What’s not to like about the London Marathon? It’s welcoming – whether you are one of the 750,000 spectators, watching it on TV or more importantly one of the 38,000 people taking part. It’s pure joy, celebration and carnival– preceded by pain and I guess sometimes despair. What makes the London Marathon brand so special is the following:
We were also all swept up by 2012 London Olympics and the amazing Gamemakers who really made their mark. Now contrast that with the lead up to the general election – the biggest event we were not really invited to be part of – in the weeks leading up to 7th May. We’ve not been involved in a conversation with the general election. The environment, sport and health have been little discussed. The Green party lost out, by playing down discussions about green issues, to demonstrate a broader understanding of other policy areas.
There has been very little discussion about sport, health and well being; tackling obesity and getting people back into sports. I applaud the This Girl Can campaign and what Dove has tried to do by normalising every day body shapes. But all this seems to have been given the two fingers by the most pointless and shallow ad of our time; an ad for a weight loss drink and beach perfect bodies.
Thank goodness for two bloggers Tara Costello and Fiona Longmuir, pictured, who posed next to the ad, rightly saying they are beach ready.
I want an election a bit like the London Marathon, where;
Posted 20 May 2015 | No comments
I wonder, if like me, you have been inspired by Ross Poldark, in the BBC1’s 70s remake, which has been watched by nearly 7 million viewers, based on Winston Graham’s Poldark books from the 1940s and 1950s.
Set in the 18th century, the main character, Ross Poldark, a British Army officer, returns to his home in Cornwall from the American Revolutionary War only to find that his fiancée, Elizabeth, having believed him dead, is about to marry his cousin, Francis Poldark. Ross attempts to restore his own fortunes by reopening one of the family’s tin mines. After several years he marries his servant girl, and is gradually reconciled to the loss of Elizabeth’s love.
There is plenty to enjoy – at its heart, a story of determination and doing the right thing. Poldark’s physique has been much debated, but it’s his approach, which we think throws up some great analogies for charities wanting to stay true to their beliefs and be true leaders. And they are;
1. At his core is a powerful belief in philanthropy, which comes through every pore
2. He has a vision – turning his new tin mine into a success- which he relentless pursues
3. He doesn’t let short term set backs take him of course, but knows when to call in extra help
4. He knows how to lead people with his vision – of finding tin
5. He understands what it takes to inspire people with words as well as actions
6. He’s keenly aware of how to inspire funders
7. He knows how to gain their continued support, and when to give updates on the progress that has been made
8. He’s happy to go out on a limb for what he believes in – in work and in love, however out of kilter and out of fashion this might be with his immediate circle
9. He leads by example and is consistent to his word
10. Despite much adoration, he is humble, welcoming and a genuinely consistent all round nice guy.
Can Ross Poldark do no wrong?More >
Posted 1 May 2015 | No comments
I wanted to write a quick checklist of some of things we’ve been asked to look at with our charity clients, many of whom are consolidating what they are doing with their marketing this year. It doesn’t matter if you are halfway through or at the beginning of your planning cycle, why not run-through this check list?
1. Define where you think the majority of your supporters are on the ‘supporter journey’- take a day out to review where each audience is
2. Challenge your team to generate one piece of comms a month that defines what your cause stands for (and has an insight that only you could use). Maybe that’s where this Halloween inspired idea came from for Doctors of the World?
3. Define the role of your social media and prune channels that’s aren’t working. Who are they for and are they adding any value? Who is responsible for them? Are they reflective of how people interact with you – on ‘broadcast’ or ‘listen’ mode?
4. Celebrate your work and thank your supporters, explain how you spent their money. Here’s a great example from Greenpeace – 2014 was BIG. Let’s make 2015 even bigger!
5. Run a competition with your supporters for better ways to engage with them. Help for Heroes have amassed a whole A- Z of ideas
6. Why not do a placement at one of your partners, maybe even better do a job swap with say P&G marketing
7. Help find new comms professionals for your Board of Trustees by drawing up a short list of new skills you need (go and meet them and get their advice). Look at WWF, they have a digital expert
8. Make your Trustee board quarterly reporting a useful part of the team reporting process, rather than an add on
9. Look for new commercial opportunities for your charity brand
10. Make sure you write up case studies of all your campaigns and partnership work and get it on your website (and enter awards)
I do hope you have a good year and please do make the most of it!
