The social activist video, Kony 2012, went viral almost instantly. After only being online for a couple of weeks, it has over 80 million views. How does one small organization catch the hearts and minds of the world in just hours? With the same concept we use—Heart & Mind® Branding. Invisible Children created this video that touched people’s hearts by showing the cruelty Ugandan children are forced into, and gave tens of millions awareness of and hope that we can end Joseph Kony’s rein.
Since the release of the video, Invisible Children has received a lot of backlash regarding their finances, the legitimacy of their organization, and the detainment of co-creator Jason Russell. All opinions aside, there’s no denying this video’s power to capture the attention of millions overnight. As a college student, I see peers trying to bring different problems, news stories, and politics to people’s attention all the time. Usually their Facebook post about saving dolphins receives a few likes—and then it’s over and done with. Their hearts are with the cause, they are just not fully revealing them, so they don’t getting traction. That’s where Heart & Mind Branding’s concept of “Moments” comes in—those small instances of time that touch our hearts. Kony effectively created a “Moment.” My peers posting on Facebook never create “Moments,” they post. Moments go viral. Posts don’t.
Within hours, several Facebook friends had posted about Kony 2012, shared the video, or changed their Facebook profile picture to the ad in support of the cause.
The Kony craze didn’t stop at Facebook, it took over other social networking sites such as Twitter and Instagram. I thought that by the next day the hype would have dwindled, but I was wrong. The hype was still going strong—and continued for days.
What made this video so popular? Why did it have the power to attract so many people? It’s because the creators of Invisible Children made a video, a “Moment,” that captured the world’s heart. They also used their minds to develop a plan of action that was structured and effective. This video turned everyone into a social activist. Their heart and mind mindset, is what made their video so widespread. Normally, how many people would sit to watch a 30-minute video, the whole way through? I sure wouldn’t! Most YouTube videos over 5 minutes generally aren’t worth watching for the first 3 minutes, let alone the entire time.
Regardless of whether or not you think Invisible Children promoted this world-wide issue the wrong way, or if you think Jason Russell has a serious PR problem, the video accomplished the seemingly impossible goal of going viral. When you use your heart and your mind and create “Moments” you can win people over. Invisible Children did just that and won 80 million people over in just two weeks.
The San Diego non-profit organization is not a new company, it’s been fighting the issue in Uganda for nine years. Joseph Kony is not a new criminal either. He has been using children for his soldiers and “wives” since about 1986, with an estimated 66,000 children abducted. Obama deployed 100 soldiers to central Africa in fall 2011 to help remove Kony from the battlefield. Invisible Children is fighting to find Kony this year, before the troops are removed form Africa. They have raised awareness through their heart-and-mind based viral video like no news report ever could.
This post is by Melissa Fittro, an Arizona State University Student and intern at HEASLEY&PARTNERS. Through her projects including writing this blog, Melissa is learning about business, gaining an introduction to Heart & Mind Branding and working hands on with the tools of marketing and communications.
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