Welcome to our next method profile! Our previous entry focused on using ✦avid listening✦ in social enterprise. In operating any venture, everything flows from your approach, and identifying a proper method helps you effectively fulfill your team’s initiative.
Together, we’ll be profiling interesting social enterprises to discuss an anchor method in their strive for social good. The term “anchor method” is to express the intentional and grounded nature of the approaches propelling a social enterprise forward.
This post is an outside observation of a company for inspiration in social enterprise initiative improvements.
In today’s post, we’ll look into social entrepreneur hybrid documentary The New Breed – The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur leveraging audience awareness. The 80-minute long documentary follows the journey of three millennial-ran businesses navigating the social entrepreneurship landscape.
Knowing the Company
Pete Williams, Director of The New Breed, spent four years preparing this documentary. People may rent or buy the documentary. The New Breed documentary will be using 25% of net proceeds to provide film training and equipment to young filmmakers dealing with disadvantaged backgrounds.
Viewers are introduced to the idea of social entrepreneurship through the journey of Known Supply, Bonfolk, and Bureo. Known Supply is an apparel company providing jobs, education, and mentorship to women in Peru and Uganda. Bonfolk is a one-for-one company donating a pair of socks for each pair sold. Bureo transforms discarded plastic fishing nets into skateboards, eyewear, and other functional products.
The documentary gives viewers a look into the natural conversations, decisions, and pivoting of each business. All of which are captured “as is”, taking a different route than the traditional documentary style of someone providing narration, or participants sitting on a chair being interviewed.
In between the raw content, sketches are included to better equip the audience to have perspective on social entrepreneurship, and keep the viewers attentive. Presentations, spoken word, and comedy are used during these sketch interludes. The entertainment factor simplified concepts into more digestible content.
This project is made with a mainstream audience in mind, which is why reflecting on the project format could be beneficial.
Reading Your Audience Well
Each story of the three businesses is shown as larger moments condensed into a few minutes. We get to see the entrepreneurs pitching their business to community stakeholders, brainstorming ideas for photoshoots, and celebrating the empowerment of disadvantaged communities. None of the content feels super heavy or “in-depth”.
Absence of depth could make the purpose of the documentary be lost for individuals already familiar with social enterprise. People with experience in a field often want something thought-provoking, or refreshing. Consider that to a different audience, the documentary is thought-provoking and refreshing, but without the overwhelm.
Social impact initiatives can sometimes use heavy emotions to portray a message, or bombard the audience with mountains of information. As a result, people become numb and disengaged.
Almost like a comedian reading the room, you know certain jokes will be a ‘hit’ and others will be a ‘miss’ based on your audience.
Knowing who you are talking to allows you to determine a more effective strategy for communication.
Pete Williams mentioned his intention of speaking to a specific audience in an interview about the documentary:
“Why should a social entrepreneur watch this film?
To be honest, I didn’t make the film for social entrepreneurs, that would be preaching to the choir, you guys are already on board! My goal was to connect the general public with the movement. To help them understand it, get excited by it and hopefully start supporting it with their purchases and employment decisions.”
The New Breed’s format resembles a vlog-like documentary integrated with whimsical interludes. Viewers can enjoy learning about this new world of social enterprise without pressure.
Think of this project format as being similar to plain language. Plain language is one of the most effective tools to improve communication since it removes overly technical terms. People are more successful in understanding a message, and typically will understand quicker, when plain language is used.
You can tell the choice of simple authenticity is intentional the more you pay attention to the documentary. In a podcast interview, Pete restates his approach for creating the project:
“I feel like we do a lot of preaching to the choir, talking to people who are already in the movement, and I think it’s important, if we want to become mainstream that we, not ‘dumb down’ the message, we just make the message as clear and as simple as possible to reach mainstream audiences. Get them excited about being a part of it, and not excluding them with being too theoretical, or being too academic.”
Not overcomplicating the delivery of the raw content possibly appeals to a majority of people. Meaning, the reach of the message increases.
An anchor based on audience awareness can help a message be better received. One beneficial experiment is to question how well you know your audience, and consider what communication styles are a ‘hit’ or ‘miss’.
The New Breed’s clever audience awareness completes this profile.
People Helping People Podcast is seeking methods clearly supporting an effective impact. Observations and discussions on happenings in the social enterprise community is a significant part of our contribution to social good. Continue to check-in for more conversation-starting content.