Collaborative Social Storytelling: How the UN Foundation Builds Global Movements

Under the leadership of Aaron Sherinian, VP of Communications & Public Relations at the UN Foundation and We First ’13 speaker, the UN Foundation has become known for its deep understanding of social storytelling and cross-industry collaboration. Here are four lessons from Aaron on how to inspire people around the globe to actively support your brand’s or nonprofit’s mission:

Build partnerships to scale impact   For example, one of the UN Foundation’s major partnerships is with Walgreens, one of the most prominent pharmacies in the country. Walgreens is well known for making it easy to get flu shots at their stores and the UN Foundation has partnered with them to create the “Get a Shot, Give a Shot” campaign, which donates a flu shot to a child around the world who would not get access to the vaccine.

Co-create stories with your audience  Aaron has found that the best ways to craft storytelling towards a specific goal or objective is to allow current advocates to tell their own stories. Instead of bouncing ideas around in a closed internal meeting, you need to get out and talk to the people actively participating in the cause. That’s how you’ll get honest, powerful, and shareable stories that will inspire others to get involved.

Engage different communities on different platforms  Which medium is the best way to share brand stories? Is it pictures on Instagram? Or videos on YouTube, or articles on Facebook? To all this, Aaron simply says, “Yes.” Yes, to all these networks because in today’s interconnected online world, bringing a story to life across multiple platforms using many devices, is a necessity for storytelling of any size. The framing of your story will dictate how content is shared and how the message is brought to life on a specific platform.

Admit your mistakes  The reluctance to admit when one is wrong, whether a small business or a Fortune 500 company, is difficult on any level. But when a brand makes a mistake today it is instantly available for all to see. That’s why it’s so important to admit when you’re wrong, in a transparent and public manner. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a key to success in this current climate driven by tech-savvy citizen activists.

As We First founder Simon Mainwaring often says, “Technology is teaching us to be human again” and the UN Foundation consistently shows us how collaborative digital storytelling and partnerships can power global impact.

Join us Oct 7-8 at the 2014 We First Brand Leadership Summit for two days of hands-on training on how to define, frame and share a brand story through social marketing that empowers your company to lead business, drive sales, and shape culture. Early-bird pricing ends May 31, 2014.