There are countless political, communications, and advocacy consultants out there. Folks who help individuals, companies, or organizations advance in the game of influence and persuasion in order to pass a bill, elect a candidate, or sway public opinion about a critical issue. And these companies are doing a great job.
You already know this. I knew it when I decided to launch this organization—oh, and by the way—this blog is about my new advocacy and communications company, Tipping Point! But, I get it. We basically just said that the marketplace isn’t wanting for another consultancy. So, maybe I’ll just come out and say it for both of us: Um, Dane? Why are you doing this?
Well, for more than 25 years I’ve worked all over the world—on six continents, in more than 45 countries, and all across the US—helping people create change by communicating with their fellow consumers, their neighbors, their elected officials, and their government. In every place I’ve worked, I’ve learned invaluable lessons and without regret (well, OK there was that one time in ...). Those who know me and the places I’ve been might wonder how I could come away from all of it, not wanting to alter a thing. After all, helping produce change can be tough, sometimes thankless work.
But here’s the thing: no matter where I’ve gone, nothing has been more inspirational and affirming to me than connecting with people who are passionate about changing their world. And, over the years, I began to notice a trend. Of the wildly diverse efforts I was involved with, the ones that were truly transformational—the ones that moved people—shared this rare, almost radical trait. They used very personal, very individual-driven messaging. Personal stories were at the core of everything we did.
Of course, all advocacy and political work is about storytelling. Humans crave and need stories to make sense of the world and their place in it. What I saw was that the greatest of my adventures were the ones that put stories first and personalized those stories by putting the audience square in the center of the narrative.
To get there with an audience, you first have to make them care. Help individuals not only sympathize but empathize with whatever issue is at stake. Tipping Point helps voters, organizations, world leaders, and business titans truly connect with the people whose own welfare may be jeopardized by a particular piece of legislation, regulation or world event. We're doing it that way because that’s how I began, and it’s never let me down. When you work like this, the lines between political consultancy and communications firm blur, and that’s a good thing. Again, what’s an advocacy effort without a story? Without stellar communications?
The storytelling strategy we're talking about is as old as the hills. It's also surprisingly simple. Yet, there aren’t many people who use it today—not many firms who might take on fewer clients so they can spend the time necessary to create the honest, foundational shifts critical to producing real change. This strategy demands that we slow down and get back to our instincts. Talk to individuals as individuals, not “profiles” or caricatures of themselves. It asks that we understand—really understand—the audience we’re trying to reach. To know in our bellies what’s important to them. And ultimately help them personally relate to the issue at hand.
I named the organization Tipping Point because I recognize that people care about what they know. And they fight for what they care about. That personal knowing is the tipping point. That moment when intellectual knowledge translates to emotional awareness—the only force powerful enough to move someone to act and to turn what could be ... into what is.
There’s this quote by Evernote CEO Phil Libin that I haven’t been able to get out of my head, ever since the idea of starting this company first struck. “… [t]here’s lots of bad reasons to start a company," he says. "But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it’s to change the world.”
Changing the world is the foundation for this firm. Making it personal is the way we create change. That's why I'm doing this.
We’re experts with every communications and advocacy tool you need to succeed—from starting your movement, to message development and delivery, to building a grassroots army. We know online communications, fundraising, and paid media. Soup to nuts, cradle to grave is our game. And we can’t wait to put these tools to use for you.
I hope you’ll take a moment to learn more about our philosophy and ways we can work together by visiting our website. Catch us in real time on Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget to subscribe to this blog, where I plan to share my personal tipping point stories, some from our clients, and—hopefully—yours too!
Radically personal. Deeply committed. Architects of change. This is Tipping Point. Let’s change the world together.
All the best,