Friday, January 23, 2009

Flashmobs and Non Profits

How much fun is it to be a part of your cause or organization? This video is part of a public marketing effort by T-Mobile and from the faces in the crowd you can see they're having fun.

From what I can make out, there are plants in the crowd -- those who are part of the event, know the songs, know the choreography. But what is exciting to watch is how more and more people are added into the mix over time, and many who are not part of the marketing program.

This video reminds me of an old camp song that starts, "It only takes a spark to get a fire going." I wonder what could be done in today's cause-related organizations to add an element of fun, of excitement, of spontaneity that would engage all those around you. Here in Seattle, one of our famous companies Pike Place Fish knows how to do this as they are world-famous for their fish-throwing antics and customer engagement (yep, that's them in the FISH and FISH STICKS videos). Here are two for-profit examples of companies who learned to engage those around them. What are good non profit examples?

Whether you like T-Mobile or not, you can't deny the impact these flashmobs have had. Googling t mobile dancing video produces more than 22 million results. YouTube has more than 40 related videos on their site just from that same search and people are talking, buzzing, and sharing. Not to mention those who participated will share the story offline making individual and powerful connections.

Think past handing out fliers in the park. How can you add delight and amazement to your marketing and positively (leave behind the offensive sandwich boards and negative messaging) engage the public in your cause. Think of the smiles and joy you see in the faces of the people in this video -- how can you add that same quality to your own community engagement?

-- David Kinard, PCM

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