I recently read something really inspiring on Twitter.
I know, I know…
But occasionally, Twitter is actually useful for more than just trashing each others’ political beliefs or OMG’ing at that outfit that guy wore to that thing…
Like last week, when I stumbled across something genuinely uplifting on the ol’ bluebird app of anger & outrage.
The partner of Liverpool and England Ladies’ goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain (football, never ‘soccer’) posted a series of tweets that told an inspiring story.
“Yesterday, a group of four boys aged between 10-13 stopped @Sio_Chamberlain outside the house. “Are you the goalkeeper? Could we please have a pair of your gloves?” Siobhan came back inside and suggested she’d also give them a football, so they could have a kick about.
Today, two entirely different young boys, perhaps aged 8-9, knocked on the door and asked if Siobhan would give them an autograph…
“This is amazing!” One said to the other, as they waited on the drive, dressed head-to-toe in Liverpool kit.
After getting their photos, one boy turned to Siobhan and said: “This is so cool, thank you. But why don’t you live in a mansion like other footballers?” Without skipping a beat, the other boy jumps in: “If she lived in a mansion, we wouldn’t have got these autographs!”
I sat in my office thinking, what an opportunity women’s football has, to help do something really important in this country. These are 6 young boys, aged between 8-13, who thought it was ‘cool’ they lived near a footballer, not a woman that played football, simply a footballer.
Even cooler that they were able to knock on the door and ask for an autograph. No gates, no security, just a knock on the door. Women playing football was once seen as an oddity. Something different and often mocked. Something women in many other professions still encounter.
But if young boys like this start seeing footballers, men and women, as equals, it has the power to do something important for the next generation. It’s not just about how they see footballers, it’s about how they see women, it’s about how they see the world.
These boys are learning from the very beginning that the world is one where boundaries and barriers of gender are coming down all the time. Women play football? And what?
I genuinely feel women’s football has the opportunity to do something way more impactful than getting more girls to play or more people watching, but if it can do that as well…
Then maybe one day, women’s footballers will be living in mansions too!”
(click the tweet image above to see the full thread)
What a great example of an inspiring origin story…
It feels like the beginning of something important, something with the power to change lives.
When I read it I got all fired up and excited about working with my clients on their messaging this week.
It’s a nice reminder of why we do what we do:
To inspire change, and make a difference somewhere.
Something we can all aspire to in our messaging, especially when we talk about why and how we got started in our biz.
Whether you’re running an ecommerce site or a charity, whether you’re a company of one or one hundred…
The moments of inspiration and ignition you share help solidify your audience’s idea of who you are and why they should care.
Stories like these resonate…
They get retweeted, shared, go viral, reach a wider audience and most importantly, inspire others.
The medium doesn’t really matter…
Media changes constantly, and quickly – but the message does.
Leigh’s Twitter thread wasn’t part of a specific manifesto or product launch. There’s nothing for sale, and no explicit call to action.
Yet it’s still ‘marketing’ something:
An idea. A change in behaviour. That’s the ‘sale’ here.
And if you look at what he wrote, there are a few key ingredients on display that make stories like this ‘sticky’:
There’s the sense of the everyday being disrupted, with something out of the ordinary happening…
(Kids in the street in football kits, a knock at the door – commonplace ‘snapshots’ we can all identify with.)
Nothing far-fetched, but there is a feeling of something important starting to happen…
…of a movement gathering pace.
These are just a handful of people interacting in a quiet street… there’s no armies of marching supporters demanding change, yet.
But every important movement starts small
There’s also the sense of unseen forces holding us back from the change we need…
An invisible antagonist, unnamed, but it’s clear there are prejudices and barriers standing in the way.
(Who are the antagonists in your story? Do your audience know about them? They should…)
But there’s also hope, and enough momentum to encourage the reader to believe in change.
The idea of a child responding positively to something, without prejudice or judgement is a powerful one.
Children often have important roles to play in origin stories.
There’s something inspiring and pure about the way they’re able to cut through all the adult BS we weigh ourselves down with later.
Making a difference to just one person can produce an origin story that’s as exciting and impactful as any ‘big bang’ moment.
So when you talk or write about your product or service and why it matters, cast your mind back…
Did something like this happen to you?
Do you see the world differently as a result of a simple gesture someone made?
Maybe you were inspired to start your biz because you noticed an imbalance of power somewhere, or a behaviour you wanted to change.
Perhaps you noticed how people behaved differently around each other when they used your product for the first time…
Maybe one day, there was a knock at your door…
Remember: every great movement, business and idea starts somewhere.
How and why you began doing the work YOU do is important.
There will always be someone interested in hearing it…
Because nobody else has the same origin story to tell as you.
If you need help telling your story to the right people, head over here.
Featured image credit: Photo by Christian Widell on Unsplash