It's Colombia, not Columbia. It's not simply the spelling of our name, but how it represents the misconceptions and ignorance held by our neighbors of what the country has achieved. If you can't spell it correctly, how can you understand how far we've come?
In 2013 we were invited to Social Media Week NYC to talk about social media in Colombia and our experience having organized Social Media Week Bogotá three times in the past. Their email read: “Do you guys from Columbia want to come to our conference?”. Our response was: “Thanks. We'll be there and the name of our conference is 'It's Colombia, not Columbia’”.
Together with our friends at Compass Branding, we felt it was an opportunity to use the misspelling of the country’s name as an excuse to start a much larger conversation. A conversation to redefine what people all over the world think about Colombia, based on stereotypes created by negative coverage for the past few decades. We understood the past, but we were not repeating it now, and wanted the world to know.
It also happened to be a great experiment in preparation for our presentation in NYC. A way to start a movement with a purpose, and to show how social media could be used to talk about the country in a meaningful, and accurate way. Having started one month before the event, the campaign took off quickly, mainly via Facebook. By the time Social Media Week kicked off in NYC, we had more than 5k organic likes, and incredibly high engagement rates. No small feat for a $0 budget.
Then it happened. Almost overnight. People, friends of Zemoga at first, began sharing our content and people were proudly wearing the hats and T-shirts we gave away as an image of pride and solidarity. And not just Colombians. Celebrities and politicians. We even were invited to be part of Cannes Lions Festival in France in 2012 where we were given a booth dedicated to the campaign and social movement that now had a life of its own.
It was only a matter of time before we could get the attention of the media in NYC. When the moment came, the campaign exploded thanks to the coverage by the very entities that often get the spelling wrong. The Wall Street Journal did a front page article and then followed up a year later to see what effect we had made.
Four years later, the campaign is still very active with a large community still engaged, still policing the media in all its forms and making sure that when they misstep, they are called out in a respectful, but none the less authentic way. And they respond to our outreach in kind, often openly admitting their mistake in their social channels, thereby furthering our mission to correct it.
The role we played
- Social Content Strategy
- UX Design
- Visual Design
- Motion Design
- Project Management