Five years ago, some folks on the school board in Rye asked if I had any ideas for how to get a controversial school budget passed.
I told them what I’d learned working on the board of Rare, a conservation organization that works all around the world.
Rare’s Pride Campaigns start with a local leader and engage local pride to protect and defend the local environment, which turns out to be a revolution for the global environment.
Back in Rye, Luis Torres and I made some, “Love Rye” videos and yard signs and the rest was history. The school budget passed by a landslide.
This video is a good example: https://vimeo.com/127372432
Now, the signs are back!
Some smart locals have brought the signs back, are selling them to locals, and have raised well over $100,000 to help people affected by the pandemic. You drive through Rye and see hundreds of them, all along the treelined streets.
If you want to inspire a community to action, nothing works harder than pride.
The Black Pride movement is still going strong around the world after fifty years or more. The Black is Beautiful Movement instilled pride and changed identities in the 20th century and beyond. In fact, the phrase, “Black is Beautiful” goes all the way back to a speech by John S. Rock, an African American abolitionist, all the way back in 1858. Once the seed of pride is planted, it grows for a long, long time!
“Keep America Beautiful” used pride to take a nation of Anchorman-like litterers and show that it could clean up nicely. And while this iconic commercial unfortunately features an Italian-American man playing a Native American, it had a huge effect by instilling pride and shame. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7OHG7tHrNM
“Don’t Mess with Texas” famously used local pride to do the same for Texas. https://adage.com/article/special-report-small-agency-conference-and-awards/gsd-m-founder-tim-mcclure-mess-texas/294314
As a master change agent, pride is one of the most powerful tools in your kitchen. In fact, if identity is the most powerful concept in brand-building, marketing and change, then pride is the most powerful emotion.
Change agent, be proud of your tribe. Though all times and all kinds of crises, we have found ways to change things. Let’s keep using our change agent powers for good!