Scott Goodson. Movement Maker. Today at the start of the Cannes Lions 2017 festival of creativity, Scott Goodson about how to create a movement, why caring is cool and why movements are a brands best friend. Scott talks about how Movement is the evolution of advertising, purpose branding, and traditional marketing. Movements activate purpose inside and outside organizations. Scott brought the idea of movement marketing and cultural movement to the world. He is the author of the best selling book Uprising. Enjoy and please let us know if you have ideas for future shows. For more ideas on Uprising and movements, cultural movements and movement marketing, follow Uprising!!! on Facebook. We’ll continue to publish brand-new columns on a regular basis. Hey, do us a favor and please give Uprising!!! a review on iTunes. Scott Goodson is the author of best-selling book ‘Uprising: how to build a brand and change the world by sparking cultural movements,’ available on Amazon.com. Scott has helped create and build some of the world’s most iconic brands. He is founder of StrawberryFrog the world’s first movement marketing agency.
Uprising Interview transcript
TEASE: There’s so much noise out there and so much fight for our attention. People really want to find an idea that inspires them. If that idea comes from a brand or an organization or an individual, it might just kind of stop you in your tracks. You might be able to crystallize how you feel and probably–once it does that–probably will get you to do something, activate you. Think of a movement as a force.
INTRO: Welcome to Uprising. Each episode looks at what it takes to make the most dynamic and successful and cultural movements. Some of them in the business world, some in the social realm, some in politics, and some in between to see why people start uprisings. What gives those initiatives momentum and keeps them going and most important what lessons can you learn from these movements and how it apply them to your business and even personal life. Let’s explore the secret to sparking movements that move people into action.
Passionate ideas, controversial ideas, uprising ideas. The power is now in the hands of anyone to start a cultural movement.
SCOTT: Hi, Welcome to the Uprising podcast. This week I am going to interview myself. I have been asked from a number of callers and emailers and listeners of the Uprising podcast to talk a little about what cultural movement is. Why are movements relevant? Why a movement in 2017 makes a lot of sense for companies wishing to transform their culture, to change the culture inside their organizations and also for companies and organizations that want to move people to move their products and grow businesses. I thought I’d spend a few minutes just riffing here about the idea of movements and the times we’re living in.
Welcome to the age of movements. I’ve been banging on about movements for about 20 years now, ever since I’ve worked in marketing and advertising in Sweden. I started my career there in Stockholm, working with a lot of Swedish multinationals. They were brands that really didn’t believe in a kind of pushing, hard-selling products on consumers. On the contrary, they thought the key to success was to create likeability; moreover, they felt that they wanted to make the world a little bit better by trying to solve some of the bigger issues facing the world. When they set out to sell their products around the world from Stockholm, they started to build brands, of course, but they built brand purposes. Deeper than that: They created a philosophy. The philosophy made a lot of sense to people all over the world.
For example, I worked with Ikea for a long time. Ikea is a company set out to democratize style–probably the first brand to do so. It was almost like a movement. They went around the world with this idea that not only the rich deserve beautiful furniture, but everyone did. Think back to other Swedish brands like Volvo, they were about selling well-made cars, of course. But, they were really about wellness and safety and bigger more relevant ideas than just the product.
From that experience, I kind of digested all that. As I worked around the world on different brands that were from Sweden, I realized there was a real opportunity to develop purpose-base brands, which I did for many years. I thought, well, the purpose is great. It’s the expression of mission, but it takes it one step further. It puts the mission in the context of the consumer’s benefit. In the case of Pampers, it’s less about creating a poop catcher and more–when you look at their purpose–about baby development. That’s really a wonderful guiding light for engineers inside Procter & Gamble when they’re devising the next diaper. It shouldn’t be designed just to catch poop. It should be designed to make the baby more agile and create more freedom, movement. That stimulates the brain and the leads to baby development.
