The Power of Change

“The Power of Change” sounds so abstract and subjective, but when put in context it can actually be extremely powerful.  It’s powerful as a string of words, as a movement and as a tangible means to changing lives.

Recently, I was vacationing with my family in Virginia Beach, VA and there beside the boardwalk and bike path was a beet red meter.  It looked like a parking meter, but red and in such an odd place.  It wasn’t on a street or in a parking lot, it was just stationed right next to the beach.  It caught me off guard, so I took a closer look and saw that it was a message from the city of Virginia Beach to all of it's visitors.

The message encourages the Virginia Beach neighbors, friends and visitors to contribute to the “power of change”.  The City recognizes homelessness as a problem. They also seem well aware of the basic empathy that most beach goers have towards the homeless at the beach asking for help.  The message is powerful and emotional but it doesn’t leave you hanging.  The message communicates and appeals to you for an explicit action “the next time you feel compelled to give, the city and its businesses urge you to please make your contributions in this special donation meter.”  Then it continues to inform you what will be done “your contributions will be used for long term solutions to help break the cycle of homelessness.”  Wow, brilliant! 

The city of Virginia Beach developed a marketing program to fight the significant humanitarian and economic issues they face.  As a marketer, I believe in measuring the success of every program.  Now, it’s true that I don’t know how many beach visitors participated, how much money they raised, or if the program hit the City’s goal.  But I do know, from my viewpoint as a vacationer enjoying the beach, it was successfully implemented because it struck me in a powerful way! 

The red meter got me thinking.  It got me thinking about the beautiful beach and how my family and I came to enjoy it on vacation; while others were there because they had nowhere else to go; it got me thinking about how important marketing is to communicate a problem and create a solution.  But most importantly, it got me thinking how beautiful it is to be on the beach and see that “the power of change” is not just a slogan, but when put in context, it can be an extremely powerful marketing program that can change lives. 


Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and Founder of the eRetailer Summit. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. 

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in  Fairfield County Connecticut.