Move Over for Movement Marketing

Nicole Rosenfield
Nicole Rosenfield
Assistant Account Executive

Like a fine wine, advertising has only become better with age. Now, there is more media and platforms for your brand to feature their product or service. Through the power of advertising we can now also change how people view key issues. With the political state of the country seeing radical changes in the past two to three years which have polarized the nation, advertising has started taking on the battle of activism.This activism in advertising is called movement marketing.

Movement marketing describes a brand that identifies with a movement that is on the rise. Companies are finding a platform and driving their brands through the idea that they can promote their product behind a cause. Nike’s controversial ad featuring Colin Kaepernick in their Just Do It 30th anniversary campaign takes a look at how taking a stance is not always easy. While there are many critics of this campaign, including some universities that have cut ties with the brand, Nike did increase their online sales by 31 percent in one week following the launch of the campaign. This campaign also garnered a lot of attention online and increased engagement on their social media platforms by over 1,000 percent and generated over 150 million in earned media impressions. Another great example would be 84 Lumber taking on the issue of immigration. Their commercial during the Super Bowl LI was a powerful display of empathy that supports the ideals that the United States is a country of opportunity.These campaigns were well thought out and gained a more overall positive response from viewers.

While these companies were able to speak about these issues in a well crafted way that helps their viewer empathize with these causes, there are some brands whose campaigns have brought them negative attention. PepsiCo’s tone deaf commercial on racial issues is a key example of what a company should not do when directly associating themselves with a cause. The food and beverage corporation’s hope was to create a message of unity and peace, but their commercial clearly missed the mark, and many felt that they were trivializing the issues of race and police brutality. While PepsiCo did apologize for their mistake, the damage had already been done, and the brand is forever associated with the flopped commercial. Whether or not your brand decides to stand for a cause, it is always important to remember that once your work is out there, there is no way to take it back. Your brand must be prepared for all possible outcomes.

The world of advertising is creative and inspirational. It is meant to make you think longer than beyond the thirty seconds that a commercial airs on television, or the six  seconds that you look at a billboard.Controversial issues like these add another dynamic layer for the consumer to ponder over. It’s always good to keep in mind that no matter what you will receive some negative attention. Not everyone will always take your stance on the issue and you must be prepared for this. Make sure you are one step ahead by hiring a public relations consultant. You must also be absolutely sure that movement marketing is the right choice as a next step in your business. If you are unsure, here are some questions you can ask yourself when considering if movement marketing is right for your brand:

  1. What are your company’s brand values?

  2. Is this issue relevant to what we currently stand for?

  3. What side of the issue do we want to be on?

  4. What are your goals for this campaign?

These are just a few questions that you should consider to get you started. There are many other challenges to take on during this process to have a continued positive brand standing. Consider taking on outside consulting to ensure that your brand comes out on top. How do you view movement marketing? Is something that your company has taken on? Leave a comment in the section below and let us know how you stand.

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