GOOD Lab Report: How To Create Social Impact Through Media

March 23, 2017

Last week, GOOD partnered with Comcast NBCUniversal’s Social Innovation Team to host a GOOD Lab at 30 Rock. The panel proposed the question: What opportunities do media companies have to enhance their social impact? Our esteemed speakers, Dalila Wilson-Scott of Comcast NBCUniversal, Civic Hall’s Elizabeth Stewart, Vince Stehle of Media Impact Funders, and GOOD’s Grace Kim formed an expert panel representing media and impact experience across a range of sectors. Anchored by host, Grant Garrison, the ensuing discussion explored the complexities, consistent challenges, and recent shifts encountered by marketers looking to connect with a values-driven generation. 

Our discussion revealed important lessons and truths that our speakers have realized over the course of their varied careers:

  • Every brand wants to build a movement. Instead, we need to focus on building shifts in cultural understanding.

  • The construction of narratives and stories is key to social change, but they are often underappreciated.

  • If you try to speak to everyone, you will speak to no one. Know your audience, authentically.

  • When people read, there’s a spike in interest that immediately makes an impact. Marketers should be prepared to leverage that moment.

  • Erosion of institutional trust has led to a rise in civic technology and solutions at the local level.

  • There’s a lot of potential for collaboration between media companies and civic technology organizations. They can work together in ways that get people to take real action.

The discussion closed with insightful tips and questions marketers can ask themselves when creating partnerships that straddle the complicated media and impact space:

  • When developing new narratives, ask questions to make sure we aren't leaving groups behind.

  • If you’re asking people to take action, consider: Does your brand have an authentic relationship with them? Why should they take action because your brand asked them to?

  • Rather than trying to follow digital trends, determine the pain point you’re solving for and ensure your approach allows you to effectively impact that issue.

  • When thinking about future campaigns, ask, Have we done enough in past years to prevent today’s challenges? How did our absence of action contribute to our reality?

  • Always ask: Is your impact goal BIG enough?

With over 80 in attendance and an abundance of questions and conversation, we are excited to see GOOD’s Lab community continuing to grow. Want to join our Lab network? We keep our community intentionally small, but you’re welcome to nominate yourself or a colleague here.