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Having supported over a hundred new social enterprises through the RSA Catalyst programme, one common flaw in the plans of ventures I've observed is a lack of resources (or plan for getting them) to market their product or service in front of their whole target audience. This has got me thinking as to how we might be able to help overcome this.

My idea for how to do this draws on the way that RSA Animates have been viewed 50m times because they've been interesting enough for people to share them and the recent and the growing prevalence of online courses. And I think it would be possible to create a course by which we help people make and then give a platform to animations about ventures they are inspired by (and that align with our work).

To see if this was feasible I decided to try to make my own animate of an RSA Fellow’s venture I was passionate about, document how long it took me as well as what equipment and technical expertise was required. Below is the result. The point is not that this video is good enough, but hopefully it gives a sense of what can be achieved if I’d also been able to read the advice of the creator of RSAnimates and been connected to someone who could draw better than me and who might have far more creative ways of displaying the content, rather than my cheap imitation of the RSA Animate style.


Here’s how I think we could help you, a social entrepreneur, to produce a marketing video:

  1. Help you find an artist/illustrator who can draw and a photographer needed to make an animation (many could be drawn in from the RSA Student Design Awards network of 90 colleges and universities in UK, USA and Malaysia. We’ve already got making animated versions of RSA lectures)

  2. Help you find a group of people passionate about it and who want to help communicate it, many of whom would be drawn from the Fellowship, working with the 60 places across the UK where Fellows regularly come together

  3. Provide a toolkit (available online) with advice from the team behind our RSAnimates (50m views) for making a great animation to tell a complex/revolutionary idea in an engaging way through a structure of meetings as a group, say, over a month

  4. Encourage you to send us your completed animation, which we might then put on our YouTube channel (450,000+ subscribers), giving the animators a chance to get more work and providing an income stream for the programme since at this point we could demand that people became Fellows (our supporters who pay £160 a year to the RSA)

The key objectives would be to:

  • Help social ventures reach new audiences to get sales/investment/grants

  • Help illustrators and animators learn how to use their skills for social good and (those that are good enough) get profile for their animation to help break them as a professional animator

  • (Possibly even) get an income stream since after building up a database of proven animators, we could broker a service to corporate clients to access animators

If that doesn't persuade you, can the creator of RSA Animates persuade you. Here he is saying that the vast majority of the time he puts into them is taken brainstorming ways of visualising the ideas he's talking about to reference popular culture.

Surely everyone can come up with pop culture references? How many of us can pull the car over and get some doodles down?

I’d be interested to hear what people made of this idea and help me think it through:

  • Are you trying to market a social venture and would this be useful?

  • Are you a wannabe animator and would this be useful?

  • Do you know about technology and can help me understand some of the costs involved in delivering this? My idea of how this would look is based on IDEO and +Acumen’s Human Centred Design course which used google+. But it is likely that this would need more functionality (for illustrators to find ventures and marketing experts, not just for one person to find two others) and we would want to use something that linked in with our CRM Salesforce that

The best way to get in touch would be via: my Twitter LinkedIn Or by leaving a comment below!

Alex Watson is former Catalyst Programme Manager at the RSA.


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