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Instruments for Peace: How social media can amplify the music of peace

April 15, 2013 Comments

Each year we discover new ways in which social media can help give voice to those without support and help create a more just and equitable world. One such opportunity has arisen in the Congo where self-taught musicians playing hand-made instruments  have given peace a voice  and inspired the creation of a new non-profit called Instruments of Peace.

Instruments of Peace was founded on Maestro Armand Diangienda’s dream of utilizing music to teach “peace and reconciliation” and is dedicated to bringing the gift of music to the most volatile regions of the world, especially to those who have limited or no access to practice and study music.

It’s aim is to execute Armand’s vision by building music schools, hosting benefit concerts in the U.S., and distributing in-kind donations such as sheet music and instruments to those in need of hope. Specifically, with sufficient help, they will deliver on 3 fronts:

1. Concerts – Benefit concerts will not only raise funds for orchestras and choirs, they will also give people the ability to connect cross-culturally through music. The concerts will give orchestras the opportunity to come to the U.S. and share their talents while raising awareness about the adversity they face in their respective country.  Most importantly, the benefit concerts provide a space where people can come together and enjoy the universal language of music, which adheres to Instruments of Peace’s greater mission of promoting peace.

2. Music Schools – A large part of their efforts are ensuring that people have a place to practice music. To many people who live in impoverished conditions, it is not just a “school”.  It is a place of refuge, a sanctuary where one can pick up an instrument and let the music carry them away to somewhere else for awhile. For others, learning to play an instrument, joining a choir, being on staff as a bookkeeper, or doing instrumental repair provides options for a different direction in life – and options are empowering.

3. Instruments – Without the sounds of music flowing through hallways and reverberating off walls, a music school is just another building. The goal is to make sure that every student has an instrument and sheet music, whether it is donated or handcrafted locally. Training locals as “instrument-smiths” will ensure that every broken instrument can be refurbished and played again.

Instruments of Peace is exactly that – an opportunity for each of us to support and amplify their work to accelerate this process in the Congo and sub-Saharan Africa.

They have just launched an Indiegogo project here with great perks for contribution.

To see a recent 60 minutes piece on this project, click here. Please support if you can with a contribution and by sharing this link so we can help transform the lives of those in need.

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Free We First webinar: How your business becomes a contagious social brand

April 12, 2013 Comments

This year We First promised to deliver more valuable free training to help you build your brand reputation, community and positive social impact. So we’re very excited to announce the first free webinar in this new series to be held on Wednesday, April 17th at 11.00 – 12.30 pm PST.

The focus is a series of challenges that every company faces today. How do you reinvent yourself to tap into the power of new social technologies? How do you tell your brand story in a way that inspires customers to promote your brand? And how do you maintain your leadership over time in the face of today’s competitive and fast changing marketplace. So please join us and I’ll share the insights I’ve learned working on brands as diverse as Nike, Coca-Cola and Toyota.

What you will learn in the webinar includes:

- How to tell your brand story in a way that enhances your company’s reputation, employee productivity and customer engagement.

- How to avoid the number one storytelling mistake that brands consistently make

- How and why to differentiate your story from others in an increasingly crowded category and marketplace.

And you will walk away from the webinar with:

- The 8 steps you must take to become a brand that customers want to promote.

- How to sustain your customer community over the long term and avoid community attrition.

- How to maintain a leadership position and competitive advantage even as technology changes.

You’ll get an inside look to how leading companies tell their brand stories using social and mobile technologies in ways that scale their business and social impact.

So reserve your spot now and make sure you have any questions ready because we’ll be doing Q&A for a half hour at the end.

Plus if you have a clash at that time, be sure to still register as you’ll then get an on-demand copy to watch at your convenience.

We’re doing this series to make sure you get benefit of the best practices and insights of the industry and we’re committed to your success.

So register now and we look forward to connecting next week.

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Inspiring productivity: How to build trust with employees that drives business success

April 9, 2013 Comments

Last year I shared a sample social contract between a brand and its customers as a demonstration of how a company builds a community around shared values and a common purpose, the goal being to not only build a better world but to inspire customers to help build your business with you.

In addition, I shared the Manifesto, Values and Beliefs of We First in the hope that they would help you frame a company and community culture that would drive your bottom line and social impact.

The companion piece to these documents is the agreement you make with your employees who are obviously responsible for how well your company does. So having finalized the workplace rules of working at We First, I wanted to share them with you in case they are useful to your business. The goal here is to create a culture in which people want to give your their best, both because they are happy and because they believe in the values of the company. So here are the workplace rules at We First.

1. Write down what you want for yourself at work over the next 6 and 12 months, share with the team, and hold yourself and us accountable.

2. Tell the team your frustrations with clients, co-workers or life at weekly meetings. We can’t help if we don’t know.

3. Never compromise your exercise regime or diet due to work. If there’s too much to do, we’ll get more help.

4. If you need a change of scene, work outside or in a coffee shop. Just take your phone.

5. Ride your bike at lunchtimes. The wind wipes away stress.

6. If there’s no client coming in, wear what you want. Sliding in socks is recommended.

7. If you’re tired, tap a nap in your office or the hammock. We need you happy and sharp.

8. Decorate your office to make it your own. It should reflect you, not your work.

9. If there’s a cause you really care about tell us so we can support it.

10. Never worry about credit or ownership of work. It will always be We First on everything.

By empowering your employees to succeed you create success for your company, and while this may seem miles away from the corporate hierarchical structure and dynamics of the past, when we start to treat our employees like human beings they deliver their best for you and your business.

Do you believe such employee treatment too indulgent or a path to productivity?

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How the smartest brands use social media to sky-rocket their reputation, profits and social impact

April 4, 2013 0 Comments

I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the iStrategy Conference in Melbourne. tThe day was special for three very important reasons. First, it was great to be included in the conference. Second, it was the first time I ever …

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Be Remedy: Your chance to change the lives of so many through so little

April 2, 2013 0 Comments

Be Remedy is an inspiring demonstration of the ability of social media to empower people to be the change they want to create in the world. The concept launched by Blake Canterbury in Atlanta two years ago is as simple …

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The three pillars of marketing organizations of the future

March 28, 2013 5 Comments

Guest post by Prof. Steven Van Belleghem of InSites Consulting. The marketing organization of the future will be very different from the current structure and culture. The classic model, in which a marketer entrusts a single advertising agency with all communications, is …

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When a brand leads with values, customers value you more

March 22, 2013 4 Comments

Howard Schultz has long been know for his strident leadership positions from calling for a CEO boycott of corporate campaign donations to his ‘Create Jobs for USA’ which invited customers to contribute $5 to help entrepreneurs kick start the national economy. This …

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How building your brand with your community grows both

March 19, 2013 0 Comments

One of the constant themes of my blog posts over the last year has been the need to cop-create content for your brand with your community. One great example is You Tube sensation, ‘Epic Rap Battles’. Here’s just one example …

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About Simon Mainwaring

We First training and consulting helps the world’s most innovative brands tell the story of the good work they do in ways that build their reputation, employee productivity, sales and social impact.

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