Bonus Lessons Learned in Igniting WOM Movements

What? You haven’t downloaded and read our ChangeThis Manifesto yet? (10 Lessons Learned in Igniting Word of Mouth Movements) Well get ta crackin’, Jimmy.

But if you’ve already read it, here are some bonus lessons we’ve learned (and I’m sure we’ll have more in the future as things progress).

Bonus #1: Movements have their own vocabulary.
Just like clubs, sports or hobbies have their own language, so do movements. To outsiders, sometimes that language is almost indecipherable. But to those in the movement, it’s second nature. It’s language that’s developed as a group. And it’s also a badge of ownership. Of being in the know. Of belonging.

Bonus #2: Movements don’t start within the system.
They fly under the radar. They don’t subject themselves to the politics of the day. They don’t care about policies and procedures. They don’t get bogged down in hierarchies or organizational charts. They don’t get derailed with TPS reports, mission statements or staff meetings. They are single-minded, focused and don’t put up with the BS that the system sometimes (okay, mostly) brings to the table.

Bonus #3: Movements exist to right an injustice.
This is  a biggie. The injustice could be as big as trafficking children for sex slavery or women not being able to vote. But it could also be not having a safe place to share your love of your hobby without being attacked. Injustices come in all shapes and sizes, and while we are programmed to automatically think about the big ones (as we well should), the next time you want to start a movement, one of the first things you need to do is identify the injustice. What are you moving against? And then figure out what are you moving towards.

There you have it. So I guess that brings us to 13 Lessons. I’m sure there will be more to come. And, as always, we welcome your thoughts.

  • Colby Gergen

    Reading the Manifesto and your additions, I have a few things I’d like to add. Of course, this is all my opinion in reading about and observing movements, you are the one with experience here.

    1: Campaigns are for the people. Movements are by the people.
    This is alluded to a few times, specifically in #6, but I feel that it is so essential to the movement ideal that it needs to be explicitly stated. Campaigns are ran for people to see, hear, touch, and even experience, but not create or get involved. Movements, on the other hand, place creation and involvement in the hands of the people; they are at the forefront of the movement ideal.

    2: Campaigns are rigid. Movements are fluid.
    Campaigns are something that are planned, outlined, and executed to detail. There is typically little, or no, wiggle room, and to change the plan, one usually has to trek through the bureaucratic forest of red tape. Movements, on the other hand, are fluid by nature. They are unplanned, and can change naturally without needing to gain consent.

  • http://brainsonfire.com Spike

    Great additions, Colby! Thanks for making those points. I especially love the rigid/fluid idea. It seems that campaigns are very tactic-driven, while movements are organic and change as needed.

    Thanks for adding to the conversation. You. Rock. Out.