Dancing with Logos

There is something about logos that I get excited about. I feel that in much the same way as we power-dress before going into the outside world – logos very much function the same way. They represent something about our organization, our project, or program, that we want to communicate with the world.

In my years of working with brands and products, having to work with either the creation of a new logo or working to re-create an old logo, excites me. To me, the process represents the acknowledgment of change as truly the only constant thing in the world. It symbolizes the need to constantly innovate, constantly be in tune with the times. Logos allow brands to tell their stories in one symbol, and over time, it creates a certain bond that allows a brand to easily connect with its customers, users and fans.

Here are 3 logos I feel strongly about and I feel incredibly lucky to have been leading the teams that created it.

PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE

In 2010, when I joined the newly formed Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), which was formed when the former President split the former Office of the Press Secretary into two (2) new offices (the other one became known as the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office or PCDSPO), our first task was to come up with the new office’s logo. It took us 3 gruelling months but I am happy with the result. I am also happy that the incoming Duterte administration has kept using this logo but merged the offices into just the Presidential Communications Office.

YELLOW BOAT OF HOPE FOUNDATION

In October 2010, while I was Director for New Media under the Presidential Communications Operations Office, the organizers of the 4th Mindanao Bloggers Summit invited me to speak in Zamboanga City. Little did I know then that, that visit will change my life. While I was there, someone shared to me that they found a mangrove village where children have to swim to school and one thing led to another and the rest as they say is history. The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation logo has become iconic in the nonprofit world and the logo encapsulates what we do in a nutshell. I simply love it!

PHARMAGEN WATER

In 2012-2013, I became part of the 2013 Acumen Global Fellows Program and I traveled all the way to Lahore, Pakistan to work with Pharmagen Water, a social enterprise dedicated in helping underprivileged families in Lahore get access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water. I led a re-branding project that simplified their logo.

Logos tell a story and I believe the world will never tire of logos.

What story does your logo represent?

Team of Rivals

(photo from Sec. Martin Andanar of the Presidential Communications Office)

I read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book the Team of Rivals a few years back. And it popped back into my head after I saw this photo. I have been an avid supporter of then Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte in the past because of what he has done and accomplished in Davao City. I knew him to be an action man but I didn’t really know anything about the inner workings of City Hall more than was written in the press.

The book Team of Rivals details Goodwin’s research and analysis of how former US President Abraham Lincoln was able to provide great leadership during his time and how we was able to recruit his main rivals for the presidency to join his cabinet. It is a rare thing in politics when a leader goes out of his way to accommodate his intellectual “foes” and works with them for the common good. While both Lincoln and Duterte have major weaknesses, there’s a lot that can be said for leaders who try to bring everyone to the table. Lincoln paved the way for slavery to end in North America.

What Goodwin said about Lincoln (in this HBR interview) holds true for Duterte for me as well:

Interviewer: More books have been written on Lincoln than on any other American president. What does Lincoln’s magic as a leader really come down to?

Goodwin: Well, it wasn’t anything so immediately felt as charisma. In fact, it took the country some time to warm to Lincoln; his popularity almost came from the inside out. His cabinet was the first to see something unusual about him.

Take William Seward, who originally was a rival. Some eight weeks after becoming secretary of state, Seward wrote to his wife that Lincoln was unlike anyone he’d ever known. Other members of the cabinet came to think so, too. One after another, they came to power thinking Lincoln was rather unexceptional and ended up believing that he was as near a perfect man as anyone they’d ever met.

What Lincoln had, it seems to me, was an extraordinary amount of emotional intelligence. He was able to acknowledge his errors and learn from his mistakes to a remarkable degree. He was careful to put past hurts behind him and never allowed wounds to fester. The rare example I could find of Lincoln’s being unable to forgive someone was his father. Lincoln never visited his father when he was dying, which suggests that he could not let go of the anger he felt toward the man who considered the future president’s fierce desire to learn a sign of laziness.”

Duterte’s legacy as presidency remains to be seen.

10 takeaways from Duterte’s digital campaign

I’ve followed the campaign from the start and can see similarities between the Obama campaign (2008) and PNoy’s campaign (2010), here are some key take-aways:

1. The most successful digital strategies for the campaign were things that helped create a movement around the mayor – it created an advocacy around Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte.

