How do you make optimism cool?
Most people know Life is Good, if not by name then by the face of their iconic, smiling mascot, Jake. Life is Good has been in the t-shirt business for 24 years, but the shirts are only a vehicle for a much greater mission: to spread the power of optimism and to help kids in need. Optimism isn't just a cheery attitude, it's choosing to focus on and grow the good happening all around us. It's why we don't give up when things are hard, and why we choose to help the most vulnerable of us overcome serious challenges. To date, Life is Good has donated over $11 Million through the Life is Good Kids Foundation to support kids in need, but now it was time to bring the power and purpose of positivity to a new, millennial audience. We had to make optimism cool. With a clear call to action that grows the community of Life is Good optimists, Instagram followers and content creators.
We asked people to put themselves out there in a bold, declarative statement: #ThisIsOptimism.
Show the world what optimism looks like. Any moment in which you choose gratitude, compassion, simplicity, humor, openness, courage, fun, creativity, authenticity and love - share it using #ThisIsOptimism. Self-identify with a community of like-minded people actively working to bring more good into their friendships, neighborhoods and the world at large. We activated #ThisIsOptimism by creating a hub at LifeisGood.com for people to see themselves recognized; through partnerships with dozens of positive influencers (from bloggers to podcasters to Instagram darlings to public figures such as Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman and Mario Lopez) who shared how choosing to focus on the good helped them and others; and by creating seasonal moments and incentives for sharing your story around specific themes (including tying every story or hashtag usage to monetary support for kids in need). The more we modeled how real, rad people show up for their loved ones, their communities and themselves, the more new people came to join and participate in the Life is Good community. The more gear that people were inspired to purchase, the more resources could be funneled to the Life is Good Kids Foundation. We didn't intend to own a movement for choosing positivity, we just got it started for anyone to carry forward.
We created a behavior of wearing and sharing Life is Good that wasn't there before.
In the beginning, #ThisIsOptimism had a small handful of uses on Instagram. Today there are over 9,300. The @LifeIsGoodCo Instagram channel has gone from 40k to 125k followers in 18 months (and 100% without bots or spammy tactics). What was most exciting was that we established a new behavior among young optimists, from high schoolers to 30-something families, who are choosing to make their social channels positive places, and wear Life is Good gear while doing it. 80% of content on the Life is Good Instagram account is now UGC (the other 20% are positive e-cards made from t-shirt graphics). The community offers a deep well to draw from. We put a face to optimism, made a new home for the Faces of Life is Good, and cultivated an audience that is inspired to wear Life is Good's tees and support its mission.
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