The concrete industry has traditionally focused its message of resiliency on design professionals, engineers, and zoning officials. These approaches are armed with science, amplified by case studies, and supported by statistics. While important endeavors, there’s often disconnect to a very influential audience - employees, families, and communities.
The team at Resilience Action Fund (RAF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit, are attempting to bridge this gap. Ask Uncle Resy is an illustrated educational series of short comic panel. Each panel focuses on a topic on resilient construction provides readers insights on to make better hazard-resilient choices in the residential market. Future topics will include:
- why site location is important,
- how to identify local hazard risks,
- How building types differ when, codes, insurance, climate concerns, energy savings and renovation/remodeling options. launched in December 2020.
Using Comics to be influential
Once considered to be a childhood fancy, marketing experts are now touting comics as a useful tool to influence readers. Three reasons why this media type can be effective were proposed in Using Comics to Simplify Business Stories and Communicate Humorously, a recent article posted on the well-respected MarTech Series web site.
Illustrated educational features, like Ask Uncle Resy may be the right tool to influence the public. That’s because:
1. Comics are “catchy”. The drawings can be visually appealing, drawing attention from all age groups. Research indicates that readers remember visual stories for a long time when compared to textual stories.
2. Comics make it “simpler”. Using comics to tell a story signal the reader that the content is comprehensive, simple, and interesting to read.
3. Comics drive “emotions”. In the fast-paced business environment, few want to bid more time on verbose documents. Comics are a relief.
Uncle Resy’s mission
Uncle Resy, the main character of the series, is portrayed as a construction industry veteran. Like many knowledgeable professionals in our industry, his experience and insights are not known by the average person. Thus, Uncle Resy becomes the ‘go-to’ person for a related family of three, who are looking for a new home. His primary interaction is with Stevie, his 10yr old nephew. Stevie becomes a ‘resilience detective’, and passes what he learns to his parents.
According to Aris Papadopoulos, RAF’s chair, the inspiration for the comic series comes from real life experiences. “Contractors and design professionals are the real experts on the safe choices in home purchases,” said Papadopoulos. “Unfortunately, when it comes to the hazard vulnerability of locations and homes, the real estate industry generally keeps consumers in the dark”, he added. He is concerned that governments have done little to mandate that information on the impact of resilient options be discussed during the purchase decision. And he is concerned that popular outlets and media overly focus on cosmetics and storm-chasing.
“Uncle Resy explains technically complicated and important messages in a language and way that a child can understand. And if a child can understand it, we all should,” said Papadopoulos.
Ask Uncle Resy commenced December 2020 and, as of late-Feb 2021, 4 episodes have been released. The episodes have focused on:
- Fire (particular emphasis on holiday fire risk)
- Hazard Risk
The 2021 plan is for one or two new episodes per month, each with 6 panels/episode.Topics of upcoming episodes include Power Resilience and Earthquakes.
How to be a part of effort
RAF is asking businesses, associations and organizations interested in resilience to support using Uncle Resy to spread the message. Supporters are urged to post Ask Uncle Resy episodes on their websites and broadcast the message using their social media outlets. Sponsors can use this content on a royalty-free basis, if credit is given to RAF and a link provided to its website.
RAF has recognized that supporters may want a future episode that focuses on a specific issue or solution. RAF offers a special customized opportunity to develop pertinent concept for one or more Ask Uncle Resy episodes.
Download the first edition of Ask Uncle Resy by clicking here: