Meet your consumers: a thriving, well-connected, opinionated network of people. This well-connected network of consumers has given birth to many movements, some small and some that are on their way to changing the world.
A brand’s primary job today, is to create meaning. It needs to find that little part of their consumer’s life where it can add value and make a difference.
Creating meaning for these well-connected consumers therefore, means participating in the movements that are shaping their world. And in some cases, hopefully, even leading the movements that will shape their tomorrow.
It’s perhaps easy to be tempted to be the hitchhiker, simply latching on to a ‘popular’ movement but failing to create meaning through the brand. It’s important to realize that not every movement is meant for every brand. The brand must know what meaning it is capable of creating for its consumers and drive that meaning to a movement for change. The well-connect opinionated consumer of today will mince no words when tearing you to shreds and denouncing you for the con artist he/she thinks you are.
The brand must believe, before its consumer does.
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The people behind the brand, the parent company, the founders, the young people manning the Twitter and Facebook accounts, they all must believe. They must all see themselves as contributors to the movement. They must have the expertise and the resources to create the change they’re promising. So in effect, the movement must come from them. As opposed to a communication campaign that can just as easily come from any agency.
A movement isn’t an advertising campaign. It’s a way to collect and arm your network to work towards a common goal. And you can’t do it, unless you believe in it just as much. Which is why Mahindras can lead the ‘rise’ movement but perhaps not all Indian companies can. Something about the history of the company, its people, its ethos and most importantly Anand Mahindra, gives birth to the movement. It is therefore a credible movement that cannot be easily replicated by another brand.
A true movement can only be owned when the brand, the company it’s from and the people who’ve built it can reflect that and commit to it.
Every movement might have its takers among the public, but every brand must find the one that it comes from its heart.