Media Theorist Message

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Media Theorist Message

Post by brit0310 on Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:10 am

A member of the 99% Declaration team, with byline jwalls, has posted extraordinary advice regarding Media. These fine words about message and marketing plan include an awesome idea for raising funds for our 501(c)(3).

Hello, I'm a media theorist, I build marketing plans for nonprofits. I helped raise $75,000 directly in the City of Chicago, and contributed to a $55 million annual campaign for the United Way.

I'd like to offer what I know of media to lend support. I offer this in solidarity, to take and use as you will. I'm not on the ground at Liberty, I have no authority over anyone. But I offer this in the spirit of change.

Making a GOOD message

Messages that take off are simple. They get to the point, and they tell a story. We have both biological and social drives for this. I'm not an advocate of "sales" or "selling" and I don't use this knowledge to do that. You can either manipulate, or you can educate. There's a difference.

Rather, than sales, I use these principles around education. It's okay, and possible, to use what we know about Media and the brain and not be evil. As a matter of fact, I think when we do that, we can often promote things BETTER than when we sell through fear.

Making a Clear Message

I want you to look at the United Way's "Live United" Campaign. The campaign was created by McCann Erickson. Before it, the nonprofit was lost in its own cause. It had too many things to explain, not enough time or energy to explain them. The media was able to pick the points they wanted to talk about ... and spin them out of balance. The company was unable to explain itself, mostly because it failed to communicate in a way that people actually respond to.

Also, like the OWS movement, United Ways are distributed. They operate independently, and create their message on their own. This also caused issues because no two United Ways were saying the same thing. It was confusing. Like OWS, they were accused of having no clear message.

McCann Erikson fixed their issues to a large degree by introducing the idea of an elevator speech. It set things up strategically, and offered a clear and simple explanation. A phrase that they could expand into an entire paragraph if need be. The sentence is (paraphrasing):

United Way is Here to ADVANCE THE COMMON GOOD. We do through Education, Income, and Health. We focus on creating opportunities for lasting changes. When you reach out to one, you influence the condition of all. LIVE UNITED.

To expand this, they took the entire message and broke it down to 2 sets of phrases:

The united way wants you to:




That's what it means to live united.

And they answered what those things were in a single sentence. It let all the United Ways out there expand and adopt as they needed. There. Easy. Now you have up to a full page if you want it, but a central idea to get the simple points across.

Here's an example of how it expanded:

But note the simple GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER at the bottom. Its the clear message drivers that make all the difference.

Making a strong message (if only my suggestions)

Tell me what you think:

Occupy Wall Street is about ending financial corruption. To do so we need DEBATE, REFORM, and actual CHANGE. These stepping stones will allow democracy to be stronger than it ever has. Come join us and be a part of the debate. OCCUPY WALL STREET.

And here's the expanded talking points:

1. FINANCIAL CORRUPTION: We are here to advocate financial reform.

2. DEBATE: We believe that a widespread debate must be held with the purpose of reducing the impact of business corruption in politics.

3. REFORM: A large number of changes need to occur - too large for any one group, party or position to solve on their own. We seek a democratic platform where groups can come together without wall street corruption, and find answers that put people ahead of profits.

4. CHANGE: We invite every group regardless of affiliation to join our cause and advocate the need for change.

This movement is about Corporate Greed. But we are willing to let Democracy provide us the solution.

I'd love to know what you think. The rest of this message jumps topics and offers other ways to help. Thank you.

An Alternative Approach:

Have trouble coming up with something to say?

The best answer I got was this, from my friend Sarah:

"When people ask me what the movement is about, I stop and I ask them what their story is. I listen. Then I tell them: that's what the movement is about."

My thoughts, are different, I think. For me, the most important politics are those that happen in my house, in my back yard, and that involve my kids. How do we eat? When do we get to share time together? These are far more important to me than presidents and wars.

In the end, this movement to me is about value. We recognize that the things we value as a nation do not fit in with what we value as people. And as a people, we have no place where those values are honored. Marketing theorist always want to get at the heart of the emotion, the most basic driver of what is going on. As I gather, this is what it is for us.


In my local Occupy Movement (I live in South Bend, Indiana), we just came up with a great idea to raise a small amount of funds for our local movement:

*We are creating a 10 page EBOOK, sharing our personal stories about why we are involved in the movement.

*Charging a small fee. $5 - $10.

*4 writers write 800-1000 words about their involvement, their story.

*others can join in by taking a snapshot of themselves with a sheet of paper saying why they are a part of the 99%.

*Using the vast array of images that are out there to our advantage.

*Using the flickr account of the images we have taken of ourselves.

*Using an indesign template we found off the web to keep it fast and simple and eliminate work.

*Build time: 2 weeks, because we are keeping it simple.

Occupy Wall Street is a movement in perpetual beta. You are its users and designers. Good luck to all of you.


Posts : 76
Join date : 2011-10-09

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