Every day there seems to be a new issue or cause calling for increased awareness. We get bombarded with efforts to support, but sometimes the actions of following up fall through the cracks and are forgotten. So how do we get our message through to our prospective audiences and create concrete action?
Simple – work smarter, not harder.
Sure, you can send out a mass mailing list to targeted areas or run a Facebook advertisement. And while I think those are important tactics, you can make a much more powerful statement and call to action by thinking outside the box.
A recent example occurred when a high school senior named David Ledbetter in Charlotte, NC piggybacked off the high demand for Popeye’snew chicken sandwich. Ledbetter recognized the fast-food restaurant’s viral success as an opportunity to engage with people waiting in line at Popeye’s on why they need to register to vote. He parlayed the popularity of the chicken sandwich into a civic campaign.
Let’s be honest – it’s tough for busy people to keep track of current events. But that doesn’t stop people on the streets from asking you to sign a petition or donate to a cause. For me, I’m usually in a hurry and I never have the time to fully engage with the representative. I’ll nod my head and smile, but mostly think about how I am supposed to be somewhere else.
Ledbetter, however, approached people when they had nothing to do but wait for a sandwich. With the long line at Popeye’s he was able to engage people, answer their questions and help them take the steps to register to vote.
That day Ledbetter successfully registered 16 people – and attracted national attention for his grassroots plan, something that would not have occurred if he went the traditional route.
Sometimes we get caught up in doing what is already accepted in communications plans because it is easy and been done before. But looking for outside inspiration and a new creative influence can pay off in the long run. So while the beloved chicken sandwich from Popeye’s may be a seasonal item, working smarter – not harder – is year-round.