What should the US Embassy do right after a revolution?

The challenge:

Egypt has just gone through a revolution.  Tensions are high. Any political statement can cause backlash or even violence.  You're the US Embassy in Cairo.  You need to reach out to the Egyptian people.  What do you do?



Step one: New image

Rebrand the embassy's social media. Focus on peace and partnership

There are rarely branding projects in situations as touchy as the US Embassy found itself in after the Egyptian Revolution.  The Embassy was not only the seat of American influence in Cairo, but it was the scene of physical confrontation during the revolution.  It was necessary to be bold and clear, but also to create a brand that said "We want to work together."

Therefore, the American and Egyptian flags were combined (as is the convention in US embassy logos) but the star of the American flag was transformed into a dove, a symbol of peace.


Step two: Inspire

Launch a campaign with a simple, uniting message

It was not the right time to begin dictating perfect solutions to the Egyptian public.  Therefore, the outreach had to be about inspiration.  American values would need to be demonstrated in the most inviting way possible.  Therefore, a campaign was launched called "Sing! Egyptian Women."  The campaign was a contest in which young women participated in a nation-wide singing competition by submitting videos to the embassy's Facebook page.  

The tagline "Let the world hear you" was about personal expression, but also touched on the democratic aspirations of the people.  The public was then invited to vote on the singers.  The message was simple: Follow your dreams, the American people are with you. 

Collaboration: Share the Mic, US Embassy, Nile Productions




Step three: Find Heroes

Following the success of Sing! Egyptian Women, a follow up campaign was launched called Untold Stories.  This was a film competition aimed at finding Egypt's hidden heroes.  The campaign had a great responses, but it also played the important role of introducing the embassy to Egyptians who had big ideas for how to improve the country.  It was an exercise in pivoting from making a connection into making an impact. 




The campaigns were a massive success.  Sing! received more than 600,000 impressions across social media alone, positive press coverage, and great engagement from fans.  

The embassy's following on social media increased dramatically.  The embassy's Facebook likes increased from around 100,000 at the beginning of the activation to more than 300,000 a year later. The space in which they could speak and build connections with ordinary Egyptians grew an stabilized, and a new connection was made with youth in a country trying to get on it's feet. Most importantly, individual connections were made which allowed the embassy to continue to chart a course in a difficult political time.