Advertising in the Age of Movements

Movement Marketing: 4 Strategies For Sparking A Brand Movement

Movement Marketing is an innovative marketing model in which brands tap into existing cultural movements that align with their own values, passions and goals. The result can be a long term marketing strategy that will not only allow you to dominate market share but just might change the world. As the world’s first movement marketing agency, we would know.

The term Movement Marketing was first coined in 1999 by Scott Goodson, founder of the world’s first cultural movement marketing agency, StrawberryFrog. Last week Scott Goodson spoke the IAA in Romania with the title: Igniting Movements and how brands, entrepreneurs, and companies can rise to the occasion together with Robin Wright from the hit TV show House of Cards and the CEO of Burning Man, Marian Goodell.

Although movements in marketing date back much farther than that. Just think about the first Apple Mac or the Volkswagen Beetle in the 60’s.

Apple went against the IBM corporate business mentality of the time and set out to make computers fun. The entire culture at Apple rallied behind this idea and it was present in everything they did and advertised. The result has been nothing less than the most passionate group of customers and advocates on the planet. Because Apple was smart enough to recognize, tap and propel a movement towards enjoying technology, they now completely dominate the consumer electronics industry.

Volkswagen did the same thing by aligning with the new eco-conscious “small is the new big” mindset that was emerging within the counter culture during the 60’s. They ran off-centered ads that were unlike anything else at the time which spoke to the rising restlessness within the culture. Traditional marketing at the time was all about ‘bigger is better’ and ‘more, more more’. People were fed up with the over consumption mentality and Volkswagen recognized this and capitalized on it.

Notice how these companies tapped into a rising idea and designed their own corporate culture around it first and then launched strategic campaigns which helped give a voice to a swelling cultural idea. While traditional advertising starts with the product and pushes it upon the culture – movement marketing does the exact opposite. Here’s how:

  1. Tap into a cultural movement and group of people – not the individual as is done in traditional marketing.
  2. Do not focus on persuading people in the traditional marketing sense – it is about understanding and tapping into what they already believe.
  3. Emphasize sharing instead of selling. Think Pull versus Push marketing and engaging with your audience rather than talking at them.
  4. Most importantly, stop talking about yourself / your brand and join a conversation about anything but your product.

Movement Marketing is the difference between the status quo and revolution.

There is no shortage of social movements today – from Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring to the DIY revolution and Environmentalism. If a business can tap into and help support a movement, then the stage is set to successfully bring benefit to society/culture, people, and the bottom line.

I had the pleasure of working with the champion of Movement Marketing and founder of his own marketing agency, Scott Goodson, on a Sustainable Future report I published within USA Today. In addition, I just finished reading Scott’s new book on Movement Marketing titled UPRISING: How to Build a Brand and Change the World by Sparking Cultural MovementsWhat I’ve learned is that anyone can tap into cultural movements to bring mutual benefit to people, profit, and planet. Unlike traditional advertising, movements rely on people rather than awareness. The movement is the medium. This form of marketing creates a sustainable marketing campaign which can be engineered to keep on giving because people want to become a part of it.

Why would you want a customer when you can have a loyal brand advocate?

Social media has totally changed ‘business as usual’ and all good social media campaigns utilize Movement Marketing. Social media is really just a word of mouth marketing amplified exponentially. Social media has radically enhanced people’s ability to connect and share experiences about your company – whether good or bad. Movement marketing seeks to tap into this evolution by turning your customers into an army of true advocates.

Movement Marketing is the answer to the stale traditional campaigns of yesteryear. Companies that fail to focus on sharing passion with their customers will ultimately lose their market share to companies that are able to. You could also argue that the only challenge that should concern marketers today is getting consumers to connect with and rally around a shared purpose.

