SOTSK SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR BLOG: Azita Ardakani
A few months before SOTSK launched, I was visiting LA and met Kenna through a mutual friend. When the waiter came by, Kenna asked for water — tap water — and said he would reuse his glass…making it clear he places his passion about water into action wherever he goes.
I was working in Social Media at a software company and when I heard about the SOTSK campaign, it was everything my tech and cause-driven heart could ask for. A virtual and real life climb, scaled foot-by-foot, interactive with photos, videos, and updates right from Mt. Kilimanjaro – all in the name of the clean water crisis which kills a child every 15 seconds. I wanted in.
I began volunteering on the project from Vancouver, sending in ideas and strategy. Closer to the full launch, I decided I would regret it if I didn’t get wholly involved, even if it meant quitting my job and going to LA to work on it for a few weeks – I had no idea what I was getting myself into. When I arrived, I was thrown full force into SOTSK. We had Sponsors (HP, Windows, First Ascent, Revo, PUR), beneficiaries (UNHCR, Play Pumps, Water for People), celebrities (Jessica Biel, Lupe Fiasco, Emile Hirsh, Isabel Lucas, Santigold), activists, (Elizabeth Gore, Alexandra Cousteau, Kick Kennedy, Bernise Ang), educators (Dr. Greg Allgood, Simon Isaacs), artists (Jimmy Chin, Michael Muller) and we had the crisis of clean water. Connecting the dots between all of these people and platforms would become my challenge, telling the story and building momentum and awareness for a virtually unknown initiative would become my mission.
Summit on the Summit became the number one cause on Facebook. We hit 12 million impressions on one day with the “Wave” campaign that had various Twitter celebrity profiles “Go Blue” on their avatars and show their support for us prior to the climb. We built a 50,000 person community cross platform on Facebook & Twitter from nothing and we got our message out there.
I took away many lessons from Summit. First and foremost: this is about what we are made of - over 70% our bodies, to be exact, is made from water’s molecular structure of hydrogen and oxygen. Water is life - it dictates economy, equality & society. This wasn’t just a campaign, this was a wakeup call. If we do not save water at home, send water to those who need it, and keep educating ourselves – we have no one to blame but ourselves.
With the benefits of technology we can now create virtual communities of real people and rally together to make amazing things really happen. I got to be at the forefront of this for SOTSK and the fight is not over. I hope for every web-based initiative to go beyond the splash, the celebrity, and to keep the human reminder of the intrinsic necessity of what motivates causes. In a time where there is a plethora of initiatives to get behind, it is easy to see it as a check box to join a group and call it a day. Ensuring that there is an organic reminder and voice that resonates on an ongoing basis is a social responsibility. I learned that being clear, true and focused to what your ultimate goal is the best marketing strategy out there.
This fight isn’t over. We have a very healthy community of supporters (like you reading this) and we will keep you engaged, involved and a part of our mission to solve the clean water crisis!