Marketers, branding people, agencies have been talking about brand purpose forever. I like to point out that brand purpose is in service of the brand, the company, and the product. Whereas a movement connects with people and is in service with what matters to them. In the case of movement marketing, company and/or product gets to come along for the ride and enjoy greater affinity. Traditional advertising is too limited. The thing about purposes is that it often comes out in these clunky lines that work internally. They don’t necessarily connect with the heart and the soul and the passion of those billing the product and with the consumers who are buying the product. That’s where my philosophies of movement is relevant.
One whole holistic idea that inspires people within the company, sort of the activation of purpose within the organization. Externally, it engages with people based on what they care about, what matters to them. That’s the basic idea around movements.
If you look at the world today, we really do live in the age of movements. This is the age where people are voting for ideas that they feel passionate about. These movements are bringing to power politicians. They’re bringing to power companies from scratch that has strong stands for or against something. Movements are everywhere. It’s partially because technology has put phones that are so powerful in everyone’s pocket. Everyone is able to connect. Ideas spread like wildfire. But also, there’s so much noise out there’s so much noise out there and so much fight for our attention. People really want to find an idea that inspires them. If that idea comes from a brand or an organization or an individual, it might just kind of stop you in your tracks. You might be able to crystallize how you feel and probably–once it does that–probably will get you to do something, activate you. Think of a movement as a force. A powerful force. It’s like Star Wars. The force: it could be used for good and it could be used for evil. Evil for a brand is being complacent to the world around them in this day and age. It’s like sticking your hand in the sand and thinking that you can avoid the world around you. The problem with that is you become irrelevant in a revolutionary world.
What will you do with the force? That’s what a movement is all about.
Welcome to the age of movements. A bit about my background: I wrote a book called Uprising. It was a book which was intended to put on paper this whole idea of what a movement is and how you build a movement and look at 50 brands organizations and companies that are building movements. I run a company called Strawberry Frog, which is a tight group of–it’s almost like a cult–but it’s a tight group of cultural engineers and strategist and designers and creators. They’re movement makers. That’s what we do. We create movements.
The reality is that movements can change the world. That’s what movements do. They get people to do something. More often than not, it can lead to a better world. That’s important because fundamentally it’s in the interest of business to solve some of the bigger issues we face in society. Creating a meaningful difference inside the organization and outside the organization is very powerful in driving sales. The ultimate goal in addition to creating likeability–I like this brand, therefore, I want to spend more time with it, I want to buy it, is where our consumer is today–but in addition to that, I believe organizations and companies…it’s beneficial to them to solve the bigger challenges that we face in the world. It makes sense. If people live longer, they live in better environments and they make more money, then they will be able to buy more stuff. If they buy more stuff, companies do better, economies do better, and societies do better. We all gain. It’s a huge cycle that has a positive result at the end of the day. Movements can change the world. We can certainly talk a lot about that if you wish at some point.
The first point about a movement is that you have to find what you stand for and stand for it. That’s the fundamental starting point with a movement. If you think about it, it’s very hard to lead a movement whether it’s a social movement or it’s a movement that will bring about change, it’s a noble movement, or even something small about trying to move product. You have to stand for something. You can’t act like an ostrich and put your head in the sand and just let the world move beyond you. You’re going to become irrelevant in a revolutionary world. Obviously, companies need to do this. They need to be reassured that movements move people to move product. But, more than selling, you can sell and change the world. You can sell and activate people. You can sell and motivate bigger engagement. The world is in a revolution right now. Technology, change, volatility. Everything is happening so quickly. You really need to engage with that world.
The way you do that is by putting a runner in the water and having a point of view. I stand for this. I believe that there’s a wrong that needs to be righted. I champion these ideas. That’s what people want to hear today. That’s what’s going to inspire them to get behind you. I want to repeat. Companies could use a movement inside to transform their employees into people who care about things that the company considers to be important. It could be health, it could be progress, it could be performance related. Whatever it is, movements can help move people to do great things. Empower them and inspire them.
