Video: Cause and Brand Partnerships with Simon Mainwaring

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 24-06-2011


Last week a good friend of charity: water Simon Mainwaring stopped by the office during his NYC trip for the launch of his new book We First.

Not only is Simon a fellow Aussie (so you know he’s a good bloke), he’s also one of the smartest people thinking forward about how capitalism will change as the consumer conscious starts to guide purchase decisions (enabled in large part by the Internet).

I’m a big fan of Simon’s work so I took the chance to film a quick flip cam video with him in our office. Here’s the result – a quick conversation between the two of us focused on the future of cause marketing and brand partnerships with non-profits:

Brand & Cause Partnerships with Simon Mainwaring from Paull Young on Vimeo.

If you enjoyed that (I hope you did!) then you’ll love Simon’s book. I’m biased because he’s a mate, but I strongly recommend a read of We First to any marketer – it will help us not only lift the brands we represent, but also show how we can play a role in making the globe a better place for brands and consumers alike!

Online Fundraising Platforms

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 20-06-2011


There is a plethora of online fundraising platforms out there, and more emerging every month.

I recently asked one of my awesome interns at charity: water, Alicia Kim, take on as a project a quick review of the many players out there with some assessment of what differentiates them.

She did such a good job with this interactive presentation I thought it would be a crime not to share it with the world – so enjoy!

One thing to remember if you’re thinking about online fundraising – the various sites and options are ONLY tools – this is a point I’ve made in an answer regarding mycharity: water on Quora. It’s what you do with those tools that will make an impact!

New way to find pussy

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Humour, Internet | Posted on 19-06-2011


I was walking down my street the other day and noticed this lost cat poster 2.0 lining Avenue B – a QR code on a home made poster!

(apologies for double entendre in the headline… couldn’t resist)

5 Learnings from Year 1 at charity: water

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Life, Marketing | Posted on 09-06-2011


This time last year I took a plunge and joined my favorite non-profit, charity: water, as Director of Digital.

The first year has been amazing. The most fulfilling, exciting and extending year of my professional career. So I thought I’d take some time to share the 5 biggest learnings from my first year on the job.

  1. Team is everything
  2. The power of brand and creative
  3. Relationships drive return
  4. Prioritize and be decisive
  5. People are good
  • Team is Everything

I’ve learned a huge amount about teamwork alongside my executive team at charity: water. ‘Teamwork’ was always a value I appreciated, but I didn’t quite understand just how important it is, and just how much hard work it is, until the past year.

We work at it every day – we’ve brought on executive coaches, we’ve read books together, we’ve spent a lot of time intentionally learning how to work better together. A real turning point for us has been the past 6 months, we’ve begun meeting as an executive team every morning at 9am and the additional time together has made a big impact.

Teamwork requires deep trust (that only comes with time), constant communication (listening as much as talking), and, importantly, vulnerability (not easy for a rugby player). It’s also essential that everyone on the team has deep committment to shared goals and to each other.

The biggest learning for me has been that you don’t really realize what good teamwork is until you start working as a high performing team.

  • The power of brand and creative

Few things can boost your brand in an online world more than great creative. And for truly inspiring creative you need talented people given the freedom, time and resources to produce amazing work.

We’re very lucky to have a stroyteller and huge creative brain in our Founder Scott, and also the strongest creative team I’ve ever worked with led by Vik’s genius and supported by a great team.

So many times I’ve worked with big brands who would focus rigidly on budgets, ‘eyeballs’ and numbers driven strategies. Content and creative is just a means to an end in this dynamic. But now I’ve seen how an investment of time and effort in inspiring, powerful content can lead to huge gains and ROI.

At charity: water we spend about $0.08 for every $1 we raise – and our powerful brand and creative is a huge element in making that happen.

  • Relationships drive return

One of the first things I did at charity: water was put together a digital strategy hinging around relationships. This comes naturally to the brand – and most importantly it involves thinking of people as people, not wallets.

One of our strategic priorities as an organization is to ‘inspire a movement of passionate, informed and active supporters’. We can only do this by focusing in on our customer experience, thinking about long-term relationships with every donor, and continually thinking ‘how can we make our fundraisers heros?’.

We do this in many ways, such as by focusing on entertaining content and saying thank you instead of asking for money (we’ve never sent direct mail). We’re also working on proving to our donors where every cent of their money goes, and hopefully delighting them by showing the impact they have made.

Think about this for a second: what’s the last thing you’ve done for your customers?

Customer experience matters. Relationships and giving to your audience is so valid. Our thank you emails, water changes everything, dollars to projects.