With the advent of the Internet, Social Media and Mobile technology, the entire world is your audience. As entrepreneurs, business owners and marketers we now have access to a global network of resources and customers. Movement Marketing and movement marketing agencies seek to unite businesses and social movements with the goal of mobilizing an audience via shared brand experiences. Begin your own marketing movement by taking action today and following these simple steps:

Movement Marketing Action Steps

  1. DISCOVER what your business is passionate about and identify a cultural movement aligned with your interests/expertise.
  2. LEARN everything you can about the movement and figure out how you can selflessly add value towards achieving the movements purpose and taking it the next level.
  3. EVOLVE by ensuring that your company’s culture is  internally on board with the movement before promoting it outside of your organization. Stop trying to sell your product and instead align your brand with furthering the movements goals.
  4. SUSTAIN the movement both within and outside your company by continually finding ways to uniquely add value to the movement. Practice the 80/20 rule in which you add value 80% of the time and offer your product/service as a solution 20% of the time.

Brand’s position on a social issue can drive purchase intent as much as product features

In the Harvard Business Review, Scott Goodson, founder of the creative advertising agency StrawberryFrog, argued fervently for brand-fueled marketing movements. He claims that companies and brands adopting traditional branding and positioning will pale against brands that take a stand for social issues and fuel movements with their marketing. At StrawberryFrog, we’ve previously said past consumers look to brands as trust marks. No more — now people trust themselves and their friends, leaving brands to try and find a meaningful role in people’s lives.

Purpose-driven branding will help your company, brand or organization grow. Brands that go one step further  engineer a brand-fueled marketing movement, activating a purpose  will succeed in our fragmenting media environment.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal wrote a story to further confirm this truth. “Taking a stand on a political or social issue could do a brand more good than harm at the checkout counter…people around the world are increasingly taking into account what brands stand for when they buy a product.”

Companies are increasingly voicing opinions or tying their marketing to hot button issues. Earlier this year, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc.increased its gun-buying age to 21 — amid a national debate over school shootings and gun control– while luxury car brand Audi promoted gender pay equality in its Super Bowl commercial last year.

The most recent example: Nike’s latest ad effort featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former National Football League quarterback who sparked a protest movement by kneeling on the field during the national anthem to call attention to racial injustice.

The rise of social media has given consumers a megaphone to publicly demand that corporations weigh in on political or social issues that arise.

It’s a big change. Companies have long gone out of their way to be non-political, as to not alienate any portion of their customer base. Many craft neutral statements to avoid any controversy.

Creative ad agency executives say the change in approach is driven by younger generations who expect brands to take a stand on important issues and make a difference.

Bucharest looks like a city from the past. Actually it’s the city of the future.

Dispatch from Romania by Scott Goodson, CEO and Founder of top advertising agency, StrawberryFrog.

The past three days I’ve been in Bucharest, Romania. I’ve been a guest of the City as well as a keynote speaker at the 2018 Global IAA conference alongside top dignitaries from Google HQ’s Cecelia Wogan-Silva, from Facebook, plus Tim Kobe, founder of 8 Inc, Antje Hundhausen from TMobile, Robin Wright, the star of House of Cards, even the delightful CEO of Burning Man, Marian Goodell was here.

We all came to Bucharest to connect and network with marketers, brands and advertising leaders from across the globe.

Everyone spoke about their areas of expertise and I, of course, spoke about my thing, Movement Marketing. Beforehand I didn’t know what to expect. Afterwards, I experienced many piercing and well thought through questions and a sea of inquisitive minds. In between speakers I walked around the center of Bucharest.

I saw the palatial government buildings, the exquisite national bank, the modern national theatre and the Franco-Roman national university building, in front of which a monumental societal movement in 1989 toppled the autocratic government of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. In addition to these, I saw many crumbling masterpieces and edifices. Some of which you wouldn’t want to sit under to enjoy a delicious local brew.

