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Every once in a while Abraham Harrison gets a great activist client. Clients like Jerry White and the gang at Survivor Corps really make it easy to be the World’s Best Boss, because my staff loves public affairs and non-profit work, that’s for sure — clients who do good works and work to change the world for the better. Last time was when we helped pass the Energy Bill in 2007, 35 by 2020, and now we get to rally our passion and help Jerry promote the launch of Survivor Corps, which coincides with I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis, which is now on sale nationwide.
Anyway, we have put together a social media press release for both I Will Not be Broken and Survivor Corps and you should check them out. Feel free to read excerpts from the book and be my guest and enjoy the introduction and chapter one as a PDF download — sort of a “try before you buy.” We’re going to be doing a blogger outreach starting this weekend and we’re excited about it — we’re motivated and dedicated. Wish us luck!
OK, at the beginning of the year I went downtown to a relatively prominent ad agency to talk to them about a client they had. The client is a large business/trade association that’s involved (admittedly laggardly) in the digital revolution. They’re somewhat, but not totally, dinosaurs. An industry that has to change, is taking to long to do so, but has a large enough presence to stymie some elements of change that would actually benefit many of us. And, the client, being a trade association, they are innately slow moving, averse to change.
The ad agency guy told me that they could use me (and Abraham Harrison) in two ways.
The first was advocacy. Grassroots. Online. Offline. Here in DC. And througout the US. The agency itself was a traditional shop with decent interactive capabilities. Neither the agency nor did the ad guy have any political experience. I’ve done that. So has Abraham Harrison. Solid.
The second was social media. Their client wanted to do some “non-traditional” stuff. They wanted to “engage”the public. The need here was a rebranding campaign, as in “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.” An attempt to get the public to look at the industry that this association represents in a different light. Again, Abraham Harrison.
I followed up how we’d work with him. I gave him some ideas. More than once. It was always “let’s talk in a week or two”. But I could tell that his lack of understanding of social media and political advocacy was a roadblock. He had some fear about coming across clueless to me. And he didn’t want to admit himself. But I’m guessing he was terrified of coming across clueless to the client.
But the client is clueless as well.
I offered to have a conference call set up so we could not so much explain what we do, but to better equip him with idea on how effective social media could be in this case. He demurred, saying that he would first meet with the client.
Bad move. This means that the clueless meets with the clueless to discuss something they are clueless about. Which means that neither of them brings it up because neither one wants to reveal that they are clueless about what they both are choosing not to talk about. Yet they both know in the back of their minds that the thing that they don’t want to talk about is something that they need to know, then talk about, then implement.
But if they don’t talk about it, and not look like idiots, and they can manage to delay all of this that much more.
So then they’re going to run this campaign old style. Part of it is already online. I’ve already seen the logo. It looks like something out of the 1950′s. Seriously. It’s color scheme doesn’t make sense. Nothing bold. Lots of black and white photos to remind you of back in the day. It says “We are a timid industry. In decline” There’s a bunch of print ads, some outdoor ads, a few radio spots. And one online ad.
They are trying to remind us how important they (or more accurately, they’re members) play a role in our lives. Yet they do nothing to integrate us into that equation.
And more and more, people are turning away from what they’re about. I can see why.
In my digging around yesterday I came across this great site – AfriGadget. You have gotta check out this site. It is incredible the ingenuity and creativeness going on in Africa. Dual Sim Chip cell phones, cell phones built out of recycled parts, bamboo bicycles.
I am really on a reverse marketing ploy here. I believe that Africa gets terrible press – so much so that the people of Africa are even convinced by it. While America and Europe present themselves as the “paradise” existence. I have lived overseas for many years – 15 in total – in lovely Oakland, CA and in Santa Cruz, CA. I have travelled and spent many months in other parts of the USA. It is a great place, seriously, I love America. It is my second home – I carry an American passport, I am married to an American and my daughter was born in America.
But, there is one piece of misinformation – it is not paradise, it is not perfect – nowhere is perfect. The same is true for Africa, it is not a perfect continent. In fact it is far from it on many levels. But, it is an exciting place, it is creative, passionate and at times raw.
Africa is a continent, the second biggest in the world, with the second largest population of close to 800 million people. It is a diverse place, filled with many cultures and peoples. It is a place worth exploring.
I have to say – that most people do not think of Africa as a continent. They see it as one big country. No distinctions between countries, people or places. I know this is especially true because after waiting 5 years for my US green card when it did finally arrive guess what they had put down as my country of origin?
Yep, Africa. People, Africa is a continent not a country. Come and explore this continent of 53 countries, 800 million people and hundreds of languages. You may just be surprised to find there is something else that they haven’t been telling you.
Then go back and help change the perceptions of this place. We need some reverse marketing.