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26 Apr

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Building a movement through integrated communications. Everybody is somebody in an integrated, digital world.

April 26, 2013 | By |

It’s amazing to me that a video of kittens can amass millions of views on YouTube.  Even more astonishing still is that YouTube viral sensations are often produced by hobbyists, or college students, much to the chagrin of Madison Avenue.  What may begin as a video or blog about a little known injustice can quickly gain momentum through social media as it is posted, shared and liked throughout the world.  What results is a movement.  Social justice, or advocacy, in the digital age.

One of the most profound examples of integrated communications fueling a movement is the Kony 2012 Invisible Children campaign.  (http://invisiblechildren.com/media/videos/program-media/kony-2012/)

In 2004, a small group of filmmakers became aware of a horrific human rights crisis in Uganda involving a violent terrorist organization, the Lord’s Resistance Army, and it’s leader Joseph Kony.  He and his thugs abduct, drug and abuse children to brainwash them and turn them into child soldiers, who often kill their own families to sever all ties to their loved ones, show allegiance to the army and, consequently terminate any hope of a return to society.  The ensuing documentary, Invisible Children: The Rough Cut, is estimated to have been viewed by over 5 million people in homes, schools, government and NGO offices around the world, catapulting this crisis into a movement for justice and one of the most powerful examples of integrated communications in history.

Integrated Communications in 2013 speaks to our digital world and the myriad of ways through which we communicate a message.  Gone are the days of the siloed approach to communicating through a simple press release, or issue advertisement in the Washington Post.  We are a global society, connected every minute of the day through terabytes of information in the form of email, Tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, 24-hour news broadcasts, and an unrelenting bombardment of data through the Internet.

So, what inspires people to view and share media?  Who can predict what the market will embrace?  People are inspired by what moves them emotionally.  We all want to be reminded that we matter, and that we have influence in our world.  But, it’s not enough to produce an entertaining new video or emotionally charged content.  You need a compelling call to action to give your message legs and must then know how to build and execute a thoughtful campaign around that content to truly harness the power of the digital world.  With so many tools and vehicles comes a litany of opportunities to communicate, and miscommunicate.  Kittens are cute, but it takes more sophistication to make the world your marketplace and its citizens your advocates.