What the 99% Don’t Know About Branding

October 24th, 2011

Every successful organization, business, political movement and campaign is grounded by a single message – its “reason for being,” so to speak. At Braithwaite Communications, we call this “What You Stand For” – and unfortunately, the Occupy protesters haven’t figured it out yet. They haven’t outlined their core fundamentals, they haven’t determined their core proposition and there are too many cooks in kitchen. Don’t get us wrong, the movement is getting major media coverage of the sit-ins, but very little coverage surrounds the protesters’ substantive pleas because they aren’t clear.

As a result, they’re lacking a call to action, leaving everyone – media and the general populace alike – intrigued, but uninspired.

From the beginning, the occupiers have argued they’re part of the 99% without power in the country. They’ve argued for “change,” a plea that remains on the tip of protesters’ tongues.  But ask what they want “changed” and that’s where it gets hazy; protesters don’t quite agree.

Take, for example, a flyer recently distributed to new occupiers at Occupy Philly. It lists guidelines that are to be respected during the protest, including – “No Leaders, No Democratic/Republican Party Affiliation, and No End Date….” Among these rules, one stands out in particular: “No Demands – Not all of us agree on why we’re here.” And there lies the problem. Because while the occupiers may be fine with disagreeing on their reason for being, it’s detrimental to their movement.

Occupiers can camp in parks across the world for months on end, but unless they come together and prove their point, the movement will be forgotten. But there’s still hope, and our Master Narrative Branding Model can be used as a guide.

Brand Architecture

Since the Occupy movement is a quick-growing grassroots campaign, it doesn’t need to establish a full Brand Architecture (as a business does) to be successful, but the protesters do need to determine what they stand for, their mission and, subsequently, their call to action.


Creating a brand story is the most vital part of the narrative process. The occupiers have the makings of a compelling story, but it will take building their brand architecture to fill in the missing pieces.

Brand Execution

For businesses and organizations to grow awareness, they need to leverage a multi-channel brand awareness campaign. But for the Occupy movement, brand execution will look a bit different. The media is already interested in the movement’s presence in cities across the country, so attracting coverage will be easy. What will be more difficult, but necessary for success, is establishing a few key spokespeople to succinctly and articulately share their story with the media in a way that can be shared with the world.

How Do You Change the World? You start by knowing exactly what you stand for. If you aren’t clear on what you stand for, why should anyone else listen?

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