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An Optimistic Beauty: Ben Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative
Exploring brand, story, authenticity and truth in cause-related marketing

Every humanitarian cause reaches from the beginning, the heart of the person, in dreaming that dream, that change, that new dimension in experience that could change the world. It starts with one, that brand story, and moves to millions. The founding presumption of that “movement” is the idea that it would truly offer that — a captivating position of emotionality and engagement. The conception of the fire of the brand as a storytelling device – people literally gathered round the fire of the hearth of the narrative – is one visualization that distinctly imparts the highly charged emotional appeal of any passionate story. With passion, the humanitarian brand is born, people are drawn to the flame, and the movement, literally, grows.

In 2009, linking with a friend, Joe Cerrell, he’d referenced supporting Ben Affleck’s  initiative – the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI). Striking was the vision, a kind of optimistic positioning of the extraordinary resilience of the people in supporting — themselves in transition — positive change. It wasn’t so much about the presumption of merely stepping into the Eastern Congo, adding an American perspective to “re-building” the damages to the Eastern Congolese spirit, but rather, funding the character of these marvelous people in their ability and focus in helping themselves.

In the early stages of this organization, in partnership with the ECI team, it was our role to create an overall visual guide for ECI; develop the logo and offer strategic branding guidance. In any brand development — humanitarian cause-related or simply economically commerce-based — strategic foundations and personality lend themselves to linear tactical outputs.

An Optimistic Beauty: Ben Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative

An Optimistic Beauty: Ben Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative

An Optimistic Beauty: Ben Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative

An Optimistic Beauty: Ben Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative

An Optimistic Beauty: Ben Affleck's Eastern Congo Initiative

The real key to the brand — the humanitarian positioning — is to start with the careful unfolding, the explication, of the human that drives it; beginning there, it moves outwardly, story on story, warming influence on passionate flow, and the mission, the promise, does just that: it moves.

An honor for Girvin, to support this cause.

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