Externally, movements can define and activate purpose. A lot of companies have talked about purpose lately. But, purpose, as I mentioned earlier, has limitations. Outside the company, a movement is the activation of purpose and it moves people to make a product and take action. Case in point is a wonderful organization that we had the privilege of working with called SunTrust. We work closely together with a number of people to come up with a movement for that organization called On Up. On Up is the evolution of their purpose. That movement is about betterment, confidence, and helping people move from financial stress to financial confidence. I think we can all see we are living in a time where our greatest challenge is financial insecurity no matter how much money you have. People are burdened by the stress caused by money. There are things that can be done to help people move to confidence. They are ideas. There are financial tips, budgeting, and financial literacy programs and tools that can help mothers and fathers and families understand finance better. If you go to OnUp.com, you can join that movement and see you almost 2 million people are participating in this nationwide movement.
The starting point of a movement is a brand-billing idea with cultural relevance beyond the product category. That’s the cultural side of it. We talk about a cultural movement; that is the cultural side. The movement side is involving the employees and activating consumers, not broadcasting to them. That’s the movement part. We want them to do something. We want that “can-do” spirit. We want them to participate. We want them to go out and do something and change behavior.
What can a movement be? I was asked once by Procter & Gamble to give an example of what a movement could be. I used the example of Mr. Clean. Mr. Clean is a great brand. It’s been around for a long time. It is an iconic cleaning brand. It features a bald headed gentleman in a white body, hugging a tire with a big golden earring. The question is how can that brand become relevant to 2017 to a new millennial culture. Traditional advertising would make him kind of…I don’t know…he would clean in a more innovative way. Perhaps he cleans in a way that makes him out to be a superhero. I think that was a bit of the attempt the marketing team did at last year’s Super Bowl, where they updated the character where we saw him in a state-of-the-art, CGI television commercial. If you think about Mr. Clean in a broader context, how could it become a movement? Is it possible that that character could spark a movement? Or that the idea of Mr. Clean could spark a movement? I think it could. Here’s the way I would tackle it. Mr. Clean is the leader of the cleaning space, but instead of looking at the product and starting with the benefit, I would like to instead start with what’s going on in consumer culture, what is happening in our world. I think there are three or four things out there that are super interesting. Number one, consumers today are very open to DIY culture–the idea of doing it yourself. Home Depot has really done a great job of DIY-ed our fingertips to help us move quickly and find products that we can go home and do it ourselves. There’s a lot of entertainment programs about doing it yourself. The second thing I find really interesting is that I am a parent and I find it incredibly frustrating when my kids are on their phones. They are on their phones all the time. These phones suck them into this vortex where I kind of lost touch with them. I think a lot of parents feel the same way. It’s incredibly frustrating and saddening to see my kids sucked into this world. I wish I had a more intimate relationship outside of technology. Next, the economy has made it difficult for families to have maids or it’s just become harder to have help cleaning up the house. The next thing is that the culture today is that young people don’t know how to clean. They don’t know what a broom is. The world has become this weird face where kids are involved in entertainment all the time. They lost sort of the basics of how you clean your house. I think Mr. Clean being the leading brand in the cleaning space could create a gamification movement that rewards families to get together and do a DIY cleaning interaction with parents and children that gets them off their phones, that brings parents and children together, that teach students how to broom, how to mop, and be part of taking care of themselves and the house. I think that could be a movement that I think people would embrace. It would be fun, it would be helpful and it would be emotionally important for all participants. And, it would be rewarding. I don’t expect Mr. Clean to give me a call tomorrow and say, “Hey! That’s a great idea. Let’s do a movement.” I wanted to use that as an example where an advertising campaign could be and what a movement could represent.