Posted 17 April 2015 | No comments
This is about you and me
It’s rare for Green Banana Marketing employees to speak about themselves but we all have some things that we are proud of. Today it is my turn. Julie Heyraud, Account exec. for almost 2 years and French! At Green Banana Marketing I have learnt many things about charities and become aware of all the world’s atrocities through our clients’ work. I’m proud to be part of these projects, to create a ‘better world’.
As you would expect at GBM, we believe everyone should be able to express their own opinions as long as they do not harm others. We are free to talk about politics, religion, cooking! We like to question, to communicate and discuss green and fair issues.
Last month on the 7th of January, a terrible event touched my country, France, and attacked one of the most important values of our democracy. Twelve people working for Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine, were killed in Paris at their offices. Twelve people like you and I with different religions, beliefs, lives, problems… You may not have heard of the magazine Charlie before, but for context, this publication has always been criticised for its controversial caricatures, which sometimes seems offensive to some. The magazine’s motivation was to be free to publish what they wanted. And this is what they did, which often resulted in death
Worried about the threat to freedom of speech we have defended for so long, two of my friends and I went straight into the organisation of an unexpected major peaceful demonstration, London’s ‘Je suis Charlie’. On the 7th January more than 1,000 people gathered within three hours in Trafalgar Square, on the 8th we organised a concert which was meant to unite eight musicians but ended up with 150 of the finest classical UK musicians, again, at the same place. On Sunday 11th more than 4,000 people came to Trafalgar Square and on our social page, we gained many photos and comments and Messieurs Nick Clegg and Boris Johnson visited Trafalgar Square as well as Madame Bernman, the French ambassador in the UK.
What does Charlie Hebdo represent?
I would not go so far. French society has always been recognised, hated and loved for its freedom of speech. This part of any democracy’s foundation has been threatened last month. Charlie Hebdo and its team always worked hard to protect it. Terrorists, who act like this, thankfully are very rare.
The only thing we know is that Charlie decided to publish their ideas, continuing the tradition of joking at everything. Despite that freedom, only 60,000 newspapers were published each week and there were rumours saying that the company was facing financial difficulties.
A very small readership to be any real threat to whoever organised this attack. Clearly, this attack was planned to deliver some kind of message.
Did it work? It only works if you allow it to work.
What happened then?
Marketing for charities is always fascinating but as we have seen in the past with the Ice bucket challenge, The Teenage Cancer Trust and Stephen Sutton, supporters campaigning on behalf of causes is always more effective; ‘people power’. Driven by passion, personal experience, they are able to move mountains (and be very convincing).
I recognised their feelings when I was in this situation. Those who believe in something want to defend it.
Driven by this passion and the preservation of freedom of speech, I rushed into organising these events.
Organising an event, is to deal with all the unexpected elements. But luckily these ones were very peaceful, uniting people with the same values.
What will happen in the future?
Professionally, I can confirm the theory, demonstrating the power of supporters and the power of a nation defending their beliefs and values. All actions were in response to 7th of January, they were not only condemning the death of twelve or more people but were defending something much more important, – human rights. Defending, protecting and spreading these values of democracy, people also wish to save others like in Nigeria for example.
Some positives learning have come to me in terms of communication. It was a really good unplanned experience. The power of supporters, the use of social channels like Facebook, the power of online word-of-mouth and the credibility of some personalities, reinforcing your communication (like an embassy).
This experience has shown me that people still value some things; they are still touched and are ready to stand up for what they believe. Here’s a little secret for you, the reader: I am even more convinced about and proud to work with and for charities and charitable causes.
As the Article 19 of the Human Rights declaration states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
As you are. And that is the biggest point.
Julie Heyraud ‘Je suis Charlie’More >
Posted 9 March 2015 | No comments
Posted 25 February 2015 | No comments
With so many amazing campaigns, it’s tough selecting the most innovative charity ads of the year. This is encouraging for the charity sector, even though it’s harder and harder for normal people to navigate through the various causes and lend their support.
