I was reading Sue Spaight’s (@SueSpaight) most recent post Social Marketing Strategy: What I learned about giving from #saveteecycle and a Jewel song and I think she has managed to bring words to something a lot of us have felt. So much so for me in fact, I felt my response was better suited here than as a comment to her post.
I’m a Pepsi kid. I literally grew up cutting my teeth on Pepsi. As much as I can recall I’ve drunk Pepsi my whole life. It is my default soda of choice. My connection with the brand is that strong. So when the Pepsi Refresh project came around, it sort of felt like a win for the home team. I know change in the corporate world is a “dirty word.” It’s a word that strikes fear into the hearts of so many of our institutions both public and private. After all, doesn’t common sense teach us “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it?” Change is so hard, and so scary. But no one said riding the wheels of change would be easy. Real, true change never is, history shows us that.
For some, the actual realization that change, real change, not the cosmetic lipstick on a pig campaign promise kind of change that goes nowhere, but real, visceral change has to hit them square in the face, right where they live. And yes, there are times where even this won’t work until it actually physically happens to them. So, when the Brew City Flood hit, I was scared for my friends in Milwaukee. New friends that hadn’t even had the chance to become old acquaintances with whom I shared a past, a little history, as well as old friends I’ve known for years.
As Sue points out, “Give more than you get.”, “Give more than you ask for, and more than is asked of you.”, “Promote others more than yourself.”, these are some of the basic tenets that Social Media is built on. So when the Brew City Flood hit, I have to admit I felt helpless. Partly because I knew that financially at least, I couldn’t substantially help anyone who suffered at the hands of the flood. Another reason was because I was physically so far way. All I could do was well-wish and watch from a distance. So when #saveteecycle (saveteecycle website) came around, sure, I donated a dozen of my favorite tees to the cause with only one question, “How was I going to get them there?” Fortunately for me someone I knew volunteered to drop them off, so that solved my problem. I knew it wasn’t much, but I also knew I was helping in the one way I could at that time and that was enough.
There’s an old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Hillary Clinton used it as First Lady, and later in her run for the Presidency, just as others have used it before her. But as Social Media has pointed out, it also takes a community to grow a business. Something the corporate world of today is trying to close it’s eyes and ears to and just wish away. But we owe it to them, and to ourselves to point out that there is a better way.
Perhaps the giant mega-corporations of the world, the Macy’s, the ConAgra’s, the Exxon’s and BP’s of the world have grown so big, and so huge that they’d rather eat their own young than change. Let’s hope not. After all, there’s an old Chinese proverb that says, “Many hands make light work,” and what we need to convince corporations and businesses to change is not so much many hands, as it is many voices. Voices united in a call for change.
After all, no one said riding the wheels of change would be pretty, or easy. Making history never is. Just remember, people, and by extension the community is where the real change will begin. Will you be part of that change, or rather will you choose to live life on the sidelines?