These activities included but were not limited to: Building a sizable base on Facebook including proliferation of Facebook pages and groups talking about the candidate. Building an email database. Sending of high-quality and engaging emails and other materials. Making the supporters an important part of the story. It allowed supporters to create compelling stories of the candidate in various forms like video, images and text. Facebook (along with email and mobile) were heavily used to ask supporters to join in on offline activities.

2. The Duterte campaign built a team from various volunteer groups who probably numbered in the thousands at the end of the campaign. Many of the most talented people in their individual professions became part of this team. For example, Nic Gabunada, former ABS-CBN top sales and marketing honcho, marshalled the digital warriors throughout the campaign period. Notable bloggers and social media specialists volunteered and worked side by side with their traditional media peers.

3. More so than any other campaign in our history, the Duterte campaign was a data-driven operation. A simple and concise digital strategy was developed to be at the heart of the campaign. Virality of content became one of the key goals. The team tried its best to measure every aspect of the digital campaign including messengers, messages, design, video, voice, segmentation and other tactics. Resources were directed to higher-performing activities. This is especially true for content that was going viral – the team helped by boosting it on Facebook.

4. The campaign’s recognition of the value of maximizing social media led to a critical decision of making the team an important part of the overall campaign – having the same priority as the field operations and finance and other units. The campaign was open to crowdsourcing content from the start noting that it came with risks of not being able to check all the materials.

5. The campaign used a simple measure of success: the value of higher engagement on Facebook over the lifetime of the campaign. The campaign boosted content that were resonating with the supporters and voters. Building the relationship with supporters over time produced better results – done by engaging with the different volunteer groups locally and from abroad.

DIGITAL. Thousands of online/digital content are created by volunteers and supporters of Rodrigo Duterte during the campaign. (Image from Rappler)

6. What made Duterte’s campaign materials special? The volunteers and supporters were given the creative leeway to design it based on their own interpretation of the campaign narrative and it then allowed the messaging to be strategically aligned with what voters cared for at the moment. This even spread offline where supporters created their own tshirt designs and used their own money to print them as well.

7. There was strong coordination between the digital and field teams. Facebook allowed faster communications between different supporters and groups supporting Mayor Duterte.

8. Thousands of online/digital content were created by volunteers and supporters themselves – this included hundreds of songs composed and created by various musicians for the candidate. The vision for the use of video was different from past campaigns. The team was not selling a candidate, they were simply covering the movement around the campaign. The team was able to engage people, draw in viewers and make them feel like they were part of something big. This was called by one online social media firm as citizen-led campaigning and that’s what happened.

9. The team curated content that was coming out from the volunteers and supporters and segregated it based on the target market: Facebook videos and image memes for Class D, E; high-quality and informative videos and platform-based content for Class A, B, C – overall, the team allowed supporters to co-manage the campaign.

10. It has to be mentioned that the way the candidate conducted himself allowed his supporters to create content about him and about his campaign. In the end, the candidate allowed the people to see him as the authentic candidate compared to his rivals who were perceived to be following a script.

Donate for #Haiyan Rebuilding Effort #ReliefPH

Here’s one way you can help in the rebuilding efforts in the communities that Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda) has devastated:

www.unitedway.org/philippines

Message posted via Facebook of Rapa Lopa, Exec. Director of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP):

To our friends in the United States of America and other countries who have expressed their desire to help out the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), you can now send funding support through the United Way Worldwide donation platform. The Philippine Business for Social Progress is the United Way affiliate in the Philippines.

To my friends in the US, please share this link to your respective networks there.

Sincerely appreciate all your concern, support and prayers!

UNITED, We will rebuild Lives!
=======================================

United Way Worldwide Disaster Rebuilding Fund Activated to Support Communities Affected by Typhoon in the Philippines

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you to everyone across our network who has reached out with offers of support for our team in the Philippines. United Way Worldwide has been in contact with Rapa Lopa and his team at Philippine Business for Social Progress (United Way in the Philippines). We are pleased to report that they are safe and working hard to identify and address both the immediate and long-term needs in the affected areas.

To that end, we have reactivated the United Way Worldwide Disaster Rebuilding Fund. The fund will be allocated to our partners in the Philippines, and contributions will be tax deductible for donors in the United States. We encourage you to promote this fund in your communities.

www.unitedway.org/philippines

We have also heard from several corporate partners interested in providing financial support. If you are approached by a company interested in making a contribution greater than USD 2,500.00, they may do so by contacting United Way’s International Donor Advised Giving team at 703-836-7112 x128 or via email at IDAG@unitedway.org.

