Writing for Change

February 10th, 2012 • by Karen A. Chase • 2 Comments

What do Gap, Netflix, Verizon, Congress and Komen all have in common? The written word changed the way they do business.

In 2010, Gap launched a new logo design. It was slammed in social media circles for being worse than the original, and Gap dropped it. Last year Netflix and Verizon wanted to change they way they charge customers. Customers revolted and the charges were dropped. Last month, Congress was trying to pass the SOPA legislation, and after what amounted to a 24-hour internet sit-in and letter-writing extravaganza, the bill was withdrawn.

Last week Susan G. Komen for the cure made a decision based on politics instead of women’s health, pulling funding from Planned Parenthood, and enraging women everywhere. So big, so loud, so immediate was the noise and the hit (negative PR to Komen, positively to Planned Parenthood who raised over $650,000 in 48 hours), even Komen executive Karen Handel heard it in the end.

What I loved most about watching all these scenarios wasn’t seeing big organizations and muckety mucks cower under the power of the little people (okay,  I did enjoy that a smidge). What I loved most was it showed how much influence the written word still has, and the potential for positive change it could have. All the above instances show how we made a difference reactively. Now, pick any topic, cause or need, and imagine what we could do if we collectively used our words proactively instead.

What will you write for change?

This post is dedicated to a dear friend, Sharon Rapoport–a Komen volunteer, a Planned Parenthood supporter, copywriter, and a breast cancer survivor. Last week's issue made her sad, angry, conflicted, and overwhelmed with messages from friends and family. It also gave me one more reason to say, Sharon, you inspire me. You handled last week flawlessly, communicating with everyone as only a copywriter can. You wrote honestly. (Photo from July 2010 issue of Valley Business FRONT.)

2 Responses
  1. Sharon Rapoport says:

    awww shucks! You inspire me back! I agree with your examples, Karen. Change happens, welcome or not, but learning how to accept and react positively is our best option. I’ve seen you do that time and time again. Never change! Uh…wait…

    • Casey Giarratano says:

      Shortly after I saw the news of the Komen fiasco – and had the same reaction almost everyone did – I saw Sharon’s posts on Facebook around the issue. Can’t remember exactly what she said, but it was something to the effect of “I’ve got this one”. I relaxed immediately. In some unconscious place I knew my dear lifelong friend would find the absolute perfect approach and the most eloquent words to speak for all of us.
      I would credit her battle with cancer and the amazing journey her adulthood has been, but I knew Sharon before she had cancer, and she was incredibly blessed long before any of that.

Leave a Reply