  • Prioritize and be decisive

charity: water is a brand on an explosive growth curve. We perpetually have more opportunity than we can deal with. This has taught me that prioritizing and decisiveness are essential skills for a leader.

One of our coaches, Carol Morley, shared a thought on this that has stuck with me:

Someone who makes 10 decisions a day, and gets seven right and 3 wrong, will be much more successful in the long run than someone who makes just 3 decisions… but ensures all 3 are perfect.

In the words of another mentor Mike Moran: Do It Wrong Quickly.

  • People are good

Everyday I’m inspired by things people do to help the cause. Michael Birch not only plays a big role in keeping our lights on, but is investing energy in a new web project. Bill Nussey’s Silverpop via Joohae and Erinne have revitalized our approach to email. The good people at Razorfish have done huge things for us digitally pro-bono (shout out: Andrea, Rupa, Raashi, Shawn, Emily). Michael Lazerow and the Buddy Media team have even helped us help Will Smith spread the word!

And then there’s the kids, like little Tariku who built a well with his 5th birthday, and 11 year old Nathan Hidjat and his Google Doodle.

People are good. And people are also kinda lazy. Inspire them and empower them and they’ll change the world for you.

That’s the big 5 insights… there are thousands more of course! If there is anything else you’d like me to share just leave a comment or ask me on Quora.

One Piece of Advice from the DMEF Rising Stars

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, Life, Marketing | Posted on 01-06-2011


I was recently honored to be nominated alongside Avinash Kaushik, Shane Atchison, Steve Froehlich and Megan Pagliuca as a 2011 DMEF Rising Star.

The awards dinner is coming up in June, but ahead of that date I asked each of the Rising Stars to contribute the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone just embarking on their career in marketing/communications?

I’ll start to kick us off:

Keep learning. Every single day. Students and new professionals have never had access to so much information that can expand their lives and careers.

Join Twitter and follow smart people, start a Google Reader and subscribe to a range of blogs and RSS feeds, visit news websites every day (or read the paper over breakfast!), subscribe to some quality magazines like the Atlantic. Read some books!

The more time you spend now absorbing information the more you’ll expand your worldview, your career prospects and your strategic thinking doing the track. And it’s like eating right or going to the gym – you need to make it a part of your every day routine to get results!

Avinash Kaushik, Analytics Evangelist, Google

Draw a Venn diagram.

Circle one contains the things you are really good at and passionate about. This requires far more soul searching than you might imagine, in the end you have things you LOVE doing.

Circle two contains things your audience (co-workers, Twitter followers, etc) really care about, things they value. This means asking questions, listening, asking follow up questions, listening some more.

What’s at the intersection of those two circles? Is there anything you are passionate about (also good at) and what your audience values?

Build a career doing that.

You’ll live a life of bliss. Your audience will cherish you. Everything good in life will come from that.

Megan Pagliuca, VP Display Media, Merkle

The advertising industry is going through immense change, an evolution from an offline world to an online world. Immense change enables immense opportunity, both for ambitious young professionals and for new visions and innovations to make the advertising world work better than it did before. A few pieces of advice for someone starting out:

1.       Break the Rules – In school, breaking the rules did not work to your advantage.  In the business world, breaking the rules is a critical piece of success.  Breaking current processes, creating new ways to do things even when you’re given a million reasons why they can’t be done, is how you innovate.

2.       Believe in the Vision – In order to be successful, whether it’s delivering better results, creating a new technology, or generating efficiencies in the marketplace, you must believe in what you are doing and do it with passion.

3.       Take Calculated Risks – The consequences of doing nothing is greater than the risk of failing at something you want or believe in. Take the job at the smaller company where you’ll gain more experience, challenge your competitor to a head to head test, or build the product that you know will win in market.

Steve Froehlich, VP Membership, ASPCA

My first response was only 4 words: “you gotta burn to earn,” but I thought this sounded better:

As a direct response marketer in nonprofit fundraising, we should recognize that we are standing on the shoulders of giants who were writing direct mail copy and delivering data on tapes to service bureaus when I was just a baby.  As technology continues to evolve, it comes as little surprise that the basic principles of RFM segmentation, urgent & emotional creative, efficiencies of scale, meaningful mass personalization, and prompt acknowledgments remain at the core of what we do. Fundraisers who see a dip in performance can (and do) often blame external factors like the economy, natural disasters, or even their agency… and while it has taken me some time in life to understand the difference between what is urgent and what is important, the best advice I’ve ever received was from a dear friend who told me, “you’re a fundraiser: spend the most time on what raises the most money and spend the least time on what raises the least.”

What’s your best tip for young professionals? Leave a comment!

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