If you have any additional questions, please email Paul Metcalfe, Director, Investor Relations, South East Asia and Pacific , or Alex Rodriguez, Manager of International Communications.

Thank you,

Joe Haggerty
Chief Operating Officer
United Way Worldwide

Let’s run to bring HOPE #RunforHopeCDO #RunforVisayas

Run for Hope CDO 13 in partnership with Xavier University NSTP is gathering 1,000 more runners to be with us on November 17, 2013 to run for our fellow Filipinos affected by Typhoon Yolanda. The run was initially organized to raise funds for our Yellow Boat communities in Cagayan de Oro City.

Register now at La Cabana Spa and Chris Sports Centrio Mall. Keep posted for more booth schedules and important run details. Follow us here: https://www.facebook.com/RunForHopeCDO13

 

Top Links for Typhoon #Haiyan #YolandaPH Rescue and Relief Efforts

Why the Philippines needs your help.

Check out this link showing the difference between Hurricane Katrina and Super Typhoon Haiyan – HOW TYPHOON HAIYAN COMPARES TO HURRICANE KATRINA

Summary of the extent of the damage – Worst disaster to hit PH

An example of what happened on the ground – Daughter’s last words: ‘Ma, just let go… Save yourself’

Interactive map showing the path of Haiyan – Mapping the Destruction of Typhoon Haiyan

Map showing before and after pictures of Tacloban – Before and After Typhoon Haiyan

Here are the main links I’ve found that summarize rescue and relief efforts following the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (local name: Yolanda), I’ll update it as I find more:

1) I really found this note by Undersecretary Manuel Quezon helpful – #RescuePH #ReliefPH and #YoladaPH: What’s going on, what you can do

2) The list that Rappler compiled is also quite comprehensive – #ReliefPH: Victims of Typhoon Yolanda need your help

3) For people outside the Philippines, this list by HuffingtonPost shows how you can help – Following Philippines Typhoon Haiyan, Here’s How You Can Help

4) List by CNN – How to help Typhoon Haiyan survivors

5) Crisis tools for Typhoon Yolanda – Google Asia Pacific Blog: Crisis tools for Typhoon Yolanda

6) List by NBCNews – How to help: Organizations offering relief to Typhoon Haiyan survivors

7) Business promotions to help victims – Businesses For #YolandaPH Relief

7) United Way Worldwide Disaster Rebuilding Fund Activated to Support Communities Affected by Typhoon in the Philippines

Useful reminders when packing in-kind donations:

Let’s all unite to help the affected communities. Thank you!

PS – List of countries who have donated – Number of nations sending aid for ‘Yolanda’ victims growing

World Water Day: The patience you need for safe drinking water in Pakistan

Re-posting my blog post on Acumen’s website and the reason why I’m currently in Pakistan.

WORLD WATER DAY: THE PATIENCE YOU NEED FOR SAFE DRINKING WATER IN PAKISTAN

MARCH 22, 2013 BY  IN FELLOWSON THE GROUND,SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

In the last 2 years since I helped start the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation and in the six months I’ve been a Global Fellow at Acumen, I learned a great deal about patience.

As a part of my fellowship with Acumen, I moved to Lahore, Pakistan to work with Pharmagen Healthcare Limited, the social enterprise behind Pharmagen Water, which aims to provide clean, safe and affordable drinking water to low-income communities through a system of water shops around densely populated areas.  This service is vital in Pakistan as millions of the urban and rural poor still rely on outdated water systems or poorly-maintained water facilities.

In Pakistan, 40-60% of diseases are caused by drinking unsafe water, and according to the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, 100% of tested water sources in Lahore contained unacceptable levels of arsenic contamination and half had unsafe levels of bacteriological contamination.  The health implications of this are grave and are a major reason why Pharmagen is working to improve public health by providing safe drinking water at the lowest possible price: around $0.45 for a 20-liter container, which is enough for a family of six for two days.

Paying to ensure your family has clean water may seem like necessity, but adoption among the poor can be difficult and slow. They have been using free water from public taps for years and are often unaware of the health risks associated with these unsafe water sources. Part of the difficulty in driving adoption is demonstrating that an investment in preventive healthcare actually saves money in the long-run by reducing medical costs.  This is especially true for children—clean water is an investment for proper nutrition and healthy human development.

