Disrupt & Innovate

The Language of Humanity

19th June 2018 by David Labi Gropiusstadt, Berlin-Neukölln. Illustration by Nikhil Chaudhary.

Cause-driven organisations in this era of content overload must use artistic storytelling to powerfully stand out and move hearts to action.

Picasso’s masterpiece “Guernica” tells the horrific story of a massacre in a frozen moment, a timeless, terrifying rendering of human pain and mortality. A thousand short news pieces, while containing more information, could rarely connect to the same degree with a viewer’s emotions. Artistic storytelling enables a connection that the content industry usually fails to engender. The word “content” can be a misnomer, often representing something full, and yet empty. That’s not to do any disservice to the many passionate and talented people working in journalism and marketing – and the expanding frontier land where the two worlds cross over.

Cause-driven organisations must do things differently to capture hearts amid this cacophonic content overload. A more artistic form of storytelling is the only way to infuse both the form and the content with the right values and power. Art-based storytelling responds to the recent erosion of trust in journalistic objectivity: if no stories can be believed in the era of “fake news”, then it’s better not to pretend objectivity. Rather, we should embrace subjectivity, as art has always unashamedly done.

At Good Point we work with cause-driven organisations to hone their internal messaging, what we call their “brand DNA”, so they can create unified and consistent communication that has more impact. We’ve found that many such organisations have no time or resources to focus on strategic storytelling: that communication is often an afterthought when it should be an integral part of their entire strategy. While there’s often talk of “disruption”, “innovation” and “creativity” – these values can be conspicuously absent from videos, websites, brochures, articles, event design, and other outward manifestations of the brand’s personality. For example, we worked closely with the International Civil Society Centre on this very website: exploring the values and mission of the team and bringing core qualities like innovation, creativity and approachability to life on the digital platform.

A New Arts Collective

Earlier this year, our team launched a Berlin-based arts collective called Angles. The collective now encompasses more than 35 artists, writers, filmmakers, photographers, and other creative people representing countries as diverse as Germany, the US, Afghanistan, Palestine, Israel and Vietnam, among others. These artists employ diverse media to tell stories about Berlin that celebrate urban inclusion and give voices to unchampioned individuals and communities: to humanise the Other, smash silos, and build bridges.

From an integration workshop run by the Angles collective in Neukölln. Photo by Itay Novik.

Ethical organisations would often love to work with artists: they explore similar concepts of humanity, identity and empathy, while celebrating creativity and inspiration. Yet such actors tend to lack the resources to seek out the right creative partners. There’s also a risk of hiring an individual who though a great talent, might be unable to offer the project management and delivery a trusted agency could bring.

On the other hand, while many artists might be concerned with similar values as cause-driven organisations—and often also seek to earn money from creating—they lack the right network, sales skills, or project-management capacity to offer work to the right partner.

Connecting Ethical Organisations with Artists

Good Point functions as a bridge between these artists and ethical organisations: not just making the connection but managing and directing the project. Our team offers brand-strategy experience alongside artistic production from the film, TV and editorial worlds.

Artists of the Angles collective include Nikhil Chaudhary, an architect and urbanist from India who also draws cartoons to chronicle the pressures of urban development. This is an original animated video he made about the problem of pedestrian traffic deaths in Mumbai.  Others include fine artists like Annelisa Leinbach and Peter Wood. Many other members work innovatively together using other media in fresh combinations: more details can be seen on the Angles Instagram page.

Current stories the collective is working on include the production of a map showing the diversity of Kottbusser Tor through audio interviews and photography; an illustrated audio piece on sex work in Berlin; and a series of multimedia works exploring the street musicians of the city. These approaches can all be employed to tell stories for cause-driven organisations, especially as the causes tend to so fully cross over with our own. The values of humanity, identity, empathy and a more cohesive society are best served by creative multimedia storytelling that can express the creativity and innovation so many organisations have in their mission statement.

If ethical organisations are to stand out and capture the current passion for purpose, they can only do it through fresh, original storytelling. That’s why we are connecting artists with humanitarian partners, to help capture hearts with their powerful, urgent messages.

David Labi

Founder and Director

Good Point

David Labi is the founder and director of ethical communications agency Good Point and co-founder of the Angles art collective.