by author Bernadette Jiwa I had heard about the Warby Parker eyeglass line but I hadn't paid much attention to them. Yes I wear glasses. And yes I really need to budget for a new pair of regular and sunglasses, but I assumed from the stylishness of the branding I was seeing online that they would be way above my budget. My assumptions meant I missed two key storytelling points of the brand 1) that they start quite affordably at $95 and 2) that for every pair someone buys at retail a pair is given to someone who needs them but can't afford it. Imagine if there was a bike company that could do this.


Here is one of the latest blog post from Warby Parker for the New Year. I love how they're tying their product of glasses to reading and inspiration for their fans and followers. Of late they've been using these very simple but fun infographics to share on their blog about the books they're noticing and reading and how these titles just might help you in your own goals. 

The best culture shifting people and brands share helpful tools and tips with wit and style and frankly, aplomb. They don't simply share their own advice again and again, they're generous at sharing the work of others. Personally I love that the Warby Parker team are sharing books by Elizabeth Warren and Elizabeth Gilbert. We have some similar reading passion.

Savvy, culture shifting brands also share bite-sized information that works well on a myriad of social media platforms so it's easy to love, to like, and to share.  For example this infographic is a great blog piece, but it's simple enough that it also works really well on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

How could you use this type of snapshot storytelling to better show off your own programs, products and services? I've recently fallen completely in love with the free or low cost online graphics program Canva.com. You'll see all kinds of new graphics begin to happen for us soon, including new Twitter cards and infographics. What I love about Canva is not only is it easy to use and affordable, but they give you great fonts and design elements to help you get going in a more polished way. Canva makes it very simple to add really attractive text to a photo in minutes. And today my friend Jim Brown of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates told me about the infographic creation platform Piktochart.com that I'm eager to check out.

Over the past week I began playing with drawing my own illustrations and uploading them to Canva to make a new logo for the Pedal Love Podcast. It's still very much a work in progress as I learn what kind of illustration style I want, work to develop it, and what will work best in collaboration with fonts and graphics. I'm having a lot of fun with it. Both the heart with wings and the little bike I drew freehand, first in pencil and then with pen and ink. They don't quite work but I'm really enjoying the process. 

What creative part of yourself have you been ignoring for too long? What aspect of your creativity could help you be a better storyteller?  I'd love to hear. We might want to share your story here! Send me a note or share an image on Twitter with #MoreMindfulMobility.