Make Your Marketing a Cultural Movement

Sometimes I think we all set our sights too low with marketing. We focus on product X or service Y, and we look for the least expensive, most efficient method of increasing sales using a set menu of marketing inputs.

But what if we could do more. Be more. In my mind, that’s the opportunity we are presented with in today’s world. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re creating/developing/selling something for or to the consumer market, you need to create a movement.  When I sit down to talk with folks about this, tables usually get rattled, because I think of the movement as the “fist pounding’ manifesto of passion you get when you say “this is important/awesome/cool/critical/etc, damn-it”

I was reminded of this yet again by a nice post on the New York Times by Nick Bilton showcasing the story of GoPro. GoPro makes nearly-indestructible cameras that daredevils and normal folk attach to anything and everything to record incredible POV-style videos. GoPro has sold three million cameras in three years, making their device the most popular video camera in the country.

Now, in the end, the product is a camera (and mounting hardware). Nothing too special there, right? Not so quick. The company made an excellent product that made it possible for people to document their lives in a way not previously possible.

What happened next was astounding: people started to develop a relationship with GoPro.

“One of the magical things that started happening with the company was our customers felt compelled to give us credit in their photos and videos,” Mr. Woodman said. “People would upload videos to YouTube saying, ‘Me and my GoPro going sky diving.’ You certainly don’t see people uploading videos that say, ‘Check out my Sony Cyber-shot ski vacation.’ ”

The movement here wasn’t about the camera’s precision or megapixel count…it was about the person.

GoPro was smart enough to foster an entire culture of engagement and content around their customers and the crazy things they did while pressing record.

GoPro: Be a Hero. That is a tagline and a brand promise that is simple, compelling and evocative. And they smartly integrated this with their product branding.

You can see it all come together in their launch video for their latest product: the Hero 3.

This isn’t just about a camera – this is about the person. The hero. It’s about you.

This is marketing-as-culture. Red Bull does it as well, as do many other brands. But this type of engagement doesn’t need to be strictly in the domain of the extreme sports world. As far as I’m concerned, any product or service with a movement can make this work. It takes passion, clarity and commitment. And a sense of purpose.

So let’s go out and make it happen.

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