Unless you’ve spent the last 2 weeks living in a cave, the belly of a whale or entirely off-the-grid your social inbox has likely been carpet bombed by the righteous outrage of folks regarding Joseph Kony and the Lords Army
The creators of this phenomenon, Invisible Children, have also unfortunately evoked a tidal wave of criticism, accusations of over-simplification and promoting slacktivism. I’m not close enough to comment.
But…having garnered over 65 million views on YouTube, there must be something we can learn from them. Something about how they told their story we could re-use?
Invisible Children is merely the latest global example of dynamic storytelling. Their success indicative of what happens when your story touches a deep cord.
Big brands get this too. When I worked with Nokia they often talked about the power of stories and mythology in connecting consumers and brands. Coca-Cola is another strong advocate of dynamic storytelling (Note: Coca-Cola is a client of my employer Zulu Alpha Kilo). Unveiled at Cannes in 2011 Coca-Cola calls their process “Liquid & Linked” and it is a pivotal construct of how they approach communications.
Involvement versus eyeballs: Stop with passive advertising messages. Encourage your audience to lean in and actually participate. Easier done for NGO’s sure but if you give your audience a reason, tweet, like, share, +1, comment to participate, your connection will be deeper.
Don’t create cul-de-sac’s: Coke frames this well. No touchpoint should have an ending but they should propel you somewhere else. QR feeds in-store feeds Facebook feeds TV viewership feeds live event. You get the idea.
Make it easy: No brainer right? Astounds me that there are still so many brands hiding content behind registration forms, sign-ups and other BS. The great thing about KONY is that they created numerous ways for you to participate depending on your income (and commitment) levels. No arbitrary exclusions. No extraneous hurdles.
Encourage play, discovery and sharing: Give your audience ways to co-opt your story. Encourage them to create and share alternate endings. Build interesting and surprising diversions that create a sense of discovery with your audience.
Storytelling is one of mankind’s oldest traditions. Despite that, few people and fewer brands still do this well. While I can’t guarantee you 65 million viewers, I can promise that some simple reframing will make your stories more dynamic.