We’re currently in the second week of Fairtrade Fortnight, so we thought we’d take a special look at a few altruistic organisations and the way they approach content. First up, perhaps predictably, it’s the Fairtrade Foundation.
Shouldn’t every fortnight be Fairtrade Fortnight?
It absolutely should, this particular two-week period is special because it’s a time when the Fairtrade Foundation amps up its efforts to bring issues around ethical production of food and drink to the forefront of the public’s mind.
So far, so good. Anything particular on their mind?
Yes. This year the organisation is focusing on the plight of banana farmers in countries like Colombia, who are increasingly feeling the pinch thanks to UK supermarkets roughly halving their prices over the past few years, while production costs have more than doubled. It’s an economic recipe for disaster, and that’s what the Foundation is trying to prevent.
And how are they doing this?
With a mixture of good old fashioned PR and cutting-edge content of course! There is an online petition that can be signed at a specially created microsite, and which now stands at more than 14,000 signatures after just 12 days.
Wow, more than 1,000 a day isn’t bad! How’d they get so many?
The organisation has pushed for sign-ups with high-profile PR stunts (like presenting top politician Vince Cable with a policy report dressed as bananas), but most impressive is the way Fairtrade Foundation uses storytelling to drive that support. Real-life Colombian banana farmer ‘Foncho’ and his experiences are the central strand of all the content created, with videos and blog posts detailing his own struggle, and subsequent success, in getting a fair deal for his produce, thanks in part to the Foundation. It’s inspiring stuff.
You can’t say fairer than that!
Water Aid – Wahoo!
Wahoo! Is this to do with the London Ticket barrier that sounds like it’s singing Blur’s ‘Song 2’?
What on earth are you talking about?
No, this is nothing to do with a singing ticket barrier. This is to do with the expression of joy people emit when they do a wonderful thing, like supporting clean water charity Water Aid.
And what is Water Aid doing to make people feel good about giving?
It comes back to storytelling again, and the key role it plays in the organisation’s latest campaign. Specifically, donors can ‘gift a Wahoo’ to their friends and family by donating and then choosing an inspiring story to pass on, in the hope that they too will donate. The story is what catches people’s attention, in a way that simple stats and data can’t.
It’s like Chinese whispers with a social conscience.
Yes, except at the end you get you get a warm fuzzy feeling in your tummy instead of a garbled message made up by your mum and passed through the minds and mouths of seven different family members.
We also really enjoy design of the Wahoo microsite, it looks friendly and feels easy-to-navigate – the stories themselves unfurl on a smooth single-scrolling page and ape the perennially popular infographic style, displaying information in clear and digestible chunks, interspersed with videos and graphical illustration.
I agree, it looks simply wahoonderful!
Bananas, water and now chocolate too – this is turning into quite a balanced meal!
If your definition of balanced is two different types of sugar and a drink, then sure.
Heck, I’m usually just happy if a meal contains more than one colour.
Moving swiftly on from your dietary inadequacies, also marking Fairtrade Fortnight is Ghanaian company Divine Chocolate, ‘the only Fairtrade chocolate company owned by cocoa farmers’.
And are these cocoa farmers using cutting-edge content?
Yes and no. One of the main content sections on the DC site is distinctly old school, employing one of the earliest forms of content marketing – the good old-fashioned recipe!
What’s so old-fashioned about recipes? Jamie Oliver and Waitrose do it all the time…
Foodie brands have been using recipes to claim a space in consumers’ kitchens (and minds) for more than a century – Jell-O was doing it in 1904!
So it’s a bit old hat?
Not at all, the recipes are fresh and vibrant, often giving a new twist on old classics. The photography used is mouth-wateringly good and it’s all easily pinnable too. And when it comes to food-related content, getting people pinning is winning!