We provide story-based strategic communications, advertising, graphic design and media production services to green and socially responsible businesses, nonprofits, foundations and grassroots activist organizations.

Our approach is grounded in a visual and narrative analysis of change - the recognition that we all understand the world and our role in it through the experience of stories, place, and community.

Story-Based Strategy

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea…

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery


The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.

― Muriel Rukeyser

Change Agents

You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.

― Ursula K. Le Guin

KBOO Radio Unpacks 'Story-Based Strategy' with SmartMeme Studios and the Backbone Campaign

Portland's KBOO community radio produced an in depth news feature on story-based strategy and tactics utilized by Washington media organizations SmartMeme Studios and the Backbone Campaign during the first Cascade Media Convergence, a Pacific Northwest network of activist and professional media makers and organizations.

SmartMeme Studios is a full service graphic design and advertising agency specializing in advocacy communications and serves nonprofits, foundations, lawmakers and businesses nationwide and abroad. SmartMeme Studios together with the Backbone Campaign conducted an extended workshop on story-based strategy for area media makers.

The Backbone Campaign "provides creative strategies, artful activism trainings, and creative action support to progressive activists, organizers and organizations around the US and beyond in order to invigorate and nurture a people-power, community-based, and internationally-networked nonviolent social movement for human rights, thriving communities, and ecological wellbeing."

Listen to the KBOO interview:

Eric Ross, organizing director for the Backbone Campaign based in Vashon, Washington, along with J Cookson and James John Bell of SmartMeme Studios in Union, Washington were in Portland for the first Cascade Media Convergence, an event that attracted communicators from throughout the Pacific Northwest to share ways to put media into the hands of ordinary people.

The best example of that in the presentation was Glacier Northwest, a mining company in upstate New York that tried to take over a spit of land on Maury Island in Washington's Puget Sound to develop a mining and barge loading site. Don Merrill talked with the three about the Maury Island action in particular, and some of their tactics and strategies in general for battling corporate messaging and hijacking the mainstream media for what they might call the 'greater good'.

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