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Scott Goodson, founder of StrawberryFrog and author of Uprising (McGraw Hill), recently spoke to The Drum on the science of brand-fueled Movement Marketing. Goodson argues that brands and organizations launching movements to change culture inside companies is often a more effective marketing model than advertising.

How long have you been an advocate/practitioner of Movement Marketing?

Since the early 1990s. Back then, I was owner of an advertising agency in Stockholm, Sweden. I was grappling with the idea that advertising sometimes forces actions, but how do you drive behavioral change? Most of our clients wanted purpose branding, because consumers demanded more from their employers and from the brands they bought. I felt purpose was too theoretical and focused on the company not the consumer.

When we started working with IKEA and Ericsson Mobile phones outside Sweden across Europe and the world, I tested the idea of Movement Marketing. It carried purpose to both employees and consumers with much more power than purpose branding. Then, in 1999, I started StrawberryFrog together with Swedish Advertising legend Karin Drakenberg. StrawberryFrog was the world’s first Movement Marketing, Design and Advertising Company.  

How does ‘movement marketing’ differ from more traditional forms of promotion?

We're living in the golden age of movements. 87% of Americans will purchase a product, because a company advocates for an issue they care about. (Forbes 2017). A recent study by Gallup said that 36% of American have felt the urge to organize or participate in a public protest.

The new wave of movements is being led by the millennials, who have been dubbed the ‘crusader generation’, a whopping 94% of whom want to use their skills to benefit a cause, and 77% have already gotten involved in charity or change-making, according to Forbes magazine 2018.

Unlike 99.9% of brand marketing, joining a movement makes your message unforgettable and sticky. As the U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 recently discovered, 60% of 16- to 24-year-olds claim to notice ads more if they deal with important issues.

In "Uprising: How to Build a Brand and Change the World by Sparking Cultural Movements" (McGraw Hill) I point out that the most successful businesses tend to have both. Brand purpose is about your company; whereas, movement marketing is about your customer (and employees) and what’s important in their lives. A movement sells product by firstly connecting with people around a cause they’re passionate about at a time when attention spans are waning. To the consumer the message is inspiring: we are going to partner together to change the world.

Advertising, on the other hand, conveys bold and principled declarations to the world: "At Acme Amalgamated, we’re committed to X. We believe in Y. We care passionately about Z." Unfortunately, in the end, advertising all starts to sound like generic ad-speak.

If you want to transform the culture and mindset of an organization a Movement Inside generates more trust, creativity and motivation than top-down mandates from the C-Suite.  Movements move passions to move people to move product more effectively than advertising campaigns.

What advantages does it offer over other approaches?

How do you engage with consumers that don’t watch TV or read magazines and engage with digital fleetingly? Movement is one powerful tool on these fragmenting timings. It helps our clients not only create purpose driven brands, but Movement is SO much easier to activate in marketing campaigns that drive measurable results.

Some movements are noble and aim to change the world while other movements are more playful and where your big idea is embraced by pop culture. Both are ways of amplifying your big idea. The business value of mass engagement by culture includes earned media on top of paid media and greater penetration, conversion and loyalty through passions and word of mouth.

What level of resource is required to start a movement? What scale of organization is this approach best suited to?

Movement Marketing is smarter and cheaper. When you advertise on TV, your market share goes up. When you stop, it falls. Movements are sustainable and rely on all platforms rather than traditional advertising. Advertising requires large media budgets. Movements are sustainable and require much less budget than traditional advertising and are 10 times as effective.

Is there any evidence of a wider ‘movement’ towards movement marketing?

Nike, highly sensitive to the nuances of youth culture, knew this very well when they chose to honor Colin Kaepernick the iconic symbol of the modern civil rights movement. In taking this action, Nike fired up its base, reminding millions of fans why they love the brand and at the same time disenfranchised others, but grew their market cap in the process.

One thing Nike might have prepared better for was the backlash against the brand. Rather than only feature Kaepernick in their ads, they should have told those against the idea to donate their Nikes to families in need instead of burning them.

How does a brand or organization take its first steps towards movement marketing? What preparation is required behind the scenes?

Here are the proven steps that StrawberryFrog uses to define Movement Strategy:

1. What is the enemy? What is the monster you are rallying the village against? This is not your competition but the motivating factor that will inspire your people to join your cause.

2. What do you stand for? An equally powerful question to be answered. You can't only be against something you also need to become an evangelist for something.

3. Define the change you want to make. This will include the behavior you want your consumers to have in relationship to your brand, and/or the social or cultural change you want to drive. This change should be relevant to your business challenge.

4. Understand your target “people”. Why do they behave as they currently do? What is important to them – in the category and importantly, in life? Look for fundamental human insights.

5. Be purpose inspired and benefit driven. People long to be part of something bigger than them. As such, Big Ideas that are true to your brand purpose have a strong potential to become a movement. Equally, any brand movement needs to ultimately serve a benefit equity and drive share harder. (Note: the closer you get to a social movement the more explicit your purpose is likely to be in the work.)

6. Insightfully provoke a discussion. Your goal is to overcome a state of complacency. This requires you to turn a deep human (vs. product) insight into a sharp instigation that stirs your audience’s souls.