Constantly Trying to Drive Positive Change
In This Podcast
- The strong appeal of purpose
- Building strategies from empathy
- What sparks movements
- Why advertising has become obsolete
- Movement marketing vs corporate culture
- Being an anthropologist will benefit your business
- Authenticity vs greenwashing
- More optimism is needed
Scott Goodson is the author of Uprising: How to Build a Brand and Change the World By Sparking Cultural Movements, the founder of creative agency StrawberryFrog and the person who brought movement marketing to the world. His groundbreaking work involves award-winning movement campaigns and innovative communications for some of the world’s most iconic brands. Today he talks about the strong appeal of purpose, empathy-based marketing, the immeasurable power of movements, why advertising has become obsolete, a response to corporate culture, why being an anthropologist will help your business, authenticity vs greenwashing, and the strange power of confidence.
The strong appeal of purpose
Scott grew up in Canada and moved to Sweden in the mid-’80s, where he started working as a copywriter. He was amazed by the lack of limitations that Swedes seemed to manifest, and by the fact that they consider themselves as global citizens.
When a Swedish company has to decide on their long-term strategy, they think globally. It was an amazing, new perspective to Scott and the progressive Swedish society gave him the idea of creating something similar for himself.
Since Swedish customers expect a lot more from their brands, brands had to adapt and they started to talk a lot about purpose. Scott soon realized that people engage with purpose much deeper than they do with just a cool product.
His experience in Sweden inspired him to start his own agency, StrawberryFrog, based on purpose and aiming at an unlimited global market.
StrawberryFrog is anything but your ordinary advertising agency, they are based on movements and building strategies from empathy and culture. They focus on innovations and do a lot of unconventional media.
The immeasurable power of movements
Nowadays there is a huge movement in the world for true equality and inclusiveness. The old, patriarchal world order is quickly breaking down, and this massive shift is reshaping our society, global businesses and consumers alike. It’s an idea whose time has finally arrived.
What is it that sparks movements? To Scott, it’s all about authentic ideas that people really care about. In this day and age, employees don’t like being told what to do, they don’t respond well to that. Young, bright people will tend to avoid traditional companies and go for disruptive ones that are reshaping their sector.
Many sectors that were unmovable for decades, like finance, insurance, or retail, are finally being disrupted. Everything is turned upside down, and companies need to adapt to the new, colossal changes.
Understanding and empathising with your customers
If you want to hire the best talent or make sure your employees don’t go somewhere else, you need to be able to engage them in a meaningful way. Movements reshape organizations and are way more powerful than mandates.
Understanding your customers is critical. When you engage with them, it’s important to identify what they are truly passionate about, and keep that in mind when you’re reaching out to them.
The old way of doing advertising was to start with a product and then try to come up with a creative way to advertise it. It’s not about that anymore, because advertising has become obsolete. People don’t even notice it anymore, whereas in the old days they used to actually talk about ads they loved.
Movement focuses on empathy, rather than on product. You start by asking yourself,
“What is in the mind of my consumer?”
You have the power to disrupt your sector if you’re a business that’s able to build a vibrant community made of people who are passionate about what your brand stands for.
Movement marketing vs corporate culture
All this sounds pretty good and logical, so why is it that companies don’t use more movement marketing? Because it’s the antithesis of corporate culture. Most corporations are focused on operative excellence and efficiency, which they get rewarded for. They seldom get rewarded for playing a noble role in society.
However, if you stop and think about it, it’s in the best interest of both society and corporations to actually try and improve the quality of life of people. If people have a better quality of life, they live longer, and they buy more things.
Movements can be a force for either good or evil (see Cambridge Analytica). They emanate from ideas, but they are grounded in action. It’s no longer just about influencing people, but about creating behavior.
It’s time to be a bit of an anthropologist
The key to staying relevant as a company, in Scott’s opinion, is sticking to your values. It’s about being open, being flexible, doing more with less. That’s what the world is moving towards. You have to lean into issues that are relevant, and be genuine.
Nowadays, advertising is about authenticity, transparency, and relevance. Not every company is prepared to align to that, and some of them unfortunately prefer to hide behind greenwashing. It’s not a good long-term strategy though, because today everything comes out eventually.
A good long-term formula for businesses is understanding the shifts in society, being a bit of an anthropologist. If you build a business that’s relevant to these changes, it has every chance to thrive. Business success is also heavily reliant on truly understanding the consumer, and also understanding what are the right customers to go after.
More optimistic dreamers required
The challenge that big companies now face is how to transform fast enough so that this entire generation of brilliant young minds doesn’t go work for new dynamic startups. Big companies need a cultural transformation, they need to engage their customers differently, because their customers are different today than 10 or 20 years ago.
Scott’s advice to leaders? Prepare to be amazed at how passionate your clients would be if you could find a way to talk to them that isn’t about product. Leadership today is all about inspiring people and engaging them in a meaningful way.
What does the world need the most right now? More positive dreamers who stand for a better world. Life is really hard, so it’s really important to remind people of hope, and to give them a sense of confidence and optimism.