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The Seven Virtues of Bono – Part 2

May 6, 2010

The following article is a continuation of Part 1 which discusses the first three virtues of Bono.

Photo credit: World Economic Forum via Creative Common license through Flickr.

4. Emotional ability – regardless of whether you like U2’s music, it is impossible not to notice the emotion behind Bono’s lyrics. What’s key here is that Bono is able to motivate audiences by conveying pain, heartache, fear, disgust, love, appreciation, or optimism. That’s a unique skill and when applied to causes – it’s absolutely essential. Lesson for cause-marketers: Emotion is the single biggest motivator in getting people to support your cause.

5. Intellect -Let’s face it. Rock stars aren’t Poindexters. Poindexters, in fact, usually want to be rock stars. But Bono can hold his own. Remember when he took then US Secretary of Treasury Paul O’Neill on a tour through Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, and Ethiopia? According to O’Neill, Bono was well versed in economic theory and the impact of colonialism. Bono seems just as comfortable on stage singing as he does with discussing neo-colonialist economic policies with finance ministers. This is an incredible asset. Lesson for cause-marketers: You can’t convince everyone on emotion alone. It doesn’t take long to scratch beyond the surface of a celebrity endorser to realize you’re dealing with someone who’s better off on stage or TV. Make sure your celebrity has staying power and can hold her own against some of the sharpest minds out there.

6. Likeable – Music is a matter of taste, obviously. Not everyone likes Rock N Roll and not everyone likes U2. Some people dislike Bono. That’s fine. But what matters here is a couple of things: more people like (love, in fact) Bono than who don’t. Moreover, even those who aren’t fans of his music truly appreciate that he has used his visibility and credibility to spark change in policy and awareness.  Even more important: there seem to be relatively few skeletons in Bono’s closet – something that probably evokes jealously in the minds of the endorsers of Michael Vick before he went to prison for dog fighting.  Lesson for cause-marketers: be careful who you get to endorse your cause.

7. Passion – there’s something to be said for staying power. You can’t deny that Bono is truly passionate about raising awareness about AIDS in Africa.  Take a look at this video of Bono’s tour of Africa. Lesson for cause-marketers: there is no substitute for passion. It’s what every companies want out of its employees, it is what every charity want out of donors, and it is what every campaign needs out of a spokesperson.

For a combination of examples of all of these virtues, watch this interview with Brian Williams.


The author is the president of Do Well Do Good – a CSR & philanthropy consulting firm based in Chicago. (c) 2010.

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