Charities (and I guess their marketing agencies), have long understood that creating some kind of fame often increases share of mind and this hopefully leads to more support. Charities are often challenged by gaining the resources to support a new campaign. A strong business case helps, and entering the campaign into charity awards can fast track this. The campaign gets profiled in the brochure, 500 marketing folk hear about the charity and better still, if it wins, then profile pieces will be written. The charity may even become the agency’s charity of the year.
First up: NSPCC: ‘The underwear rule’
The underwear rule is a fantastic insight. It is a campaign devised by the NSPCC that provides a simple way to help parents keep their children safe from abuse. It’s simple for both parents and children to understand. This film perfectly captures the right tone and call to action. Well done to NSPCC.
Second place: CRUK ‘Play to cure’
What a great excuse to play a good game, when at the same time you’re helping Cancer Research UK’s scientists identify the DNA faults that could lead to cancer. Well done CRUK – lateral thinking at its best.
Third: Greenpeace ‘Tell Lego to dump Shell’
It’s good to see Greenpeace in action (and succeeding in stopping the Lego Shell partnership!) Keep up the great campaigning work. Without Greenpeace, life would be much less interesting (and less organisations would be kept in check).
Fourth: Barnardo’s ‘The Nation’s Fridge Door’
Just love Barnardo’s virtual fridge, based on the idea that we all like to share our children’s pictures of robins and pirates, but not all children have parents who care. In every family’s household the fridge door is a symbol of a parent’s pride and support of their children’s achievements. Yet the UK’s most vulnerable children don’t have anyone to give them this support or record their successes.
That’s why Barnardo’s is asking people to turn the support they give their own children into the support for the children who have nobody. The drawings sent in by families were published on their virtual fridge, and a selected few were published in The Guardian and in Barnardo’s stores.
Fifth: Breast Cancer Awareness ‘Fitness Bra Cam’
Breast Cancer Awareness have done so much to change the tone of the issue – brightening it up and making it more accessible. This campaign is a perfect example of this. In partnership with big companies, who helped them deliver a truly funny (and slightly awkward!) entrapment film!
Some new fame is worth having and these are great examples of charities taking risks but keeping their cause at the heart of the delivery. Well done to all andHappy New year 2015.More >
Posted 12 January 2015 | No comments
You’ve heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral in June but have you heard of Aymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease? ALS is a motor neuron disease that attacks the nerves in the spinal cord and brain.
ALS is the most common motor neurone disease, which often starts to show signs at the age of 60. There are an average of two deaths per 100,000 people each year in the UK alone and survival from onset of the disease is 3-4 years.
A pretty convincing case for support, which the Ice Bucket Challenge, that originated in the US, aimed to raise awareness and money for this disease,
but how efficient has it been?
The craze caught on with 2.4 million videos related to the ‘IBC’ on Facebook this summer, and a further 28 million people joining the conversation (either in likes, comments or posts) between June 1st and September 30th. ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ was in the news on average 78 times per day and trending by the end of August; there were more Google searches for this than for all of the searches for ‘Gaza’, ‘Ferguson’ or ‘Iraq’.
Perhaps it was a good antidote to the Malaysian airline tragedy, Ebola virus outbreak, the continued fight against ISIS, and not to mention the passing of Robin Williams and Joan Rivers! But has the feel good factor of taking part been helping charities? MNDA, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (the charity most strongly associated with ALS in the UK), has raised £7m from ice bucket donations, a sum worthy of a half seconds soaking on a warm summer’s day.
But in the context of other previous charity challenges, did ‘IBC’ actually deliver? The ‘no makeup selfie’ for CRUK raised over £8m in just 6 days and ‘Movember 2013’ raised a whopping £20.4m in just one month. Both of these suggest that the ‘IBC’ should have raised significantly more in four months of intensive activity with an estimated 20 million people taking part.
The craze is already beginning to freeze over!
