Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BE the billboard

NAMIWalks Program Team

So often throughout the NAMIWalks process, we are asked about the scarcity of mass media marketing. Why aren’t there NAMIWalks commercials? Where are the TV interviews? Where are the radio spots? Where are the billboards?

While over the past few years we’ve had increasing exposure through aired and broadcasted PSA’s and promotional videos, local news and media coverage, and even celebrity endorsement; our message has remained consistent. It is our grassroots awareness campaign that makes NAMIWalks an effective means of educating the community, creating needed conversations and awareness, and taking steps to eradicate stigma.
It is our belief that WE are the commercials, broadcasts, and billboards! Every time we (in a one on one way) reach into our networks of family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and others to ask them to walk with us at the upcoming NAMIWalks event, and/or to become a donor, we create the opportunity to tell our personal stories, and to educate each individual (one at a time) about NAMI services, and community mental health as a whole.
Kyle Potvin of Splash Communications, LLC states, Grassroots marketing is about permeating a community and building relationships locally on many levels so the buzz grows. A voluntary sales force carrying a message forward has more velocity than a single marketing department.”
We ARE the billboards. When we leverage the power of our shared experiences with mental illness and talk openly about the resources available, opportunities for recovery, and the need for increased advocacy and support for individuals living with persistent mental illness we make an incomparable impact.
Know that your endorsement is as powerful as that of Glenn Close, Joe Pantoliano, Ty Pennington, Senator Michael Dukakis, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and the many other noteworthy individuals who have lent their celebrity to our cause. Never underestimate the importance of your own voice.

Passionate NAMIWalkers in Virginia

The power of grassroots marketing is striking. To have our NAMIWalks participants care so much about what we are doing they become vocal supporters and cheerleaders for our cause will always be what propels our movement.
Where are the commercials, radio spots, broadcasts, interviews, and billboards? They are on the upswing. As stigma is addressed, more and more opportunities for awareness building through media become available to us. While we wait, NAMIWalks depends on your willingness to continue to be the billboard.

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