Are You Marketing or Are You Starting a Movement?

Are you marketing or are you starting a movement?

‘Marketing, it’s just about making things look pretty and fussing over colours and typefaces.’ Believe it or not, I’ve heard someone say this recently, and I’ll be honest I was surprised. I know that this is the opinion of the skills of the industry from times gone by, but I actually believed that these (simply incorrect) opinions had diminished. But it looks like us marketers still need to educate people on what our skills and goals really are.

Now I appreciate that every marketer, marketing department and organisation will have a different focus, different budgets and different methods which they find successful. But I think there is an overriding change of mentality here which should be considered. What is the goal – to simply conduct ‘some marketing’ or to create a movement towards your brand.

You’ll notice that over the last few years, across the globe but especially here in the UK, we’ve felt a movement happening. It’s been across every channel that we come into contact with whether it’s, watching a documentary on TV, hearing a news bulletin, overhearing discussions between colleagues/friends/family, seeing more ‘environmentally friendly’ branding and packaging, the list goes on.

The movement I am referencing of course, is that of climate change and the impact that humans are having on the earth including plastics. You may be thinking, why is a marketing agency writing about this, unless they want to be seen to have extra corporate social responsibility (CSR) points by covering this topic.

No, that isn’t the reason for this blog.

It was brought to my attention recently that a successful movement, such as the climate movement, has all the same ‘ingredients’ that you require for really powerful and effective marketing movement. So let’s look into that:


A strong, clear message that people want to be part of, get behind and believe in. For any marketing movement, the message needs to be truthful (we’ve all seen a car wash garage who are the best in the UK, then you drive up the road and see another, how many are there claiming to be the best) and uncomplicated (people need to remember your message to get behind it).


There are so many messages trying to capture our attention every day, how do you get a message to people that will actually get heard and make a difference? This is where authenticity makes the most impact. People are inherently less trusting in this digital age, so you need to gain peoples trust and find a way to ensure people care about the values behind a marketing movement. People put more research goes into the why before any form of engagement can begin, especially the younger generation, as they want to align themselves with brands who share their values and who they truly believe are authentic.


Putting ‘a face’ to a brand adds to your authenticity, providing it is a carefully chosen and seen as the right face. Don’t purely pick the person with the most followers, the cheapest or the one that the MD likes the most – find the champion with the most affinity who can really drive your marketing movement forward in the right way.


You’ve got your message, your champion and you’ve established your point of authenticity, now you need to get this out to the public. Deciding on the most effective delivery channels to get your message in front of people to form your following is something that can be a struggle. It all takes time and in many cases costs money which can be restricted for some brands. There are so many delivery channels available meaning it is important to conduct the right research to discover the most relevant channels to utilise for your key audience and even why they use those channels – are they listeners, are they active, do they just utilise it for research etc. Social media, videos, TV, snippets in magazines, posters, gathering protests; are all examples of delivery channels available to your brand.


The way that any brand can make a difference is by creating a strong and loyal following. If a following isn’t established, you just become another noise in an already noisy world.

As a brand your aim is to create a movement, give your followers something strong to grasp hold of, keep them aware of everything that you are doing and give them a reason to stay passionate about your brand.

Not every brand can afford to create a movement like that of the climate movement, that I know. However, what I take from this is that for marketers to really hold their ground within organisations and at the board, we need to be able to demonstrate the value that we hold. We have the ability to create a movement, with the right ingredients and the right budget, and with this in mind the skills that we bring to the table should be not only utilised but appreciated. Every brand would love to reap the benefits of starting a movement – so is it time for us to rethink how we market?

I’ll leave you with one last thought:

It is still not too late to act. It will take a far-reaching vision, it will take courage, it will take fierce, fierce determination to act now, to lay the foundations where we may not know all the details about how to shape the ceiling. In other words, it will take cathedral thinking. I ask you to please wake up and make changes required possible.” ― Greta Thunberg

Opinion piece by Head of Marketing Services, Verity Studley-Wootton.

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