Think of any founder you’re impressed by. When they talk about their company, they talk about way more than profits and projections, they talk about the movement their company is a part of. Telling the story of a movement is its own form of marketing. We see it when Elon Musk talks about fossil fuels as the enemy and gives public congratulations to new competitors when they enter the electric vehicle market. This is brand building on a whole other scale.
David Sacks calls it “Movement Marketing,” but more often we’ll hear it referred to as “earned marketing.” Think of brand recognition that is earned over time versus a direct mail campaign that’s built to drive transactions. Movement Marketing seeks to focus people’s attention on a bigger question with actions as answers.
Using Musk again, instead of “look a cool new car,” it’s some version of “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy… with electric cool new cars that are more fun than gas cars.” Say what you will about Musk and the company itself, the movement is real.
Sacks sat down with marketing extraordinaire Christopher Lochhead and discussed Movement Marketing in detail. This is Lochhead’s home turf as the Godfather father of “category design,” or the way companies present a problem their category solves, with the key point being the category is bigger than the company itself. Sacks gives Lochhead plenty of credit here too.
Sacks post (“Your Startup Is a Movement”) and this interview could have been a book, there’s so much good content here. Read Sack’s blog post and give this podcast a listen. Do it as a pair. If you find yourself needing or wanting more, do check out Lochhead’s book Play Bigger which goes much deeper into category design with case studies. I also wrote about how brands should do the things today they want to be known for tomorrow – and you can read that here.