However, the big ‘aaahhhh’ for me is: don’t let the facades fool you. The quality of inventive and creative thinking burgeoning in Bucharest is impressive and second to none. The talent is broad and wide and everywhere. The curiosity insatiable and genuinely inspiring, especially for someone like me who’s opened StrawberryFrog advertising agency offices in Brazil, India, Singapore, Dubai, Amsterdam and New York. Cities and countries full of talented people. Yet, here I met a different kind of young, articulate, brilliant person during my visit to a city 2 hours from the Black Sea. And here, I experienced an energy and drive that I haven’t experienced elsewhere.

“What?”, you ask.

Yes! I’m excited about my time here and wish I had the opportunity to get to know more people and especially small design and digital companies to collaborate with here, because they’re going to change the world.

Here, in this city of Bucharest, lives and energy, drive, and output that is both wonderful and inspiring. 60% of the population is well under 25, extraordinarily creative because they’ve had little resources to muster other than their wits and talents, and access to technology which they’ve mastered in spades. No wonder the Israeli tech industry regularly works with small firms and individuals here.

I, for one, am incredibly impressed with the people and this city.

4 Ways to Improve Your Content Marketing

Read this wonderful article by Frank Cespedes and Russ Heddleston from the Harvard Business Review. So on point on how you should think about content. As the leaders of branding design agency, BlueberryContent, rightfully conclude: You have under 3 minutes to make an impression, and there is an optimal length.

 

In the past decade, content marketing has become a widely established practice. Companies have hired writers and Chief Content Officers to run departments, create blogs and other materials, and, in the process, some have assured sales people that content marketing can mean the end of cold calling.

The playbook sounds simple: attract prospects with content relevant to each stage of their buying journey and extend offers that motivate them to contact your sales team for a demo or discussion. With online technologies and targeted lists, this should be a cost-effective tool for separating the suspects from the prospects, accelerating customer conversion through the sales funnel, and, equally important, optimizing “data-driven marketing” by tying each piece of content to metrics like opens, reads, downloads, and so on.

But as Churchill reportedly said after Gallipoli, “However beautiful the strategy, you must occasionally look at the results.” Consider: blog output by brands has increased over 800% in the past five years but organic social share of blogs has decreased by 89% and about 5% of content gets 90% of engagement. An estimated 70% of the content generated by Marketing is never used by Sales reps and a similar percentage of the leads generated disappear into a “sales lead black hole.” And despite the repeated mantra about “data-driven,” there is contradictory advice about which content-marketing benchmarks indicate success as well as many blithe assertions about best practices in this area.

We examined 34 million interactions between customers and content on DocSend’s platform, which allows sales organizations to upload and share documents with prospects. The result is empirical data and a good starting point for examining core aspects of any content marketing initiative: how much time prospects actually spend on content, on which devices, when, and the type of content they prefer.

You have under 3 minutes to make an impression, and there is an optimal length

It’s no secret that buyers are bombarded with messages and the web has exacerbated the situation. That likely explains why the average viewing time for content is 2 minutes and 27 seconds. During that brief period, prospects are making many rapid-fire judgments, including whether or not they will move to the next step. Conversely, many sellers need to share lots of information with prospects to motivate desired buyer behavior.

Our data indicate that you should do your best to get that information into documents that are 2-5 pages — compared to content of longer lengths, first-time prospects spend more time viewing each page of the document and are more likely to view all of it. Documents uploaded to DocSend’s platform include case studies, overviews and guides, e-books, and proposals. (Keep in mind that prospects further along their buying journey may require more information.)

Our data also indicate that much of marketing and sales collateral is read by prospects outside of the normal work week. If initially engaged, a prospect reading a piece on Wednesday often returns for a longer visit on the weekend. This reflects an important 21st century buying reality that pipeline metrics often obscure: increasing numbers of buyers don’t move sequentially through a funnel; rather, they adopt parallel streams to explore, evaluate, and engage with content and sales people. Buying is a continuous and dynamic process, and content forms, formats and sequencing must adapt.

