Start A Movement! — An Entrepreneurs Business Guide To Getting Noticed

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Start a movement! People love a cause


They love to jump on board. Flower Power in the 60s.   Women’s lib in the 70s. Nancy Reagans Just Say No anti-drug campaign in the 80s. Hillarys It Takes a Village.   The low carb thing. If you start the movement, you can be at the forefront of that movement. Not a bad place for a star.It’s scary how powerful this technique is. Sadly, its used as often for evil as it is for good. But if you can harness this power, you’ll be amazed at the results.    

If you had come up with a natural lawn care product years ago, you could have been at the forefront of an anti-pesticide movement. The late activist, Anita Roddick, used this strategy to build The Body Shop, committing to social and environmental change. Making a movement doesn’t have to be your idea.   You just have to be the one to take it public.

Over a decade ago, a Canadian provincial party swept into power by announcing the Common Sense Revolution. Didn’t like the guy or the party, but the marketing rocked. Totally worked. We know what you’re thinking, I don’t want to be a politician.   I just want to promote my business. Starting a movement doesn’t have to be big or political. It’s not the subject of the movement that makes it work, but rather the passion and energy behind it. So How Do You Start a Movement?

Don’t be standing on a street corner with a clipboard or petition.   Write a manifesto. Have a credo, a mantra. The more outrageous it is, the more chance it’ll work. The more you’ll stand out from the crowd. We’re not talking corporate mission statement here. Get some publicity for your movement. The more provocative you are, the more controversial, the more free ink you’ll get.   And have stuff.

Your stuff will become a symbol of the ideas behind that movement. (Reminds me of the sandal in Monty Pythons Life of Brian) Your symbol can become a potential source of income. But don’t make the mistake of cashing in your chips too soon. Your followers will be more valuable to you down the line if you don’t try to sell to them yet. Just focus on building the following, building momentum, building the fan base. [rml_read_more] If you continue to build it, eventually people will beg you to sell to them because they’ll want some of what you’ve got. We’re not just talking’in the Pepsi Generation here.

A movement goes a step further. If you give people a place to belong, a place to feel like they matter, like they’re making a difference, you’ll build your platform. Eventually, they’ll not only ask to buy stuff from you, they’ll actually volunteer to help you distribute it to others.   So how do you apply this to your business? Heres a perfect example.

The story of the ’red’ I Am Loved button, about 40 years ago in Kansas City. Barnett Helzberg Jr., of Helzberg Diamonds, had just had his marriage proposal accepted. The guy was ecstatic. He was loved and wanted the world to know it. So he produced these little red buttons with the words, I Am Loved, printed in white.   The idea spread like wildfire, buttons were given to presidents, celebrities and soldiers in Vietnam. 44 million buttons later, you can still order yourself a button in any of 9 languages.

The buttons were, and still are, free, but they did put Helzberg Diamonds on the map. Doesn’t always work.   Don’t think Special K broke any sales records with their Do I Look Fat? commercials remember the ones with the men asking the dumb questions women always ask? But Doves making out OK. Check out Doves new Pro-Age, a clever reaction to women’s anti-aging products. How about their Campaign for Real Beauty? A lot of women are jumping on the bandwagon. Dove is selling self-esteem by featuring women in their underwear accepting their non-Barbie doll bodies.  

Kinda almost makes you forget that Unilever also sells Slim Fast with young women in bikinis. Worth a try. Build a platform. Create a movement. Be a rebel with a cause. And we’ll see you in the spotlight!

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