Porter Novelli’s Washington, D.C. office turned out in force this week to hear from Anastasia Khoo, the marketing director for Human Rights Campaign, who shared elements of their recent success inspiring action connected to marriage equality.
The campaign recently won a Mashie and was named by Facebook executives the “most viral campaign ever.” And it broke Twitter’s all-time engagement rate for a promoted tweet – the most popular tweet received 19.8 percent engagement (average engagement is around 3-5 percent). As a result 700,000 visitors came to the HRC website in a 12 hour period along with an exponential increase in social media followers. More importantly, the campaign brought tangible results in moving marriage equality to center stage.
So, what’s the secret?
- Relinquish control. What did they do? They:
- Changed the colors in the logo (typically considered a branding no-no),
- Launched a campaign with a call to action that had no connection back to the organization such as “visit this URL for more” (typically considered a campaign no-no), and
- Embraced the community’s alterations of their logo into everything from red velvet cake to kittens. This was not something that came easily. HRC had never touched its logo and branding is something sacred to them (as it is to all reputable organizations.) However they believed that this was an historic moment, the campaign had the potential to have an impact and knew that they needed to let go in order for this to take off.
- Capitalize on key moments and conversations. The environment couldn’t have been more primed. It was a key legislative moment: marriage equality won for the first time ever on the ballots in four states in 2012. It was a key legal moment: the Supreme Court, for the first time, was taking on not one, but two key cases on marriage equality. It was a key cultural moment: Now eight in 10 Americans say they know someone who is LGBT– the issue was personal to more people than ever before. It was a key corporate moment: Major companies including Starbucks, Nike and Amazon.com, among others, were backing the movement.
- Plan, plan, plan – and then have a backup plan. The first day of the campaign, the HRC website crashed. Luckily Khoo had a backup plan: her Web team created an alternate HRC website on Tumblr. In the end, this was a blessing in disguise. Now Khoo uses Tumblr whenever there is a major campaign to push forward as a prime platform for real-time updates.
- Be integrated…and nimble. “Digital is very integrated with everything we do,” Khoo said. “It’s an integrated part of our communications strategy.”
From the outset, HRC set up a communications war room for this campaign and mapped out all the platforms they wanted to use to pull it off. They checked the box on nearly all communications tactics in the roster: Op-Eds, paid promotion, outreach to key journalists, celebrity spokespeople, in-person event organization—including more than 100,000 signs, flags and banners for events, and a detailed, down-to-the-minute social media script of quality content.
At PNConnect, we couldn’t agree with Khoo’s approach more. That’s why we center our campaigns in quality content, based on insights into existing conversation. Companies with any goal can learn from Khoo’s example at HRC. Strong planning and an integrated team matched with quality content grounded in a good listening program are core to communications success.
But the issue isn’t a new one to me.
In fact, it is something I have been consumed with since my son, Elian, was born in December 2010. I have spent many lunch hours, coffee breaks, playdates and random encounters with fellow moms passionately sharing my frustration with juggling work and mom-hood. But more than just griping, I have been struggling for a thesis.
There is one thing that I feel positive about:
American society does not support healthy work-family balance.
But as European economies crumble around us, I have to wonder what the proper support looks like.
And I face contradictions every day.
I believe that it is impossible to reach the highest rungs of my profession while still maintaining a healthy dedication to my family. But then I see men and women I work with advancing in their careers, while still making it to ballet recitals, anniversary dinners and the gym.
I don’t totally agree with Ms. Slaughter’s article. But there are a few truths that hit home so hard to me that I felt compelled to dedicate a blog to the topic. I hope that I can use this space to explore as many angles of the issue of work-life balance as I can. I want to take a deep look at some of the women who have done this well, and some who haven’t. And I want to understand the role that men should play in this debate.
And I want to find my own work-family balance.
I want to have it all. Because don’t we all deserve it? And more importantly, don’t our kids?
I am seeking men and women ages 25-35 in Washington, D.C. who spend at least one hour per week using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to participate in hour-long focus groups. The research study is for a graduate thesis on what motivates adults to donate to charitable causes through social media.
All participants will be entered in a raffle to win a brand-new iPod Nano with video playback and 8 GB of capacity. The iPod comes with Apple earphones, USB cable and a dock adapter. Snacks and drinks will also be provided.
The focus groups will be held in the evening or on weekends at the Johns Hopkins University campus near Dupont Circle at 1717 Massachusetts Ave NW.
Contact Dawn Arteaga at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating. You will then receive a consent letter, and meeting and contact information.
Thanks so much for your help with this project.
Video is one of the fastest-growing attractions on the Web. It brings new viewers to your site and can engage potential donors in new ways. So how can non-profits make the most of this valuable medium? I was really struck by Avaaz.org’s use of video to demand action. The example is not a new one, but it teaches some evergreen lessons to non-profits everywhere. Namely: read more…
In most cases I try to keep the content on this blog pretty tightly concentrated around my observations on innovative digital media. However, in this case, I’m going to have to go off topic. I think you’ll agree it’s a worthy topic. This is an example of how grassroots movements begin at the most simple levels.
Huge caveat: This example is from my mom’s first grade class. I’m biased because I think she is a brilliant teacher. Read on and you’ll see what I mean. Everything here was completely driven by her 6 and 7 year olds. These truly are our country’s future leaders… read more…
“NOOOO!” I heard myself issue a blood-curdling scream as the realization sunk in: Someone had just stolen my iPhone. The young punk ripped my lifeline out of my hands and ran through the closing metro doors before I could do anything. I leaped to my feet, banging on the doors to no avail. As the train gradually eased from the station I turned to my fellow passengers in utter desperation. “I WAS JUST ROBBED! HE STOLE MY PHONE!” A few lazily looked over in my direction. One woman unsympathetically muttered, “mmm hmmm, they do that.”
Didn’t they realize that I had just lost my connection to the world? What was I supposed to do without my iPhone? I was heading to the airport. How on earth would I survive a flight? What if someone sent me an e-mail? What if I got lost? My world slowed to a halt.
Despite herculean efforts on my part…from yanking the emergency brake to stop the train (in case anyone from the DC Metro is reading this, you might want to look into those bad boys. Both of the brakes on my car were loose in their sockets)…soliciting the help of a slightly over-eager DC policeman to track down a similar-looking guy and frisk him…getting the metro police to agree to review the tapes from the station to try to match our suspect to the theft…nothing worked. To make matters worse, I nearly missed my flight.
Here I am, two weeks later, still using a $20 Nokia phone with one ring tone, no games and of course no data access. It has been an interesting process. Some would probably say that I needed the cleansing. I disagree. I’m trying to hold out until the new iPhone comes out this summer. Until then, I’ll have to resign myself to the following lessons learned: read more…