Brandon Stanton created Humans of New York in the summer of 2010. I admire his goal of photographing 10,000 New Yorkers; however, I am absolutely amazed at what his project, which I’m sure he thought he would just share with a smaller group than the world, has turned into. Countless people have been photographed and inspired the world with what they had to say.

Is HONY the next, big thing in marketing? Possibly. I don’t think Target will approach Brandon Stanton anytime soon to launch a campaign.


The image paired with a paragraph or quote from the subject of the photo proves powerful (check out this CNN story). 45 minutes post campaign launch, $100,000 was raised for Mott Hall Bridges Academy, a middle school in a New York neighborhood.


But LOOK at the final result:


Yes, that’s 1,419 percent funded.

This Social Media Examiner article helps us understand and articulate the success of HONY, exemplified in its following and the Mott Hall Bridges campaign. Here’s a few tips I think HONY is working (as in, WERKING or doing really, really well):

Build a story around your product

This seems to be the core of HONY. Why do people care about what people in New York look like? Yeah, it might be fascinating for a short amount of time, but HONY is more than just the image alone. The person in the image always has a quote or story to share. Because we relate to one another so easily by shared experiences or stories, each story told on HONY is sure to relate to a lot of people. People in New York are the same as people in Arizona or people in England. They experience love, pain and joy. We want to know we aren’t alone, and we love people who we can relate to.

Give your photos legs by making them shareable

HONY does this well by making images easily shareable on their website and on Facebook. The more shares, the more views, the more people reached. This was likely a vital factor in the success of the Motts Hall Bridges campaign. The CNN article said donations came from 105 countries and all 50 states. The picture got around to say the least.

Engage prospects, customers and the public in your efforts

Brandon reached out to HONY’s following for the campaign. HONY took things to another level – instead of simply posting photos and having the public share them, he provided a photo, a situation and a call to action.

Through the campaign, Humans of New York unique and solid influence on social media followers has proven to be effective in marketing and fundraising efforts. How do you think they will use their platform in the near future?



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