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A Lesson In "Something from Nothing"

Meals_from_heartland_stuff Last week over 12,000 volunteers turned out 4,000,000 meals as "Meals From The Heartland" took over Hy-Vee Hall to package food for hungry folks in at least seven nations.  Here is the story from the Des Moines Register.

I had never heard of "Meals From The Heartland" until last week when we were contacted and asked to help.  "Be at Hy-Vee Hall about noon with seven others and we'll put you to work."  That was it.

It was an amazing story about how something so big can come from...nowhere.

Meals_from_heartland_finished_prod We tend to call this kind of thing "grassroots".  There wasn't a lot of fanfare, no fancy ads in magazines or newspapers and no big "media partner".  I asked one of the organizers about all the material, food, products, tables, tape, and even Hy-Vee Hall (Global Spectrum).  She said, "All donated...everything!" 

And people showed up...by the thousands.  There were stories and some social networking but there was another "power" at work:  The power of "doing good".and being "other centered".

So, what's the lesson for those of us wanting to take a product or service to market?  We think three things:

  • Truth - Explain the benefit honestly.  No hype.
  • Engage - Buying or using this product or service has a value beyond your individual consumption.
  • Organize - Doing the advance legwork to understand the target market and acceptance is critical.

We hope to have the folks from "Meals From The Heartland" on our radio show in the near future.  We were told that they'll be back.

Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications