Awhile ago I read a very interesting post in the Digital Journal on a branding effort by BMW.
The article talked about how BMW was testing the use of afterimages in commercials in Germany as a way of creating better brand recognition. Overall, the idea was fascinating to me as it creates something very dynamic at the intersection of human physiology, user experience and technology.
Where it begins to fall apart for me is that people are not necessarily consenting participants in the experience and it starts to feel like manipulation. Yet, after a few weeks there were ideas and themes within the project that stuck with me as still powerful and useful for nonprofits.
Tell Me Something...And I Will Forget
I would say more often then not when I visit a nonprofit website I get a lot of information about what they do. Here are our programs, this is where we serve and this is what we need. If I am lucky I may find some data to back up their need or impact. The same happens when I ask someone where they work. Their response is often like listing off a bulleted list of tasks. The result is usually the same, I recognize the name of the organization later but rarely remember what they actually do.
It is the issue of using data and connecting to people's head instead of connecting to their heart. Erica Mills has a great post and video on this topic.
Show Me Something...And I Can Remember
The power of the visual story can not be denied. The barriers to nonprofits being able to use video to tell their story are all but gone at this point.
Getting the equipment: Techsoup's Flip Camera Donation Program
Learning resources & examples: See3, Nancy Schwartz Case Study's, Kivi Leroux Miller' Production Tips & Socialbrite's Video Interview Tips
Platforms to store and share: YouTube Nonprofit Channels and Vimeo
Involve Me...And I Will Understand
The highest level one can achieve with effective story telling is getting to the point where your community is the one telling the story. Social media is in the driver's seat these days in any discussion about engagement. There is no shortage of high quality resources in this area and solid insights and discussion can be found on blogs such as Community Organizer 2.0, Amy Sample Ward's Blog and [B]Cause Media.
It is important to remember though that involvement is not just about Social Media. Every channel and way we communicate is an opportunity to create involvement. Here are a few examples of opportunities for involvement that I really like.
Clean Water Challenge (http://www.cleanwaterchallenge.org)
Simple yet effective website that makes use of images and involvement to drive the message home
Website that is all about the action a user can take and showing the results of what those actions are. All done with images of the community themselves. Their email campaigns are quite impressive as well and worth signing up for just for the learning opportunity.
Epic Change (http://epicchange.org)
Anything this group does is gold! Their projects around TweetsGiving/Epic Thanks & To Moma with Love are without a doubt some of the best examples of involving community in order to them become the story. They are also brilliant examples of the cross-pollination of platforms.
Creating The After Image
The most powerful part of the BMW video was the idea of an afterimage. What do people see when they close their eyes and think of your organization? Is it your logo? Is it an event they were apart of..... or is it just blackness?