How many of the IBC videos actually resulted in donations? The Charities Aid Foundation estimated of the 1 in 6 Britons that have taken part so far, only 1 in 10 have actually donated to a charity. This rings true, for the 20 million who took part, if each donated £1, the total raised would be nearer £20 million.
Thoroughly entertained, but the bottom line is that most of the videos didn’t result in giving to a good cause. And there have been environmental challenges about the amount of water used in the IBCs, particularly the one involving 40,000 litres from a dumper truck.
Overall, the IBC could have been more productive and we think:
1. Although substantial amounts were raised for ALS.org and MNDA, it is disproportionate to the number of people taking part
2. Clarity should have been given around the fundraising mechanic, as many people were confused about what to do
3. A simple branding device might well have helped the participants on either side of the challenge! Also, if the IBC had been a more successful fundraising magnet for ALS, a better-branded mechanic would have drawn less income from other charities, what William MacAskill, Vice President of Giving What We Can, calls ‘funding cannibalism’
4. The campaign has raised awareness for ‘ALS’, but not as much for Aymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis disease – next time participants would benefit from a progress report and a brief summary of the actions taken as a result of their involvement
5. From an environmental point of view, the campaign mechanics could have involved Water Aid, who themselves raised considerable funds on the back of the challenge. Water Aid raised £47,000 in one day – which is 50% higher than it has ever received in a single day before). The should have been a good well thought through partnership, involving other charities as well as, perhaps a utility company.
There are more efficient and environmentally friendly ways to fundraise than the Ice Bucket Challenge; it is definitely fun to watch but may be more of a damp squib than the cool enterprise we first thought. A bit more careful thought at the beginning could have quadruple the income raised for Aymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and made a real difference. Will IBC ii be back next Summer – we certainly hope so.More >
Posted 7 October 2014 | No comments
It was back in 2005 that I launched the Marketing Society not-for-profit group – a small thought leadership group for charity marketing folk. The Marketing Society backed the new group and have been stellar supporters ever since of charity and cause related marketing. Little did I know then that the Society would honour me with a Fellowship all these years later. I have admired previous Fellows, and secretly each year at the ceremony, wondered how they managed to achieve their awards…
Receiving the award was a good moment to reflect on the charity sector and the work we’ve done. Above all else, the thing that stands out most is the real passion people in those organisations have for their causes and for making a difference. This, to coin the words of Greenpeace, has often meant “stopping wrongs”, which is not a bad thing to say about your day job!
A redefined Marketing Society vision is also more hands-on and about making a difference in your work; “inspiring bolder leadership” including the work to support sustainability and good causes.
Charities have also taken a long hard look at their visions to meet the needs of today’s demanding supporters who want more transparency and greater action. Macmillan are about supporting and being there for the journey with cancer, Oxfam are about changing lives for the better – lifting people out of poverty. Charities have become more action oriented around fewer issues, which is a good thing. Passion and leadership doesn’t have to come from the global North. Companies like Unilever with their 5 Levers for change and the Fairtrade Foundation, addressing sustainability and poverty, have found that people care as deeply about sustainability in emerging markets such as China and Brazil, and these countries now bring great leadership and inspiration to the table.
And organisations like Amnesty have relocated their resources to be closer to where human rights abuses are happening. There is no point in standing on the edge of the issue. I remember Blake Lee-Harwood at one event, Greenpeace’s then Director of Campaigns, telling us how Greenpeace ‘practiced what they preached’. Still guided by the words of one of the early founders, Harald Zindler – “the optimism of the action is better than the pessimism of the thought”. Today all members of Greenpeace staff are expected to ‘stop a wrong’ or to try and ‘replace it with a right’. It is simplicity and passion at work. Take their fight against Lego partnering with Shell, who are battling to dig up the Artic, and you see the same approach at work. Seb Coe talked about his role in bringing the Olympic games to Africa, one of his stated dreams, at a Marketing Society hosted evening. His vision is to make health and sport a part of everyone’s life and normalise disability in sport. I hope that the Marketing Society continue to play a pivotal role in inspiring people to see optimism and opportunity in life changing action.More >
Posted 22 September 2014 | No comments
Posted 1 September 2014 | No comments