Authenticity, Stories and Geeking the Cause

Day 3 Takeaways from SXSW:

1. Agree upfront where the boundaries are. What content makes sense for who you are and who you are trying to reach? Pitfalls exist, but realizing these things ahead of time makes the difference. In the day to day it’s very helpful to have a point person, but up front buy-in from all stakeholders is in valuable.

2. What subjects are authentic to your brand? They don’t need to be all about the topics, but should represent the spirit of those topics and similar organizations and missions.

3. Define a style guide. What does this brand’s voice sound like? This can be complicated when you have competing client needs.

4. Two-way engagement is still a big shift. Especially true when used to one-way communication and broadcasting only, but you have to get in the mud w/ your consumers in order to seem like a real person. Communities can be a threat because in reality brands are not one person, they are corporations and don’t yet have a real social media strategy. Brands use social media for campaigning often, and are missing the chance to build relationships. What happens when the campaign is over?

5. Content void. We may not realize it, but even tech and media companies have a content void, whether you mean curation or creation. There is an opportunity for talent and leadership to develop in this space. There are innovative solutions that can help with this flow, but at the end of the day, it needs to be someone’s responsibility. Companies need to fill this position in order to have an authentic brand. It needs to be someone’s charge.

6. Digital storytelling requires layers in a way print has not. A content layer and a social layer are both important and need to be developed and nurtured.

7. A series of videos can be a front door to your website. Use them.

8. Stories in the digital age. “What we don’t do, we don’t listen – to our own hearts, to one another, to the people we are trying to help… This work is about stopping time to hear the stories.”
– joe@storycenter.org Center for Digital Storytelling.

Content Management Systems are good, but they are not doing the heavy lifting needed on your site unless you are thinking about the story you are trying to share. Infographics and nuggets embedded in print documents are great ways to integrate stories, but they aren’t doing any good if they are buried on the web.

9. Facebook Timeline. In nonprofits, features like this are shifting the way people think about time. They are very useful for helping people understand stories through the lens of time. Figuring out integration is the key, but it is also inspiring that it’s happening more, and becoming easier.

10. Geeks want to do something. Even at SXSW, a day full of sessions is no exchange for a couple hours of digging in and getting your hands dirty. The crowd at GTC last night coalesced around 4 causes pitched ideas and had an overall great time of doing something meaningful. Legs were given to the issues of education, girls of color in technology, food waste, and startups for all… the Geek the Cause class of 2012 set the bar for what can be done in short time frame with a lot of motivation!

Visit http://www.facebook.com/geekthecause, and @CampaignConsult has the stream and photos… stay tuned!

– Michelle