Tapping Into Or Creating Movements As A Content Strategy

The rise of the Web has made it easier than ever for people of like minds and passions to organize themselves and work together toward a greater good. Movement marketing comes out of a desire by brands to join something that taps into the mutual passions of their customers and their employees. 

Some brands have been successful at creating their own movements to build affinity for the brand and forge deeper customer engagement, like Tom's Buy One Give One movement or Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty. Most others, however, tap into a movement their customers have already joined and are passionate about, such as the Avon 2-day Walks for Breast Cancer (though the website looks as if its been sprayed down with Pepto-Bismol, these walks are hugely popular).



Other brands will either create or join movements that help to offset a negative perception of their brand.  Chevron has created the We Agree campaign to get behind the movement for renewal energy solutions. Consumer packaged goods providers are getting behind anti-obesity and diabetes prevention campaigns. 

But what do these efforts have to do with a content marketing strategy? In short, a lot. 

When joining or creating a movement you create opportunities not only to create and highlight your content, but that of your customers. Everything from blog posts to videos, photos to podcasts associated with the movement and its activities can be featured in company websites, microsites, Facebook pages, newsletters, LinkedIn Groups, ad units and mobile apps. 

All of this content can and should reinforce your keyword strategies, of course, but also align with the values both your company and the movement embrace. You can improve SEO, social sharing and repeat visit metrics, and market or mind share. 

Know Your Values

Before starting or aligning with a cause, a brand must know its values and what it stands for. Moreover, it is important that brands know the values of its customers and what they typically stand for.  Creating values statements isn't a marketing exercise, either; it's a corporate exercise and must be embraced by the CEO and every single person at work in the company. Only by deeply knowing who you are as a brand and deeply understanding your customers can you hope to align successfully with something you jointly care about. 

Creating the Win-Win-Win

When embracing a cause, the goal should be to create a win for the brand, a win for the customer and a win for the issue you jointly stand for.  And your engagement with a movement has to be genuine -- the real deal. Your customers who believe in something will know immediately if your involvement is shallow or lacks commitment, and it will have been a wasted effort when all is said and done.  Go all-in or don't go at all.

Embrace a Process

When I work with clients to create or join a movement, I typically take them through a four-stage process that I'd recommend to everyone embarking on a movement marketing strategy: 

Stage One: Strategy - lay out the movement you seek to create or join, the reasons why and what the win-win-win will be. 

Stage Two: Declaration - let the world know that you've joined your customers in aligning with the cause.

Stage Three: Activation - activate your customers who are already engaged in the movement plus all those sitting on the sidelines through activities, promotions, events -- you name it.

Stage Four: Sustained Momentum - settle in for the long haul and demonstrate your commitment to the cause each and every day 

Key throughout is a measurement strategy that looks at brand engagement, movement engagement and conversion metrics that relate to the campaign. 

Obviously, there isn't enough room in this column to cover all the ideas and nuances involved with executing a movement campaign as part of an overall content marketing strategy, so leave your comments and ideas below. But if you're at a company that knows what it stands for and deeply understands what motivates your customers, consider adding a cause to your content marketing strategy.

Next week in this series: publishing technologies that lead to efficient and effective content marketing.  If you'd like me to consider including your technology, email me!

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