Marketers and PR pros can learn a great deal from a pair of precocious kids.
What started with an adorable request from 5-year-old Toby Little of Sheffield, England, has turned into a phenomenon.
Toby posted the following to his Writing to the World
Hi, my name is Toby, and I am five years old. I want to find out lots about the world, so I would like to write a letter to a person from every country in the world, and get a letter or postcard back. It's really tricky to find people in every country, but lots of people are helping me - thank you! We look up all countries, and I think of questions I would like to ask. I'm really interested in fossils, archaeology, explorers, history, stars and planets, science, wild creatures, and how people help other people and protect the environment in lots of places all over the world! I also want to know how people live, and what food they eat, and what school is like!
He’s written close to 200 letters and has received 70 in return. Toby quickly learned that some countries had much more difficult situations than England faced, so he turned his attention to raising money.
Already, he’s raised nearly the equivalent of $2,400 on the site JustGiving.com
—far more than his initial goal. He also sparked the attention of national news sites
Another heart-warming story from a pint-size entrepreneur is equally inspiring. Dylan Siegel, 7, has raised more than $400,000 by writing a book titled, “Chocolate Bar
,” a phrase that Siegel explained to ABC News
means “awesome.” The inspirational bit is that he’s raised the money for research of the rare liver disease his friend suffers from:
[RELATED: Join Ragan and Mayo as they pair up for their fifth consecutive health care social media summit.]
These boys have achieved something that so many of us as marketers and PR people would like to achieve—massive good will and virality.
Here are a few takeaways:
Many great ideas start small.
Have you ever been in a brainstorming meeting and felt pressure to come up with a “big idea?” It’s impossible. It’s the converse of telling someone not
to blink. Of course
they’re going to blink. Tell someone to think of a big idea on the spot, and you’ll get a blank stare in return. These kids prove that if you start small and start simple, there will be room to grow and expand.
Start with a desire to do something good.
So many times, we approach projects with the desire to sell more, raise brand awareness, drive page views, or garner engagement—all self-serving. Let’s start from a desire to do good and see where that takes us.
Live your brand’s lifestyle.
If you look at Writing to the World or “Chocolate Bar” as brands, what makes them great? They have a clear purpose, a solid philosophy, and a unique approach. Plus, their CEOs live that brand lifestyle, quite literally. Seeing people live a brand lifestyle unapologetically can be a very inspiring thing—especially when that brand’s philosophy permeates the brand itself.