All great brands, movements, tribes, accomplishments and companies are popular because of their story. Whether that story is told from person to person or from a TV screen to many people, the intention is the same: to find common ground through shared experiences.
Erik Proulx’s Lemonade Detroit tells the story of what our hero (the people of Detroit) are doing to rebuild their community after the failure of its greatest corporations to stay profitable and desirable to work for. The subjects of the movie are not actors, but they are certainly on their way to stardom.
But it’s not the city, nor the people, that are the real stars of Lemonade Detroit. It’s not their accomplishments, hopes or dreams; the real star of Lemonade Detroit is the idea that connected groups of passionate people can make a difference. The people of Detroit have connected, the producers of Lemonade Detroit have connected, and the story of this once-great city trying to reinvent itself has connected all of us.
Too many presenters, storytellers, salespeople, teachers and public talkers rely only on the content of their speeches to make an impact. They think fancy graphics, well-chosen text, and slick style trumps all. Some time ago, that may have been true. Now that the world is becoming more transparent than any of us may have imagined, it’s the process, not the starting and end points, that has become the most important.
Proulx’s Lemonade Detroit process follows this to a tee. He’s upfront about his goals, explains his call to action, and, most importantly, makes everyone ELSE a star. I can’t stress enough how integral making others feel empowered is. Notice how those responsible for financing the project are in no way featured prominently in any of the videos, save the one asking for others to donate and help the cause. And even in that producer video, Proulx himself does not appear.
Make everyone else a star and they’ll love you for it.