Can Brand “Movements” Really Go Anywhere?

We all know that there are some agencies, marketing gurus, and other folks who are pushing the idea of creating “movements” around brands. I’ve been very curious about the philosophy surrounding this for some time.
Now, getting people to participate in any sort of movement is rare, and requires to some extent time and dedication. And whether you like him as a candidate or President or not, Barack Obama inspired hundreds of thousands of people to volunteer their time, and in some cases, dedicate their lives, to a movement to get him elected and begin a new era in government.
Dan Beckmann was one of those people. He worked in Obama’s campaign headquarters in the New Media department. And in a fascinating Huffington Post article, he looks at his role in the movement, and what happened to the movement when Obama did get elected.

There were some ad hoc meetings, where different groups tried to figure out how to keep the momentum alive on with ideas ranging from regular e-town hall meetings to house parties centered around educating people on different types of legislation — to at least keep up a status quo, but not much came from them because who was in charge ? This was the first time a lot of other people started to know something was wrong, but since so many were still trying hard to be a part of the movement or the government no one felt comfortable saying anything out loud. In what really appeared to be a power vacuum, there was no strong voice who spoke out about what was happening to the most active members in our movement — most likely because we were all unemployed and thought someone might be on it.

I’ll probably write more on this on Talent Zoo or at some other point. But it got me wondering, and I’d love to know your thoughts: If something like a political movement as passionate as Obama’s can’t be sustained, what hope is there for movements involving brands, which are less tangible and involve less commitment from people? What’s the goal–or endgame, if you will–of a movement designed around a brand or idea? Can people truly believe in a brand (and by extension, the company behind it) if they have such difficulty believing in anything these days?



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.