BEIRUT: When Live Love was founded in 2012, it started with the mere aim of shedding light on the wonders of Lebanon. Using a storytelling approach on social media, different accounts managed by individuals sprung up from North to South, reporting live from their cities and villages across the country. Soon, the organization branched out and its impact grew beyond borders.
Today, Live Love’s network spans over 25 countries, venturing not only into storytelling, but storydoing, to foster volunteerism, and storyliving, which includes tours for people to connect and explore together.
Since launching these various initiatives, over 10,000 volunteers were recruited, and 42 tours have been delivered. BDD sat with Live Love’s passionate team, to discuss why their model succeeded, why storytelling is so important in today’s fast-paced world, and what the next steps are.
BDD: How do you foster the spirit of storytelling?
Live Love: One of the best things about the times we live in, is that technology has enabled anyone to create and share content easily through devices they have in their pockets at all times. At Live Love, we provide a platform and foster everyone’s innate ability to be a storyteller, through the prompts that we design for our community on social media.
For example, Live Love Beirut simply started with a hashtag and three requests. 1) Find the beauty of Lebanon. 2) Capture it and share it on #livelovebeirut 3) Get a bracelet to support local change-makers. That created a movement of people finding and sharing the beauty of Lebanon, no matter what the country was and still is going through, and provided a space to find and share the joy in the small moments of life. Together, we aim at celebrating our nature, people and culture.
BDD: What is the most effective way to tell a story from your experience?
Live Love: We use the KISS principle a lot at Live Love. It’s a design mantra that means “keep it simple, stupid”. People’s attention span is getting extremely short. We are overloaded with content. How do you make a story stick is a constant question when we write scripts, captions, edit videos or select the photos we post. We go by: Keep it short, straight to the point, sincere, and always speak from the heart. You touch people with emotions.
BDD: Why do you believe the Live Love model was successful and scalable in across the globe?
Live Love: The model of creating a space to share the beauty of a city and country through a hashtag, and subsequently building a community around it, is pretty repeatable because of its simplicity. Our brand name “Live Love” is also quite agile in a way that it can take on the DNA of whatever geography you add to it, like Live Love Egypt or Live Love Armenia or Live Love Spain.
Shortly after we launched Live Love Beirut and Live Love Lebanon in 2012, young people in other countries adopted our model and brand, and even our bracelets, to do the same and create a ripple effect. The challenging part comes after, and that is to do with organizing these communities and create a sustainable model.
BDD: On that point, how do you ensure financial sustainability as an organization?
Live Love: We operate as a social impact studio. We partner with the private and public sectors to create social impact around the channels and products we’ve designed for the environment and people in need. Each of the products we designed has its own sustainability model. For example, with livelovetours.com it’s based on selling tour packages. Our Live Love Studios creates various branded content around impact for a variety of brands or institutions that also gets shared on our social media channels. And parts of the proceeds from selling our bracelets go to cover our volunteering operations.
BDD: So what’s next for Live Love?
Live Love: We’re working on building the technology that will allow for our international scaling to become more mature and organized. We also are continuing and growing our crisis relief operations in Lebanon to help people in need during the hard times we’re going through.
Published in partnership with the Beirut Digital District Blog.
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