I recently had a dinner party at my house for "China ex-pats" - Westerners that have lived in China and now have returned to the normalcy of Western civilization. I enjoy getting people with the China connection together as the group gets tight pretty quick. I guess its because people feel an instant bond with those who have undergone the same experience. Only a handful of people in this world can relate to devouring late night jian bings (AKA "pancakes from heaven " as my roommate would call them), visiting the creepy yet still interesting bar scene of San Li Tun over and over again, and heading to work on the sardine-packed Beijing bus at 8am. Got to love China...
At the dinner party, I met Leslie Forman. Leslie lived in Shanghi and Jiaxing for 18 months in 2006 and 2007. She now works for Papillia, a startup that provides online communications and fundraising software for non-profits. Leslie brought up the idea of a video for viral marketing. But what was different about her idea from ones mentioned in my previous entry is that her video has no pictures and no spoken words. It is just text and music.
So where did the idea come from?
Leslie showed me her inspiration: www.thegirleffect.org. The video is part of a web campaign for a non-profit called the Girl Effect that aims to increasing access to microloans for women. Take a look at their 2-minute video below.
Pretty awesome, right?
I think this video rocks for three main reasons:
- Keep it simple stupid.No pictures. No dialogue. No interference. Just words. With just words, the Girl Effect is able to tell a simple story. A story that is amazingly illustory despite the lack of images. A story that sticks with you when you leave the video and go to bed and that lingers with you to work the next day so that you patronize your poor co-workers with monopolizing lunch time convo about women and microfinance. (Or maybe that's just me.)
- Don't exclude anyone. There was not one microfinance peice of vocab in that whole video. It is funny that the premise of the video is to mobilize funds for microloans for women and that the video never metions the word once. I love it. You do no need to be a microfinance expert to understand the video. Wording is simple and ope enough to allow anyone viewing the video to "get the gist."
- Give the miro/macro look. Make To Stickauthor Dan Heath highlighted this point in his blog peice, Deconstructing the Girl Effect. The video is effective because it uses one image to tie together the micro and macro vision. It starts from the ground level, with a girl, and then builds to the major issue, 600,000,000 girls with the same problem. We are left still thinking about the girl, but with an understanding of how she fits into the bigger equation.
Leslie and I have started brainstorming on a Wokai Effect ourselves. According to Dan Heath, we need to take the Wokai Fact Card (Download wokai_fact_card.pdf) , boil it down, and come up with a 2-minute pitch about Wokai. And that pitch has to be simple enough that anyone can understand and want to get involved.
So how do we get the everyday Joe interested in helping a poor person in China?
Leslie had a late night brainstorming session with a whiteboard and her cell phone (see below). If you can't make out her scribbles, I will do my best to summarize: China is developing at a rapid pace, especially in urban areas. Rural areas are not experiencing this same development. As such, rural inhabitants are moving into cities to find work. This is causing stress on resources, social tension, and uneven development. Wokai reverses this process by offering opportunity in rural areas. With a loan, a rural inhabitant can start a business, grow the community and create local-economies in rural China areas. This allows for more even growth, creating a better China and a better world.
I like this idea. But I question its universality. Does your everyday Joe understand this story?
Ask yourself: Why would my neighbor care about China? I think one may be able to find the answer to this question by taking on the macroview first. I think one could argue that a more stable, socially responsible, equitable China means a safer and better world in general. I think all would agree with that statement.
Now from that, how do we make the micro? Whats our girl? Whats our hook?