To Reach Audiences Authentically, Consider a Brand-Led Movement

In today’s crowded marketing environment, how can brands connect authentically with their audiences? According to Chris Bearg, head of strategy for Weber Shandwick Minneapolis, a brand-led movement can elevate the importance of issues critical to an organization’s success, without over-emphasizing the company’s products or services.

Creating a movement isn’t just a marketing or ad campaign, according to Chris. A movement invites people to think or do something new and take action. It moves audiences through passion for a cause. American Express and its Small Business Saturday, Patagonia’s fight to protect national monuments, and Dove’s Real Beauty campaign are examples of successful brand-led movements.

“Movements are more than fads. Successful movements become larger than the brand and endure. Over the long term, organizations benefit not just by sales growth, but by customer satisfaction, loyalty and employee retention,” he said.

Authenticity is key. Simply pushing a product may not be enough to grab and hold attention, and convert interest and sales into long-term customer loyalty. Weber Shandwick’s strategy and creative process helps clients find the right approach by holistically considering the client’s business challenges, audiences and goals to create breakthrough ideas.

The process has helped companies like 3M create meaningful new ways to reach and engage their audiences. Through the Think Skin Deeper campaign, Weber Shandwick helped 3M’s Critical and Chronic Care Solutions division develop a strategy to elevate the importance of skin, thereby elevating the importance of the products used to treat skin conditions.

“The challenge is for the brand to be committed to something larger,” Chris said. Brands need to live it through advocacy and innovation, and understand what elements of the movement they can authentically lead.