The idea of starting a movement with your brand at the center takes the basis that as a business you will be transforming social norms, customs, or ideas and selling your product in the process. Take, for example, America’s Next Top Model, a cheesy reality show based on a modeling competition.
America’s Next Top Model was marketed as much more than a modeling competition or a reality show, it looked to really challenge the standards of commercial modeling and beauty in general by including unconventional models in the competition. Over the years, the show featured everything from plus-size models to hearing-impaired models to a model with vitiligo. Many of the “unconventional” models became very famous and successful beyond the show proving that the show was successful in transforming social and industry standards. As a result, ANTM is currently airing its 24th season with no signs of retiring any time soon.
If your brand is the center of a movement, your customer base will be engaged with the beliefs of the movement and therefore as a result with your brand. Ben & Jerry’s, for example, has an almost cult-like following. The brand has a 3-part mission statement: “to make the world’s best ice cream, to run a financially successful company, and to make the world a better place”. While much of the engagement with the brand comes from the quality of their ice cream, another large part comes from the third part of their mission which is to make the world a better place. Through the years, Ben & Jerry’s has committed to seeking social change for issues ranging from Black Lives Matter to Climate Change through the launch of limited-edition flavors, catchy slogans, and education of the public.
We currently live in an era where consumers no longer want to be “sold to”. Consumers want to purchase products because they feel good about the brands, they feel like they need the products, or because they support the issues around the brands. Consumers are more educated than ever and rely on second-hand information about a product more than ever to make a purchase decision. This second-hand information can come from an influencer, organic word of mouth, or a review board. The rise in popularity of second-hand information comes from the need to seek the truth and not be manipulated by the messages controlled by the brand.
In reality, much of the second-hand information still comes directly from the brand but feels more organic. Taking that same concept, building a movement centered around your brand will allow the purchasing of your product to become a consequence of supporting the cause and not a consequence of your branding efforts. Take the honest company, for example, it offers natural baby and beauty products. As a mom, you are likely to feel good providing your baby with natural products free of harsh chemicals and you do not see your purchase as a product of branding but as a product of wanting to provide a higher quality lifestyle for your baby.