Moving from Movement Marketing

People are lazy.

Everyday, I try to tell myself that isn’t true (and in a lot of cases it isn’t).  But taken in aggregate, the odds are stacked towards the lazy.

People also don’t have a very long attention span.  Whether that is our fault to begin with or we’ve been trained that way with 140 character tweets, text messages, half-second video cuts in shows, sound bites and every “nugget” of information sent our way, it’s become the norm.  In advertising (or any content marketing, really), the name of the game is “short and impactful.”  Don’t make it too long, you’ll lose their attention.  Grab their attention in the first few seconds, hold it for another 10 or so and then give them the call to action before they zone out.

Oh, and make that call to action as easy as possible because…. well…. people are lazy.  They’ll click on a multiple-choice poll on Facebook before they’ll make an short video and submit it to your video submission contest.  True story.

Another case in point….I’ve likely lost half my readers already by this point in the post.

Movement marketing was something I (and we as an industry) really grasped on to because it had some powerful cultural examples throughout the world, and it made us all believe in the audience again.  It made us believe that they didn’t have the “attention span of a knat,” that they stood for something….that they were more than a target audience to be quickly carpet-bombed and then hurriedly rushed into the quick call to action.

But anyone that has done movement marketing will tell you one thing…it’s hard.  It’s hard because it is very difficult to sustain engagement in one thing for more than a week or so.  Hell, it’s tough to maintain engagement for more than a few hours sometimes.

However, that’s not to say the pundits are right and that the only way to motivate people is 20 seconds at a time with “impactful” visuals and messaging.  I’ve struggled to find something that is short enough to maintain attention, but has the lasting effects of a larger campaign like we’ve created with larger “movements.”

Extraordinary Moments

Reputation is a powerful thing.  It’s where “true” branding is really fought and won.  And aside from a few people whose reputation is defined by consistency over time, reputations are typically created by a series of memorable events (or moments) that defined their true personality.  These individual instances that go beyond the ordinary (extraordinary) stand out and begin to define who a person or company really is.

Think back to high school or college.  The true personalities that really stick out are typically people that did things that went above the norm.  Whether that was sports achievements, crazy parties, “that one time he did that one thing,” etc.

And it works for companies too.  Nordstrom’s is famous for customer service.  If you ask anybody why that is, they’ll tell you “they once took back a set of snow tires from a woman without hassling her at all even though they clearly don’t sell tires.”  One event, one moment, and a legend of customer service is born.

Oreo is touted as one of the great content marketers and “news-jackers.”  Why?  Because they tweeted during the power outage in the Super Bowl that you can still dunk an Oreo cookie in the dark.  That one tweet did more for their reputation than any 30-second spot they’ve aired.

And that’s not to say it’s a “one and done” approach either.  Apple’s reputation of innovation stretches from one ground-breaking product to the next…. “oh and one more thing…”  (one more moment).  Our work with H&R Block is the same.  Their reputation was a “stodgy tax place my dad went to.”  They wanted to change it.  And we’ve done things from marching on Washington for tax breaks for Mustached Americans to engaging the public to solve the hipster tax crisis as hordes of hipsters felt paying taxes was too mainstream and thus were failing to file accurate tax returns.  Each time, the media picked it up and commented that these acts were showing that H&R Block was no longer “that stodgy tax place your dad went to do taxes.”  These extraordinary moments began to change and shape their reputation.

And therein lies the solution.  Create extraordinary moments that: a) go above the norm and clutter of everyday message bombardment and b) pass the litmus test of “does this enhance or change our reputation for the better?”

Dollar Shave Club went from obscurity to national brand name with one video.  Comcast changed the face of customer service with a series of extraordinary customer service moments in a channel that hadn’t been used before (social media).  Of course, one phone call can go viral and destroy all that too.

Whether you call them extraordinary experiences, moments, events, or otherwise, they all do one thing.  They form the opinion of your brand in the customer’s mind quicker and with more longevity than the majority of the day-to-day marketing tactics that fill more than 90% of marketing plans today.

For our clients, we’ve been building these moments for over 5 years.  From concerts to tax legislation, from customer service to online/offline scavenger hunts.  Every moment, every touch point, every “flashpoint” is built, crafted and tested to create, build, and/or change the reputation of our clients in the minds of their customers.

And we can do it within the confines of any level of laziness or attention span for results that last longer than that last tweet you just sent.

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