Using Your Influence: What Every Influencer Can Learn From The Black-ish Finale
By Kimberly Smith | May 17, 2017
On May 10, 2017 the popular ABC show ended Season 3 with an emotional finale entitled “Sprinkles”. I personally had several friends and colleagues reach out to be to see if I had an opportunity to watch it. I hadn’t at the time, but soon after did go watch the full episode. It was well written and the story line was well portrayed by the entire team. For those of you who did not have the opportunity to see episode 24, I encourage you to watch it. But I will warn you that this article may be a bit of a spoiler.
In short, the Season Finale brought a national spotlight to a condition that impacts more than 300,000 pregnant moms every year- preeclampsia. In fact, women who have experienced preeclampsia and its associated pregnancy-related disorders like HELLP Syndrome have double the risk of heart disease later in life- according to The Preeclampsia Foundation. With heart disease being the number 1 cause of death in women- you would think that issues like preeclampsia would have more of a “voice”. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. As an advocate and devoted volunteer with The Preeclampsia Foundation, I still meet men and women who have never heard of the dangerous disease.
The writers and entire team at Black-ish pushed our “cause” even further into the public’s view. Episode 24 reached over 4.7 million viewers according to Disney ABC Press.
“Up against strong NBA Playoff competition on Wednesday in the 9:30 p.m. half-hour, ABC’s season finale of “black-ish” grew over the prior week by 12% in Total Viewers (4.7 million vs. 4.2 million) and by 8% in Adults 18-49 (1.3/5 vs. 1.2/4), drawing the show’s biggest audience in 6 weeks and equaling a 6-week high with young adults – since 3/29/17.”
– Disney ABC Press
Simply put, they used their influence to make an incredible impact amongst the vary audience who needed to hear the message. What was their message to me? “Preeclampsia is serious. Learn more.”
You may be wondering why someone like myself seems to be so passionate and grateful for what the show dedicated their season finale around. I have a personal story that drives my passion for healthy moms and babies. In March 2012, my husband and I were face to face with one of the greatest tragedies of our lives to date. I was 5 and 1/2 months pregnant with our first child- a daughter we named Lauren Kelly Smith. I often tell people that this was no “ordinary pregnancy”- not that any one is unimportant. In our case, we battled with infertility for a short time and got help getting pregnant with Lauren Kelly by way of an IUI. I’m being transparent with you because you may not understand the trauma surrounding our loss without this detail. In February 2012 our friends hosted a Gender Reveal party where friends and family traveled from hours away just to find out the sex of our new blessing. A few weeks later, my husband and I found ourselves rushing to the emergency room due to indescribable pains in the upper right side of my belly. Within an hour of our arrival, we learned that Lauren’s heart had stopped beating. I would give birth to a stillborn baby girl the next day. What was the cause of this tragedy, you may ask? HELLP Syndrome.
“HELLP syndrome often occurs without warning and can be difficult to recognize. It can occur without the signs of preeclampsia (which are usually a large increase in blood pressure and protein in the urine). Symptoms of HELLP syndrome include: Headache.”
What happened to us was tragic, but it lead us on a journey of pushing influencers to not just build a platform for selfish gain. It is critical for leaders, entrepreneurs, and anyone of influence to create intentional and strategic impact. The writers of Blackish did just that. Here are a few things that we can all learn from them:
- Identify an issue you are passionate about that also impacts your audience. Black-ish has seen a significant increase in the percentage of young adult and adult viewers- a population impacted by preeclampsia.
- Choose the right time to give voice to your cause. Season 24 aired on May 11, 2017. Most would assume that it aired because of Mother’s Day. I would also like to share that May is National Preeclampsia Awareness Month. The Preeclampsia Foundation obtained this designation through the Department of Health and Human Services many years ago.
- Remain true to your brand. What I loved most about this episode is that “it didn’t seem out of place”. The show has been known to sometimes share sensitive and controversial issues- wrapped in delightful humor. The kept that brand promise and delivered this message with excellence.
If you don’t remember anything else that I have shared in this article- please write this down. USE YOUR VOICE. Use it. Someone needs your voice. When you have acquired great influence those people will listen.
And lastly, let me share that my family and my consulting firm have just hosted our 3rd Promise Walk for Preeclampsia. It was amazing! You can still help us reach out goal of raising money for The Preeclampsia Foundation. Check out the information below:
Walk Website: www.promisewalk.org/Columbia
Interview with WLTX News 19: Interview Video
Go use your influence to make a greater impact! We are all counting on you!