This 27th of March ‘+Social Good UK‘ will take place in London, will you be going? The half-day conference focuses on how technology is driving social change for all of us.
Inspired by the Social Good Summit held in NY, alongside the UN General Assembly each September, this year’s gathering is sure to welcome even more attendees than previous years… Also six days ago the SXSW has introduced the first ever +SocialGood Instacorps. So what’s happening?
Social Change has become a strong creative category in its own right. For instance, just three days ago, consumers’ advocate and Creative Director Crispin Bogusky announced the launch of a new social venture; Fearless. Aimed at those passionate about creating meaningful social impact, Fearless wants to encourage anyone with a great cause or idea to help move the world forward. But why now?
Milennials, increasingly mainstream, have redefined how they engage with brands, specially since the arrival of smartphones and mobile media. The Cluetrain Manifesto spelt it all out in 1999. Also marketing forecaster Faith Popcorn, the “Nostradamus of Fortune 500”, foresaw the arrival of Social Sharing and Social Change as emerging trends when she published her bestsellers ‘Clicking‘ in 1997 and ‘Eveolution‘ in 2000.
However many brands and agencies, keep struggling to adapt and remain relevant in this context. They seem to think that technology or media are the destination. However, in my opinion, technology is merely a vehicle to take us there. Engaging your audience, addressing their needs, fears and desires with conversations or campaigns that matter to them and add value to their lives… now, that’s the destination. There we can share stories, jokes and news in the hope our networks will find them interesting, amusing, enriching or galvanising like a good cause, a brand or anyone could champion.
It took over a decade for some of Faith Popcorn’s Social Sharing trends (SOS, Vigilante Consumer, Eveolution) to become fully embraced by the creative community at large. Since then and specially since Al Gore encouraged attendees at Cannes Lions to help inspire others with Social Change, many powerful Social ideas have been lauded at the festival.
Yet, some creatives might find themselves uncomfortable using Social Media to gather support for a good cause, rather than for selling products. However, if they read TrendWatching.com they might change their minds and get on board. The latest trends analysis for 2015 has got Social activism written all over it.
Because one thing is clear, now when consumers are more empowered than ever before, we simply can’t ignore them or patronise them. If we don’t understand how they use media to communicate amongst themselves, that’s more of a reason to engage in conversation with them and where necessary adapt to their ways. Perhaps we too might find our own cause to help change the world for the better, I did.
For instance, a few weeks ago a friend of mine was shoved off his bike by another cyclist, for cycling “too slow”. My friend shattered his pelvis and will need a full year to recover and possibly a hip replacement. Wondering what I could do, a Social Media campaign came to mind. Perhaps it could help raise awareness, encourage witnesses to come forward and help police find the guy that shoved him?
The Met police liked the idea and with the information they provided, we were able to start a Twitter campaign #WhoShovedIan. The ultimate goal being to find the culprit and help to make cycling in London a bit safer.
Well wishers are joining the social campaign, sharing the hashtags and contributing with their much welcomed expertise.
Richard Ward, for example, a Social Media Manager at WeAreSource was quick to contribute his deep knowledge of Social Engagement, plus digital technical expertise. Looking at our options, I was amazed with his insights of Social Media’s power to create meaningful and powerful engagement, well beyond simple ‘Likes’ or ‘thumbs up’. Even more fascinating was to discover how, when used strategically in combination with other digital tools, Social Media can trigger a cascade of tangible, measurable, real-time added value, not just for individuals but for organisations and brands as well.
Why does Richard want to help at all? He’s busy at work. He’s got a life outside the office and very little time left for himself. His response… “This is a good cause”. He wants to help and try to change the world for the better.
Like him, perhaps you too could join us and help the police find #WhoShovedIan. Alternatively, you could champion your own cause. I’m sure you can find one too, which your network could help you promote.
Another example, just a couple of days ago I supported a former colleague with his cause; a petition to the French Government to carry on searching for the wreckage of flight MH370. A friend of his and her children were on the flight. He used the Social Change platform www.change.org to channel his efforts.
If we all apply our good will, the best of our experience, sharing with our networks and using the fantastic potential Social Media offers… we can all help change the world for the better. For instance Cassandra Fairbanks campaign #DancingMan has turned into an internet phenomenon against bullying. However, if you’re not sure how to begin, the ‘+Social Good UK‘ gathering is a great place to start. Whatever your cause, you too could make a difference.