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We recently wrote an article on Storytelling and how it has evolved since Social Media became such a big part of our lives. The benefits are endless; your story can now become interactive on multiple levels as well as also being one of the best ways of building relationships with your social community. However, as we already mentioned in the first article, just telling your story is simply not enough. You have to live it to spread it. Myself and my partner Dayne Shillaw, have recently worked on the Social Media Campaign for Coca-Cola RockCorps in South Africa. This campaign is the epitome of living your story, and here’s why.

RockCorps is a movement that encourages youth to give 4 hours of their time volunteering, in order to EARN a ticket to see a concert featuring three world class artists, exclusively for volunteers. No amount of money can buy you a ticket. No volunteering, no ticket. It is as simple as that.

In association with U-PARTY, an organization that helps schools to fundraise by hosting under-18 socials, Coca-Cola RockCorps signed up 75 schools to participate in the #CokeRockCorps campaign. Each school received a unique #tag. They then had to compete against one another using their unique #tag and #CokeRockCorps, to win a fundraising party at their school hosted by U-Party, and a chance to volunteer which would in turn, earn them a ticket to a once in a life time RockCorps experience; To watch Busta Rhymes and Ciara perform on 16 November 2013 with the rest of the volunteers.

So we had a winning concept, and a cool prize element, but how were we going to get the youth to create and live their own stories through this campaign? It’s more than just an accumulation of #tags, it’s a social youth movement… We discovered is the following recipe for Social media success;

  • Give them guidance
  • Inspire them with authenticity
  • Give them something tangible to believe in
  • Create a platform for them to express themselves on

The problem I see with campaigns these days, especially ones that are directed at the youth, is that they are too complicated. As Einstein said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” Well, the same applies to executing successful and understandable campaigns. If your audience doesn’t understand it, they aren’t going to participate. Simplicity is key.

Often, people think that social media campaigns living solely online is enough. I don’t think this is true. Coca-Cola RockCorps is the perfect case study to demonstrate that. By attaching something tangible to your campaign, you can make a much greater impact. I recently read an article from the Harvard business review called, The Human Moment At Work, that describes how we are starting to lack what they refer to as ‘the human moment’. I feel this theory illustrates my point regarding tangibility, well.

“To make the human moment work, you have to set aside what you’re doing, put down the memo you were reading, disengage from your laptop, abandon your daydream, and focus on the person you’re with. It is a physical connection. Usually when you do that, the other person will feel the energy and respond in kind. Together, you quickly create a force field of exceptional power. The positive effects of a human moment can last long after the people involved have said goodbye and walked away.

Our #CokeRockCorps campaign has been a success because we developed a Human Moment at our volunteering projects, which was a tangible and real experience, we then drove and enhanced this experience through Social Media. People could relate to it and believe in it, because they had SEEN it and EXPERIENCED it.

This ties back to the idea of storytelling once more, and the importance of the authenticity it brings with it. What would you rather hear? A genuine, authentic story or some marketing mumbo-jumbo that someone has been paid to say? People respond to PEOPLE, not marketing campaigns. Of course, we have encouraged the kids to create content. Key word being encouraged, not pushed or coerced, and the results speak for themselves.

To date, since we launched in September 2013, we have generated over an estimated 140 Million impressionsand the campaign isn’t even over yet (official results to be announced) This is more than we could ever have dreamed of, but more than the numbers, what we are most proud of is the ownership the kids and schools have taken of this campaign. The schools taking part are extremely competitive, but they have also shown compassion and kindness for one another, and some amazing stories have been born from it.

One high school said they would give their U-Party prize to an underprivileged school if they won. From that initial idea, a group of teens from 12 different schools then decided to create a daytime youth event for charity, called #JoziUnite. The event will take place at The Sands in Sandton, and will take the form of a day-time pool-party where teens will socialise in the sun, on the property at The Sands. A host of entertainers have donated their time to the event, and the list includes some of the country’s biggest names. Twins on Decks, DJ Rikay, Dj Adie, Deader Than Disco and DJ Naves have all been announced. A further 6 celebrities will be announced over the course of November, and the list just gets bigger and better. This is a perfect example of how our new #CokeRockCorps community has taken ownership of this campaign.

I’d like to end this article with a quote by Chris Anderson; The CEO of Ted Talks that inspired our strategy for Coca-Cola RockCorps, and resulted in the above results. “One of the great differences between running a for-profit company and an organization like TED is that it’s much more possible now to focus on the radical openness strategy and let the community do its thing. Let the tiger leap where it will; maintain just the lightest touch on the tail to stop it from going completely over the cliff. Usually the tiger will find exciting new terrain and bring you along with it”.