A movement is a brand’s best friend. What can movements do? We’ve been doing movements for 20 years. What can a movement do? It brutally grows business. One case in point is Sabra. We helped launch the Sabra brand from scratch. Sabra was the fourth brand in the Hummus market. The big leaders in the market were Nestle Tribe and Kraft Athenos. Both of them had over 30 percent share. There was the oldest original brand on the market called Cedars, which had over 12 percent share. Then there was this new brand that came into the market. Those three brands in the market controlled eight percent of the American food market, which was dubbed as foodies–people who were interested in fresh, organic tomatoes and people who shop at Whole Foods and people who are really into foods. Those eight percent of Americans, that was the target that these leading brands focused on. We said we can create a movement in that segment, but it’s pretty limited. If we are really, really good, how much share can we get? Maybe 10, maybe 15 percent as the fourth brand. Instead, we looked at the broader picture. We said, instead of going after the foodies, we are going to go after the 92 percent of Americans who eat spray cheese. Those Americans who eat Chinese food all the time or love ranch dressing. Those 92 percent of Americans represent an amazing pathway to enormous growth. That was the audience we focused on. Our movement was a food intervention movement. We wanted to create the greatest food intervention to get people off spray cheese. As a result, Sabra grew. We launched the brand in Queens and the East Coast. Instead of going to LA or the Hamptons and other foodie places, we went to Pittsburg and then we went to Cincinnati and Cleveland and Seattle. The brand started to grow and grow and grow. Today the brand is over 60 percent share. Tribe is less than five. Athenos, well, I don’t even think they sell hummus anymore. That’s the power of a movement. That’s the brutally strong growth I talked about. When we do movement, it’s also about taking a stab and building a community, telling stories, aligning with Gen Z and Millennial culture and creating emotional experiences that resonate.
What’s the difference between movements and advertising? Movements are sustainable. Advertising is finite cycles. Movements are rooted in passion. Advertising is rooted in product. Movements are multi-platform. A movement could be expressed in an event, it could be expressed as a film, it could be expressed as a digital experience, it could be expressed as something on your phone, it could be expressed in a speech. Advertising uses traditional media. Movements create conversations and stimulate debate. Advertising is all about talking about yourself. This great company of ours. Movements inspire behavior. Advertising influences behavior. Movements are open ended. Today, people talk about having a huge funnel, bringing in lots of people–no matter if they are the right customers or the wrong customers. Just bring them in. Advertising always talks about a specific target group and being super exclusive. There is a really good comparison of movements and traditional advertising.
Today companies and brands do not exist outside the real world. Just think about it. These are ideas that align with culture and are shaped by human experiences and societal shifts. Why, for example, are women across this country, moms across this country today embracing yoga culture? It wasn’t an ad campaign. It was something that shifted in society that made it not only accessible to moms, but permission. It became socially permissible to have moms doing yoga and buying yoga wear. That market has exploded. That’s an example of a movement. Understanding how a brand’s purpose or benefit fits within the cultural landscape is a critical first step in identifying opportunity. Modern brands in invest in understanding modern ideas on the rise in culture, connecting the dots between culture, company purchase and the benefit.
For years, I’ve studied movements and developed movement strategies for brands. There are two types of movements identified. First, mass participation where a movement idea is embraced by pop culture. Second, social change movement where your idea really does change society or culture. Both are really powerful ways of amplifying your idea, your stand. There are a couple of steps that are very important in order to get your movement out there. The first thing that you need to do is you really need to define the change you want to make in the world. You really need to understand how that change connects back to your brand benefit or your brand purpose, otherwise, it’s totally irrelevant. You need to also understand your target people; what matters in their lives. What really gets under their skin, what do they care about? You also need to be purpose inspired and benefit driven. You need to connect to those things. You should provoke some kind of reaction. Your goal is to break through the walls and the difference. People don’t care. There’s so much noise out there. You need to provoke a discussion in order to get a reaction. Reaction, relation. First, need to get the reaction in order to get the relation. You should create your own type of language. If you go back to the SunTrust example, when I wrote the line On Up, it was a way of communicating an idea of progress and betterment in our own word. It was created by mixing onward and upward together. We have our own term, On Up, which has been used in a lot of interesting ways. The partner agency we work with has done a great job to expand that in so many wonderful ways. You need to influence the influencers in a movement and get your content to the most passionate fanbase so that they can spread it further and then amplify it in a much larger way. Finally, you need to be super clear what you’re asking your fans to do. What must they do to be part of this great movement?
We aren’t in the business of advertising. We are in the business of movements. We are movement makers. This is less about a call to action. This is about a call to arms. Those are some tips and inspiration for you as you think about movements. I hope this has been helpful and if you have any questions, I would be delighted to answer them. Thank you for joining the Uprising podcast today.