My main job at Pharmagen Water is to convince potential customers of this truth.  Designing marketing campaigns is a challenge, not only because I still can’t speak Urdu proficiently, but more importantly, social enterprises face a different set of problems than traditional business.

One of Pharmagen’s street kiosk demonstrations in Lahore.

In a way, we’re competing against the mindsets of both our employees and target market as the social enterprise model is new to them.  Some employees have a hard time understanding why we sell a high-quality product at such a low price. Our target market is not accustomed to paying for water at all.

To say the least, building a successful social business is hard work.

Here are 3 things I’ve found to be critical:

  1. Focus on Social Impact – Patient capital is exactly that – an investor that is patiently waiting for the organization to get the business model right because the focus is on maximizing social impact. The challenges inherent in a social enterprise are almost completely different from a for-profit and a nonprofit so it’s important that the “capital” is willing to wait for a longer period of time before the organization is able to scale. The risk of failure is also an integral part of the learning process and in getting it right.
  2. Adaptive Leadership – Leadership without purpose is meaningless. Social enterprises are born out of a need to address a social problem.  Most of the time, the social enterprise’s management has to chart their own path – find a spot in the field and patiently grow what was planted. Pharmagen Healthcare Limited is probably the only organization of its kind in the whole of Pakistan – it takes tremendous amount of courage, persistence and patience to build something like this.
  3. Collaboration – We’re moving away from a world view that values competition as the only source of healthy growth – for social enterprises, nothing is more important than building linkages and relationships with the communities where they operate. That means building trust, not only with customers, but also with employees that are taking a bet on a new approach.

Social enterprises and social entrepreneurs are a different breed—they see a social problem in dire need of a solution and they go in not fully knowing the pitfalls but are ready to face what comes.

You need to have the strength, resilience, humility and the patience to see things through.

And sometimes to truly understand your customer, you must have three cups of chai tea with them – and, though it takes patience, it’s worth the wait.

Pharmagen Healthcare Limited supplies safe, clean and affordable drinking water to low-income residents of Lahore, Pakistan through an existing chain of open water shops. With Acumen Fund’s investment, Pharmagen is opening 32 new water shops. They currently supply more than 100,000 liters of safe water to customers each day, impacting the lives of over one million people in Pakistan.

Facebook and the Power of Social Media

Photo courtesy of Facebook Stories

Last December 6, 2012, Facebook released a video called “Beyond the Yellow Boat” through their Facebook Stories platform.  It has been an amazing ride for each one of us on board the Yellow Boat (of Hope Foundation) during the last 24 months.

The organization which basically started from my Facebook status at the end of October 2010 is now a foundation – registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the Philippines.

We are also now present in 8 communities around the Philippines and also assisting various other causes in the Philippines from time to time especially during natural disasters.  One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned so far is that solutions must always come from a local perspective.  And that is basically one of our driving philosophies – we look for and partner with talented individuals who already have existing organizations or projects in their own localities.  We get to learn from them and they get to learn from us.  More importantly, we also get to learn from the communities we are helping.

When we set out to build the very first school boat for the first community in Layag-Layag, Zamboanga City, we never realized that we were beginning a relationship with this community and build relationships in 7 more communities in Masbate in the Bicol region, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Norte, Cagayan de Oro and Negros Occidental.  We are now collectively touching almost 10,000 lives.

The Yellow Boat has taken me to the US, Singapore, India, France, Italy, Spain and now Pakistan.  Hoping to learn more on how to run nonprofits and social enterprises, I applied to be a Global Fellow of Acumen Fund.  And that’s why I’m currently in Lahore, Pakistan working with a social enterprise that distributes affordable high quality drinking water to the underprivileged.

I know the recently released Facebook video is also an ad for the social network behemoth but again our organization would not have been possible without it.

We are still using Facebook Groups creatively to connect with friends, donors, partners and supporters.  It is a platform for our communities to discuss and to engage in ideas.  It allows us to transcend borders.

It also allowed me to meet wonderful people along the way. One of them is my Co-Founder, Dr. Anton Mari Lim, who is the driving force behind our organization.

It allows us to tell our story better – in a way, that we can share our successes and failures.  The best kind of relationship is one where your donor or supporter can see your mistakes, your faults and you both work hard at it to make it better.

Collaboration is so much better than competition.  We believe that leadership needs to be shared – because at the end of the day, we are all leaders of our own destinies.  It is our individual and collective responsibility to help make the world better especially for children.

