This is a story about using "Story". The challenge was this. A small team of Alumni and from WDAV a Public Radio station in Charlotte NC had organized a tour for the Choir of the Cathedral from my old college at Oxford, Christ Church. We of course wanted full houses. We did not have the money to do PR in the old way. How then could we use the web instead?
How could we make the choir into a "Social Object"?
The web is more than the tools and technology. We love stories about people. We love to have our say. We love to go behind the scenes. The community knows more than any expert. An engaged community can do far more than the hardest working individual. The web can unlock these forces.
Using this context, we set out to use the web to tell a story and so engage a community. For we knew that more than 60 million people sing or have sung in a choir in America. Could we tap into this? Could they do the work?
At the outset we set the context. Before the tour began, we produced a deep background series on the Choir itself. Here is one of the videos about the choir. What was our history, who were the people and what was their life like. Here is an amazing interview with 2 choristers. Here is a piece on the Choristers.
We have to care also about the places. Every host had their own space too where we made it easy for their local community to know what would happen and how to get tickets. Here at Grace Church on the Hill in Toronto is how we supported every venue.
By the time the choir boarded the plane, the world of the tour had been vividly drawn and a community of support had been brought to life.
We then set up a process and the rules for how all those who were directly involved in the tour could tell their own story. Singers, radio stations, hosts, parents, friends and family took up their cameras and pens and covered every moment of the tour. We used facebook and people also sent Tom and I material that we put onto the site daily. Here we are in New York. The story unfolded like a Dickens book in daily chapters that were as novel to the author as to the reader. So all was fresh and exciting.
We got what we wanted - full houses and standing ovations all the way.
And as a result, we saw something new and unexpected. Firstly, we could see that the Cathedral is no longer bounded by its walls. We can implant the cathedral in the hearts of people. Secondly, we could see that we at the centre do not have to do all the work. We are no longer constrained by our own limited resources. With the right invitation, the community will do the work.
We know now that the future of the choir is now tied into the web in this way. Is it not for you too?