In a Jelly World, Your Brand Needs Advocates

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, charity: water, Internet, Marketing | Posted on 12-01-2014

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This week Twitter co-founder Biz Stone unwrapped his newest creation, the mobile search engine ‘Jelly‘. At first glance, it’s simple: post a picture and a question, people answer it in the app. However, it highlights a continued trend boosting the importance of building advocates for your brand.

I downloaded the app immediately and started playing with it – mainly because I’m a huge Biz Stone fan after reading Nick Bilton’s exceptional Hatching Twitter. But it was this Thursday while participating in a panel for the Wildlife Conservation Society (with some very, very clever people) that the shift this app represents really came to the fore for me.

We had a discussion about fundraising and the big question about what’s more valuable: chasing a few major donors (who can give millions), or targeting thousands of much smaller donors. Now in that argument, I come down passionately on the side of the little guys. It’s why our focus at charity: water is on building a grassroots movement of inspired people actively giving, fundraising and influencing their peers. We have amazing major donors, but the real power of the movement is delivered by thousands of normal people running their own word-of-mouth marketing campaigns for the water cause.

We don’t want people to give quietly, and we don’t want them to give out of guilt. We want people to become vocal advocates to influence their friends to care.

So during the WCS panel we put forward the thought experiment of who would come to mind if an individual starts looking for an organization that cares for friendly sloths – like this guy:

To do a very quick piece of active research, I posted a pic of the happy sloth above on Jelly directly from my seat on the panel, and asked “What’s a great organization to give to that supports sloths?”

Within a couple of minutes, my mate Frank Danna down in Houston responded, recommending a small organization in Costa Rica named the Sloth Sanctuary.

This was followed up by one suggestion for the WWF from a stranger, but also two more recommendations for the Sloth Sanctuary from my good friend Shawn Cheng and another stranger. And sadly no mentions for the Wildlife Conservation Society (a great organization).

I’d never heard of the Sloth Sanctuary before, but if I was going to give time or money to help out Sloth’s now it’s them I’d support. They’ve built a brand that creates advocates, and like every human I trust my friends recommendations above any other source.

This means that your brand needs advocates. Especially in a Jelly World.

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