Are you creating a battle or a movement?
Brands strive to win 'mindshare'. This idea is probably most famously put forth in the venerated marketing book, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, written by Jack Trout and Al Ries and originally published in 1981. A brand wins mindshare by developing a strategic position that is both distinctive and differentiated. If this is achieved, the brand beats the competition by winning a larger amount of mindshare among prospects.
Is all this maneuvering starting to sound a bit militaristic? Well, yes. Heck, it's right there in the book's title - The Battle for Your Mind. It's interesting to note that when this book came out in the 80's, others like The Art of War were popular among business leaders as well.
This kind of language is rife in marketing departments. It has been over my three decades of working in this business. But, is it really how we want to characterize things today? Is this really how we want to engage our potential believers? By treating them as if they were pawns in our game of marketing stratagem?
An alternative to the zero-sum game
In the battle, there is a winner and a loser. That is the nature of a conflict. But we have to ask ourselves, "Why are we looking for a conflict?" Wouldn't it be more productive to engage our potential believers in a manner that looked beyond one winner profiting to a way of thinking that increased the chances of us all prospering? I wrote about this recently:
"This requires that the brand commit to something beyond itself. Something that can have a real and meaningful impact for people. I call it a Big Audacious Meaning – the profound difference your brand can make in an individual life, a community, or even the world. A brand that commits to this creates a unique opportunity for all of its potential believers. It creates the opportunity for all of us to join in as collaborators. To be part of what feels a lot like a movement."
This is the big paradigm shift. To leap from thinking about who we are going to defeat to thinking about how we can champion an idea that will bring people together. Crazy? Not really when you think about how much more powerful a movement can become. More powerful than anything positioning can create.
What about the competition?
Stop worrying about the competition. I know, you're saying this is some rose-colored-glass-wearing-kumbaya-singing Pollyanna who just wants everyone to get along. I'm not saying to disregard the competition. You should be aware of what they are doing. I'm saying don't obsess over them. And here's why. The more time you spend thinking (and worrying) about the competition, the less time you're spending thinking about your potential believers.
This is really the crux of it. If your attention is focused on your potential believers, you're on your way to taking that leap. To shifting your paradigm.
Start the movement
Focusing on our potential believers is how we begin to discover our Big Audacious Meaning. And with a Big Audacious Meaning in place, we can start to create a sense of belonging for everyone involved. Then we can stoke the fires of passion for that purpose that we can all pursue together.
That's how movements begin.