Social movements are normally described as large groups of individuals, with specific social or political views, hoping to carry out some type of societal change.

Although this model still holds true, today’s social movements are much more informal, fluid and dynamic than in years past. The social movement groups themselves also tend to be smaller in number, but the individuals participating are more personally and deeply involved in the cause. There are 3 stages that nearly all social movements pass through. These are:

  • Emergence
  • Coalescence
  • Bureaucratization

In Practice

At PigWorks, we concentrate on the emergence and coalescence stages of these movements. It is essential for brands to mesh reasonable early and organically into their chosen social movements. The brand should grow within the movement, not just “attach” itself to it.

Decades of mass advertising and “marketing” have inoculated many consumers, and we are seeing a trend away from traditional advertising and toward more personal experiences that allow people to be involved in those causes the truly care about. These causes are the seed of social movements.

As a creative agency, we keep a close eye on emerging trends and movements, as we feel both the consumer and the brand are, many times, better served by these movements than by traditional marketing campaigns. In order to properly develop these movements, it is necessary to:

  • Determine which social movement best aligns with the brand’s vision and values
  • Understand the role of the brand in the social movement
  • Assure the brand can envision a “higher purpose” within the movement

Many times, we need only look inside the brand itself to find the seeds for these social movements. This is why we dedicate time to working within organizations as a part of our “modus operandi”. Also, this give us the opportunity to meet those people within the company who champion their social efforts, as it vitally important to identify recognize those who are key to these movements in order to grow the movement and keep it fresh.

We also spend a great amount of time to getting to know who the customers for the product or service are, as we need to know who we will be speaking to, and how to approach them.

Personal references and word-of-mouth are still the best advertisement, and we leverage all applicable social media to engage with existing and potential customers. It’s important they are excited about the brand and willing to become advocates for it.

Several large brands are currently seeing great results from support and participation in these movements. One of the best known examples of this is Dove’s movement to improve and promote positive body image among young women through the Dove Self-Esteem Project.

This type of social or cause marketing incorporates the ideals of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, and actively engages the consumer in the company’s social work. Campaigns such as these work most effectively when they are transparently implemented between brand and customer.

The ultimate goal of movement marketing is not only to gain customers, but also to develop committed and loyal brand advocates.

Categories: Social


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