Sewing Flags

knaan2_500wIn 2010, the world was introduced to K’naan, a Somalian artist who’s song Wavin’ Flagwas chosen as Coca-Cola’s anthem for the FIFA World Cup. The inspirational tune exploded during the World Cup and garnered well deserved attention for an artist that figured out how to communicate an idea as simple as waving a flag.

What’s so special about a flag? Separated from what they represent, there isn’t much to a flag. It’s a sampling of fabrics sewn together in a pattern and hung on a pole. But when you wrap that fabric around an idea or a common belief, that’s when they become something worth waving.

When we create content for our organizations, we need to think about it as if we’re sewing flags. Flags that are accessible to our followers (supporters or customers), that communicate the heart of why we exist, and that are worth waving as a sign of support.

Let’s think about this a little more in relation to what flags actually do…

Flags unify people.

When our followers share our content, it connects them with our communities. People that they might not have known were connected with our organizations will come out of the woodworks, will communicate with each other and bond with one another. They will begin to feel a sense of belonging within our community of supporters and understand themselves as being a part of the bigger picture of our organization. That’s exactly what we need.

Flags communicate a message.

The content we create should always communicate why we exist. If your organization exists because you believe that every community should have clean water, your content should always carry that message. If it’s because your local school district is not properly equipped, then make sure every piece of content is connected to that. If you believe that laughter can help bridge socio-economic divisions, then only create content that leaves people laughing while opening their eyes to the bigger picture.

To make that happen, you’ll have to get creative with your content. Look at the “why” behind your organization from every possible angle, picking up every story that is connected to the heart of it. If it doesn’t connect there, then you should question why you’re sharing it.

If the content you create doesn’t clearly draw a connection to the “why” behind your organization, then you’re not maximizing your marketing impact. It would be the same as if we combined all the flags of North and South America and hung that from our flagpoles. It wouldn’t communicate a direct connection to the USA, rather just to this particular collection of countries.

Flags represent our support.

Hopefully you’re taking care of your followers. When they need something, you’re quick to help and quick to provide any support they need. Our content should create the same message of support and when our followers share that content, they wave a flag that tells their community how satisfied they are with our relationship.

Flags evoke pride.

Create inspirational pieces that your followers can wave and brag about your all the great work you do. Non-profits have some of the strongest relationships. If people believe in an organization enough to commit personal financial support, they’re all in. They are already proud of what you’re doing, so your content should help them celebrate that. If you’re a for profit organization, then it might take a little longer to transition your casual online relationships into committed ones but the result would be the same if you’re creating strong content to evoke that sense of pride.

I also know that sewing flags will take work. It will take a lot of time and it will take smart people to get your content right. But when you do, you’ll find more people connecting with and sharing your content because it will be something worth waving.

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