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How Your Content Marketing Can Ignite a Movement

caines-arcade-content-creativityA charming film

If you haven’t seen Nirvan Mullick’s short (10-minute) film called “Caine’s Arcade,” watch it now. You’ll be glad you did — and the rest of this inaugural ContentVenn post is going to make a lot more sense. (If you have seen it, read on!)

The power of great content marketing

Caine’s Arcade is unbelievably powerful content. It is emotional, heart-warming, and inspired. Caine’s Arcade is so powerful, in fact, that it has spawned a movement. When Nirvan posted the video on April 9, 2012, viewers immediately began donating money towards a scholarship fund for Caine Monroy. Ten days after the release of the film, Caine’s scholarship fund hit the $170,000 mark. That’s powerful content. And it all could have ended there. But it hasn’t.

Creating a movement, creating content opportunities

Six months after Caine’s Arcade became a “viral success” it has become a real movement. It’s more than just a Vimeo success story. Today, that 10-minute film has spawned a full-fledged nonprofit with a real mission, real corporate underwriters, and tons more content. Go ahead, check out the Imagination Foundation, whose mission is to “find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids.”

On the Imagination Foundation’s website, you can find a list of its corporate partners, which include Crayola, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Adobe, Echoing Green, Nokia, and art supply store Blick.

Now here’s the problem: None of those brands — literally, not one of them — seems to be creating valuable content in direct support of Caine’s Arcade, Imagination Foundation, or even Caine’s recent Cardboard Challenge. (Please, if you have created some valuable content — not a Tweet or meaningless Facebook post — let me know.)

Capitalizing on a movement without destroying its authenticity

I’m not inviting these brands to create meaningless, self-serving content marketing efforts that depict kids using Crayola markers to make their own arcades. I’m actually wondering why not one of these brands has decided to create a weekly YouTube show showcasing the ingenuity of one classroom and their kids each and every week? Why hasn’t Saran Wrap donated money to Nirvan (who’s obviously a talented filmmaker) to profile one new arcade game from around the world? Why hasn’t Staples (which sells cheap calculators) or Uline (which sells billions of boxes) or Waste Management (which recycles stuff) embraced the opportunity to create powerful content that started with viral video success?

What if…

These brands, and many more, are passing up an opportunity to make a real difference. What if all these brands partnered together (that’s a “Brandscape”) to create an educational movement in elementary schools around the world? Instead of seeing their sponsorship as an exploitative campaign, these brands could create real content marketing that continues to build on the success of the original Caine’s Arcade.

What if you look at all the nonprofits you and your company contribute to and commit to creating valuable content for those nonprofits once a month? What passions can you embrace? What movements can your brand ignite?

Ask yourself…

What content can your brand embrace to create a movement or tap a trend?

For more insight and examples of brand storytelling that can increase customer interest, read Andrew Davis’ book,Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships.”