Mobile is important but overhyped

The proliferation of smart phones, iPads, and other devices has generated a certain folk wisdom about crafting content for the mobile buyer. But our data indicate that, at the top of the funnel, it typically makes sense to optimize content for viewing on multiple formats and devices. Further, once a lead is handed off to sales and becomes an opportunity, an overwhelming majority of prospects view sales content on desktop devices, not mobile.

These findings have actionable implications for marketers. Desktop devices remain very important, so avoid needless optimization for a single type of device and format. Focus on creating content that offers visuals to convey key messages quickly and that performs well on multiple formats. Think succinct copy and core take-aways that punctuate each slide, and avoid text-heavy information drops on each page. Also, given the way prospects often return for a closer look outside work time, consider creating a content-sequencing process for coupling an initial view with additional engagement to help your sellers prioritize their follow-up actions. And in doing this, recognize inherent differences between marketing- and sales-relevant content. In the former, the goal is to establish awareness and interest; for sales, the goal is to get the customer to sign a contract.

There’s no “best day” of the week to send content

There are many assertions about the best day of the week to send content. But opinions about Tuesday afternoon or Thursday morning simply don’t hold up to empirical examination. Our data indicate that total visits by prospects to sellers’ sites were almost evenly distributed across each day of the work week — slightly more on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and, unsurprisingly, a bit less on Monday morning and Friday afternoon.

Do not focus on specific days for sending content. In fact, doing that probably indicates unused capacity and a lack of cadence in your marketing and sales process. Instead, it’s better to prioritize based on level and type of prospect engagement with specific types of content and a process for follow-up after initial engagement. For many companies, this often means linking your content marketing efforts to what you know about the vertical your prospect is in and relevant guides for each type. Content by vertical also plays well with most sales teams.

Prospects still prefer one type of content more than others

Marketers put a lot of time and effort into crafting content. And the data indicate they need to keep working on this to improve actual use of their content by prospects and sales colleagues. But which type of content routinely outperforms others in terms of completion rate? The tried and true case study is, by far, the content that prospects complete more than others. In our data, case studies have an 83% completion rate — orders of magnitude higher than other sales and marketing content provided during the buying journey.

Buyers, especially B2B buyers, want to know what others are doing with your product, not what they might do to improve productivity or other outcomes. Good case-study content does that, while providing a compelling reason for the prospect to learn more and initiate a change process. Especially in B2B contexts, buyers must justify a decision to others in the organization who have competing priorities for limited funds. Knowing how other organizations have successfully integrated and used a new product, service or process is more important than grand assertions about “thought leadership” or “disruption.” As a result, good case content, like good follow-up, often has a specific and relevant vertical focus. And the process of finding and articulating that content requires on-going interaction between marketers, sales, and service people in your firm — interactions that often yield other benefits in addition to relevant and credible use cases.

Content marketing is evolving, and, as buying becomes increasingly non-linear, can play an important role in aligning selling with buying. But there are now many myths and unexamined assumptions that have accrued around content marketing as the practice has exploded. Don’t follow the herd. If you can’t track what prospects read, when, where, and for how long, you have a blind spot in a big part of your marketing budget and are unlikely to get the ROI possible with this approach.

Heist CEO: ‘We’re building the Nike of underwear’

How to become a challenger brand in the age of disruption? The world’s best challenger brand thinker is Adam Morgan, of UK based branding design agency, Eat Big Fish. He’s not only a visionary marketing mind, he’s a good friend. In his company’s recent article, underwear is put under the microscope with some surprisingly fresh perspectives. Enjoy:

The Challenger Project

Using an engineering-led approach to product development, Heist is re-inventing underwear in an industry where innovation is usually driven by cyclical trends. And as a brand, Heist has something to say on how women are portrayed in advertising today. Co-founder and CEO, Toby Darbyshire, explains to eatbigfish the insight that led to Heist, his reflections on last year’s banned tube ads and his advice for other challenger CEOs.

Watch Toby Darbyshire here.