By Aimee Woodall
The pictures started showing up in a trickle, then a flood. Image after image of smiling faces, all inspired by what was behind them, started pouring in from all across Houston. Large-scale mural project, the GIVE Wall series, was born out of a need to get people to get out and support worthy causes in the community, and the only way to do that is with assistance. In short, you need an army mobilizing others to action.
As business owners, we all wear a lot of hats. We’re producing work, making deals, operating a company, creating in-depth strategies, and handling everything in-between. Sometimes this gives us the idea that the only way to work is solo. It’s not; not by a long shot! To be successful when launching a movement, stirring a cause or causing a stir, you need a great team, some go-to people, and a stellar network. .
Don’t be an Island
John Donne said, “No man is an island. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” Think of this as both your calling and your wake-up call. It takes more than two to tango and the steps you take affect the other dancer and the dance. When trying to make a big change in your community, start with the people that live there and get them involved.
Crazy or Connected
One man standing alone with a plumed hat is a crazy person. One man with a plumed hat and a bunch of friends with instruments is a marching band. When it’s just you, it can be hard to get the momentum you need to get your project off the ground. Connection + crazy ideas = success.
Find a Megaphone…or Ten!
Amplify your efforts; start by talking to those in your network. Who do you know that’s interested in the causes you care about? Once you get a handful of loud voices in your corner, turn them loose with the tools they need to succeed. Make sure to think through the ways that make it easy for people to participate. With the GIVE Walls, people were given a quick elevator pitch and social posts to repurpose and share, complete with a hashtag to get everyone connected.
Bring it to the Masses
Now that your core network is on board, it’s time to launch like a baby bird! Your project needs to use its own wings to fly. Let it. By mobilizing the public in putting their own personal spin on your idea, it becomes bigger; much bigger.
Each GIVE Wall has inspired a new audience in Houston; some because they were following along and some just because they happened to drive by the location. And because they were moved to action, they started sharing. They took photos, they tweeted to their friends, they challenged others to give back, and all that was done in the beginning was the building of the not-so-blank canvas to say what was already in their heads and hearts.
They made it art.
Aimee Woodall is the owner of the Black Sheep Agency, a Houston-based strategic branding agency specializing in cause-driven marketing, public relations, social media, and community outreach. You can contact Amy by phone at 832-971-7725, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.theblacksheepagency.com.