We believe that leadership is about sharing powerful stories that will empower and inspire even more leaders.

We believe that leadership has two key responsibilitiesone of inspiration and another of reproduction.  For leadership to be truly shared, a leader must empower others – empower them to do something about the things they are passionate about.

We believe that for leadership to last, a leader must nurture more leaders and not just followers.

Social media allows us to bridge this leadership gap.  My experience tells me that people want to do something good, they want to be part of something bigger, and they want to lead authentic and fulfilling lives.  And all these mentoring and coaching is possible now in the age of Social media.  Facebook for one has allowed us to connect with amazing donors, leaders and partners around the globe who empower us with the resources we need to make a difference.

We collaborate with individuals and organizations from Taiwan, the United States, Australia, France, Spain, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Botswana, and Kenya.  The world has truly become flat and interconnected.

We now have the world’s greatest minds at our fingertips.  And we also now have more access to each other.  The best inventions and discoveries were made by ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  And social media allows even more collaboration, even among people who haven’t met personally.

That is the true power of Facebook and Social Media and explains why a simple yellow (school) boat built in a far-flung community in the Philippines has sailed across the world and touched more lives than we can possibly count.

Thank you for reading and here are the links to the video:

[vimeo clip_id=”54999049″ width=”500″ height=”325″]

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4050772595396

http://www.facebookstories.com/stories/3784/beyond-the-yellow-boat

Please visit us at http://www.yellowboat.org.

How to Change the World in 2013

Last year, I shared how to change the world in this post.

I focused on three items for 2012.

Our #1 priority was to officially register what was then called the Philippine Funds for Little Kids with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).  And last May 23, 2012, my Co-Founder, Dr. Anton Mari Lim of Zamboanga City, was able to secure our papers in Zamboanga City.  We were officially registered as the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation.  We did this because there were already a number of other nonprofit organizations that started their name with the word “Philippine” so we chose the Yellow Boat since most people already referred to us in that name and also no other organization sounds like it.

Our #2 priority was to share our story to as many individuals and organizations as possible.

Collaboration is so much better than competition. We believe that leadership needs to be shared – because at the end of the day, we are all leaders of our own destinies. It is our individual and collective responsibility to help make the world better especially for children.

We believe that leadership is about sharing powerful stories that will empower and inspire even more leaders.

We believe that leadership has two key responsibilities: one of inspiration and another of reproduction. For leadership to be truly shared, a leader must empower others – empower them to do something about the things they are passionate about.

We believe that for leadership to last, a leader must cultivate more leaders and not just followers.

Over the last 12 months, I have been able to share our story to thousands of individuals and around 50 different seminars, workshops, events and conferences.  I have also shared our story in France, Spain, Italy, the United States, Singapore, India, and of course all around the Philippines.

Our #3 priority was to help empower more change makers in the Philippines and even beyond our borders.  We have partnered with 8 distinct individuals and organizations around the Philippines and started local chapters of the Yellow Boat in their localities.  We have also received support from friends, partners and donors from Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Canada, France, the Middle East and the United States.

The Yellow Boat has become my life mission.  

I know we are just getting started so early last year I also applied to the Global Fellows Program of Acumen Fund.  It is a one-year training program on social entrepreneurship and that is the reason why I am currently in Lahore, Pakistan working with Pharmagen Water – a social enterprise delivering affordable, clean and safe drinking water to the underprivileged here.

In the next 8 months, I will be working with the management team of Pharmagen Water to help them market the service they are providing better.  After which, I will be flying back to New York then hopefully back to the Philippines around November 2013.

I have learned a lot from my 2 months in New York last year and also learning a lot from Pakistan and Pharmagen Water.

So for 2013, this is how I hope to change the world:

1) Continue to share the story of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation (I will be sharing it in TEDxKinnaird next month)

2) Help build the Marketing team of Pharmagen Water

Since I will be in Pakistan for the next 8 months, I believe its best to limit my focus on these two projects.

I am fortunate that social media allows me to connect back with my Co-Founders in the Philippines.

That’s it for now, Happy New Year! And assalamu ‘alaikum 2013!

Let’s spread more HOPE!

The lens we use

There are 2 main ways to look at the world and at people.

The first one with suspicion and so you never get to build a bridge with them.

And the second one to see them as who they truly are, another you, trying to make sense of the world.

The first one leads you nowhere.

The second one (that builds bridges or boats) leads you to the ends of the world.

Take your pick.