#illridewithyou – the power of emotional connection

Social media branding

Every day brands try to engage with their customers on social media and one of the ways they do this is by starting a movement using a hashtag. Every now and then a brilliant hashtag will spread like wildfire as customers connect with the sentiment and engage with sharing the message. However, more often than not the hashtag flops and marketers are left wondering why. The recent terrorist events in Sydney have sparked a deeply emotional connection with people all over Australia. It all started when one woman showed support to a woman who didn’t feel that she could publicly show her beliefs by wearing a head scarf on public transport. People all over Australia have since joined the movement and made a stand against racism and bigotry by using the hashtag #illridewithyou.

#illride with you has spread like wild fire emotionally connecting with thousands of Australians

A Twitter movement, #illridewithyou, has sprouted with everyday Australians offering to ride on buses and trains with Muslims, or give them a lift to work, in order to keep them safe.

A young Brisbane woman, Rachael Jacobs, inspired the campaign after posting a moving Facebook status about her encounter with a Muslim woman earlier in the day.

“…and the (presumably) Muslim woman sitting next to me on the train silently removes her hijab,” Ms Jacobs wrote. “I ran after her at the train station. I said ‘put it back on. I’ll walk with u’. She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute – then walked off alone.”

The story of Rachael’s encounter with a woman in religious attire inspired a Twitter user, ‘Sir Tessa’, aka Tessa Kum: “If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule,” user ‘Sir Tessa’ tweeted. Moments later she tweeted “Maybe start a hashtag? What’s in #illridewithyou?”

Thousands of people have now joined the spontaneous campaign, offering to meet Muslim people at their local stations and to ride with them on their journey.

I'll ride with you tweets

This Twitter campaign is so successful because it sparks a deep emotional connection. It is honest, sincere and brings people together creating a movement.

While it would be unfair to compare this to a brand campaign there are some lessons for marketers. If you truly want to engage people, connect with them on an emotional level and be sincere. Create a campaign for greater good and establish a movement that people are proud to be a part of.

Gemma Dittmar
Director of Brand Projects

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