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  • John Bell, Tom Boland and Erin CarterMarch 2013

    Building Social Movements for BrandsAn Analysis of Global Movements


    Table of Contents

    Executive Summary 3

    Our Approach 6

    Our Findings 7

    Movement qualities that drive social actions 11

    Profiles of Movements Obama 08 Yes, We Can 15

    Political Movement Obama 12 It Begins With Us 16

    Political Movement Romney 12 Believe in America 17

    Social Movement Earth Hour 18

    Social Movement It Gets Better 19

    Social Movement Occupy Wall Street 20

    Social Movement Tsunami Relief Fund 21

    Brand Movement Amex Small Business Saturday 22

    Brand Movement Nike Foundation, The Girl Effect 23

    Brand Movement Pepsi Refresh 24

    Appendix A: Top Ten Pages on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube 25


    Executive Summary

    Digital and social media have changed how causes and movements grow and accelerate. Building movements is hard work, and doing it well is an art and science practiced by NGOs, political candidates, and supporters of social causes. The collaboration and communication advantages of digital and social platforms have reduced the overall cost of organizing supporters, but not the complexity. Sharing via social networks, using content effectively, and managing relationships with individuals can affect elections, environmental movements, brand movements and more.

    As more brands aspire to build movements around causes that intersect with the online community and their business, understanding the benchmarks of scale and success becomes key. Brands want big movements that drive people to action. But how big is big? The size of a movement matters. Most brands will be as concerned about overall reach of a program as the various types of engagement they can inspire in people. The actual size

    of membership, such as the number of subscribed fans of a Facebook page, for instance, determines the pool of people we can drive to save energy, support gay rights, adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, or some other action or behavior change.

    How does the number of people driven to action by the 2012 campaign to re-elect President Obama compare to a brand program like Pepsi Refresh Everything? How does the engagement level of a global social program like Earth Hour, that promotes energy-saving behaviors, compare with a brand program like Nikes The Girl Effect? And how do the engagement levels of various movements compare to the most popular phenomena in social media, like Psys Gangnam Style, that drive more than a billion actions?

    As movements aspire to drive people to some type of action or behavior change, what does success look like? What do brands need to do differently? What lessons can we learn?


    What are social actions?

    Whether a political movement, a social movement or a brand movement, all are trying to do more than simply reach people. They need to drive action, whether as simple as sharing a Facebook post or retweeting a message, or as complex as changing energy-saving behavior. To compare movements, we looked at a variety of typical engagement metrics, from liking a Facebook page (fanning a page) to watching a video to following a Twitter handle. We consider each a social action. Most are triggers for additional advocacy. Facebook shares, for example, broadcast our action to our own friends and followers via our own personal page, and expand the reach of a program. The value of social actions are not all equal. Some stimulate more sharing or drive more time spent with content. Each is a discrete action, and we have grouped them into a single number to make comparing movements easier. Detail of social action types can be found in the Profiles of Movements section.

    How do different movements compare to each other?

    Entertainment Phenomena, Political, Social and Brand Movements, fall into a descending order of magnitude.

    Entertainment phenomena, like Justin Bieber and Gangnam Style, earn more than a billion social actions. Political campaigns, like the U.S. Presidential, race garner hundreds of millions of social actions. Social and Brand Movements fall below these levels, often earning between five to ten million social actions.

    Political campaigns rely on paid media to spark owned and earned media to a massive scale in a short period of time.

    Presidential elections have a singular purpose to get a candidate elected by a fixed date. As such, they need to capture peoples attention and drive action in a concentrated period of time. Even the established movements with millions of members, like the 2012 campaign to re-elect President Obama, need to grow and update their existing member base, and increase the actions they are likely to take. Invariably, these campaigns rely on paid media to grow the member base fast and drive them to social actions in a short period of time.


    Social and Brand Movements can achieve a similar level of scale to each other, and do so more slowly, often over a few years.

    Nikes The Girl Effect drove more than 8 million social actions in 2012, its sixth year of activity. Earth Hour after four years has expanded across global markets, and grown to more than 6 million actions many focused at a signature moment in the year.

    Brand Movements that do not align and support current business goals are often discontinued before earning the full benefits of multi-year growth.

    Pepsi Refresh achieved 8 million-plus social actions in just two short years, fueled by an integrated, paid, owned and earned1 program to acquire supporters and drive action. Still, this program was either coincident or correlative to a period of a drop in product sales. While the program may have improved brand measures, few programs can maintain internal support when actual product sales or growth are hurting.

    1 Owned media includes all of the content and platforms controlled by a brand or organization, such as websites and content, like videos. Earned media describes all of the community advocacy (e.g., sharing inside Facebook) as well as the non-paid stories run in professional and semi-professional media outlets. Paid media includes all forms of paid advertising.

    Large movements have at least four common characteristics.

    Enduring truths have emerged about what it takes to sustain large movements. These include singular, focused purpose; a genuine or authentic motivation; low barriers to entry; and a commitment to the people and resources to cultivate growth and action.


    Our Approach

    We examined social actions across three types of movements, and compared these to a fourth category of the most popular entertainment phenomena.

    Political movements included US Presidential elections, as well as emergent phenomena, like the Arab Spring.

    Social Movements included advocacy and behavior change efforts around social causes.

    Brand Movements included focused efforts from major brands to drive action around a social cause aligned with the brand.

    Entertainment phenomena captured the artists and media with the absolute highest level of social actions.

    For the sake of this analysis, we have assumed that all social actions are weighted equally. Understandably, how one social action is weighted may depend on the category, timing,

    and other factors. For example, liking a Facebook page may carry less weight than sharing and commenting on a post; viewing a video may be a more passive social action than retweeting a brands tweet. We primarily looked at activity across the threemajor social networksmost often used by these movements- Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

    We reviewed 10 different movements from across the globe, looking for those that were developed for political campaigns, social causes, or brands. These 10 were culled from a list of 30 movements overall. We analyzed each category, looking at total social actions, as noted above, as well as the duration of the program: was it in its infancy, or had it been in existence for a few years? The objective was to reveal strengths and weaknesses of different movements, especially those designed to contribute to driving sustained behavior change. For a deeper understanding of individual movements strengths and weaknesses, a ranking and analysis of each political, brand and social movement we explored can be found in the final section.


    Our Findings

    Entertainment rulesby a lot!

    Across all platforms, players in the entertainment category quickly emerge as the most popular. Psy (Gangnam Style), who took over the top spot on YouTube in less than a year, had been viewed more than one billion times by years end. Those who reign on Twitter and Facebook are not the same as the leaders on YouTube, but nearly all those who lead in these social networks are in the entertainment industry. Few brands, and even fewer non-entertainment individuals rise to the very top on these networks. Notably, no causes or movements seeking behavior change were at the top. For a full list of the top pages on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, see Appendix A.

    Political movements in the US are becoming more effective in the use of integrated social media.Measured by social actions, President Obamas recent re-election campaign achieved almost three times the impact ofhis 2008 campaign. Compared to his opponent, Governor Mitt Romney, who had an impressive social media footprint, President Ob