Social Impact

Creating Social Impact with Movements that Matter

Whether you’re a nonprofit with a cause or a startup with an idea, at some point, I’m sure you’ve wondered whether your passion would ever catch spark with others. Social impact is here to stay. Creating a movement that matters is more important today than ever before.

It’s clear, what fuels movements is more art than science and not everyone has the advantage of chemically inspired insanity. The idea matters, but it’s really the tipping point, created with art AND science, that creates movements that matter.

We’ve learned a few things about social impact movements over the years, and I wanted to share with you some key insights I’ve found in creating movements with true social impact.

Social Proof Is Important for Movements That Matter

Relatively quickly, it will be important to develop your followers. You’ll need to show you aren’t alone in this idea. BUT, you’ll need those followers to be just as into your idea as you are. These “early adopters” have distinct profiles – figure them out and speak to them. This is the time vs. money stage. There are plenty of things you can do for free, but they take time. Decide which is your most valuable resource.

Social Media Matters – But So Does Real Life for True Social Impact

Social media isn’t where ideas are born, it’s where ideas are spread. The idea and the collaboration of said idea almost always takes place offline. Don’t be afraid to use your offline connections, whether they’re on social media or not, to help fuel your movement.

And don’t discount traditional PR tactics as well, they play nice with social media and one will help the other. And the endgame isn’t about HOW it happens, it’s THAT it happens. Give your movement every chance it has to survive.

Tweet: “Give your movement every chance it has to survive.” – @taracoomans

Passion or Quantity?

You’ll want influencers, but you’ll want to make very sure your target audience relates to them, even if they don’t totally resonate with you.  You aren’t communicating to you, you’re trying to get some collective steam. And your influencer’s community is balanced by the passion of that community.  There’s an inverse correlation of a number of followers to passion. Think of it as a circle, the bigger the circle, the further from the center more and more people are. So ask yourself, does passion matter more than people? The answer may surprise you.

Tweet: “There’s an inverse correlation of number of followers to passion.” – @taracoomans

Movements That Matter Peak At The Right Time


It’s true with all public relations messaging and especially with social impact movements. Just about the time you’re tired of seeing the same messaging is about the time that anyone takes notice. Again, inverse effect, you say “no one’s responding,” just as they are starting to take notice. Breathe.

Tipping points have a timeline of their own, you can’t rush them. It WILL happen.

The bigger concern is peaking at the right time. Peaking at the right time could correlate to internal or external deadlines. What happens if your movement peaks too early? Will you be ready?  You can’t totally plan for peak time, but you should make sure you don’t peak too early. Think about what peaking at the exact right moment looks like and work backward from there – what’s it going to take (planning, time, money, people)  to create enough energy for that exact moment? And remember, in a world where we’re constantly inundated with messages, rallying people usually takes longer than you think it should. They used to say that it takes 7 exposures to a message for someone to remember the message, in today’s message cluttered world, I’d put that at closer to twelve.

You’ll Know When The Tipping Point Happens

If you don’t know whether you’ve hit the tipping point, then you haven’t yet. When tipping points happen, there is nothing you can do to stop them. You are no longer in control. This is a crucial moment. As Derek says, you want to treat your community as equals, empower them, let them stand for you. Conversely, at this point, you’ll need to be more and more clear on your message. I’ve seen movements become something completely different than the original intent because of unclear messaging at this point. Social impact movements that turn into disorganized mob scenes aren’t effective, even if they are riveting to watch. Mob scenes are good for word of mouth, but they aren’t very good for conversion.

Tweet: “Mob scenes are good for word of mouth, but they aren’t very good for conversion.”- @taracoomans

PS:When you’re feeling alone and isolated about your movement, watch this this short TedTalk by Derek Sivers.

Epically true, right?  I love this line: “The first follower is actually an underrated form of leadership.” What’s you’re biggest take away?

5 Must-Know GenZ Insights for CMOs and Marketers

[5 minute read]

GenZ vs. Millenials: What Marketers Need to Know

GenZ is coming and CMOs and marketers need insights now. After a decade of news about Millenials, here comes GenZ, they make up 25% percent of the population. GenZ is here and CMOs will need to take notice if they haven’t already. It might be easy for marketers or PR professionals to assume this generation is similar to Millenials, but that’s untrue. GenZ, the oldest of whom are turning 23 in 2021, is a generation with distinct preferences and personas. This is also the most diverse generation ever, almost half of GenZ is BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). And marketing and branding experts should know: their projected spending power, according to a late 202o Harris Poll, is $143 billion.

While both generations are purpose-driven and feel misunderstood and unseen by brands, especially BIPOC, women, and LGBTQ+, GenZ believes cancel culture is thier weapon against feeling unseen.  Millenials grew up as digital natives, but GenZ grew up as social media natives. In contrast to the hopefulness of Millenials, GenZ is are more practical and politically polarized, and view social media with skepticism.

 

Our GenZ insights for CMOs and marketers take into account both the data presented our team’s decades-long PR and marketing experience.

GenZ:  Take Us Seriously

Grounded GenZ is taking control of their destiny, they are more likely than the general population to have already bought investments (65% vs. 45%). They feel adulthood has been delayed for them and that mental health is extremely important. They are also incredibly invested in social change and see their response to brands as a way to take back their power. GenZ also enjoys thrift shopping – perhaps because of economic uncertainty, sustainability, or simplicity – they aren’t as moved by flashy streetwear and fashion drops as their predecessors.

 

  • 58% of GenZ women prefer to work in a freelance job or have their own business for flexible hours over working a traditional 9-5 job with a reliable paycheck.
  • GenZ watched their parents “burn themselves out at work” and want to find more balance in their lives said 74% of GenZ women.
  • 70% of GenZ said they have or plan to put more money into savings
  • GenZ pioneered cancel culture (50% say they have personally called out a brand), yet,
  • 73% of GenZ women say “social change does not actually occur on social media-it occurs with action in the real world.”
  • 65% make purchases through a brand’s mobile app
  • 52% say they have prioritized shopping at a small or local business to support them after the COVID outbreak.
  • 3% of Gen Z have or are considering upgrading their car to make themselves feel more safe or comfortable during the pandemic
  •  GenZ is expecting a return to travel, with 32% saying they will increase spending on travel.

GenZ Work & Financial Preferences CMO Insights:
Having experienced recessions and pandemics to say nothing of student loans, GenZ has grown up with uncertainty.


For marketers, this means this generation’s patterns may be harder to track down and be ever-shifting, particularly because they want a more flexible lifestyle. This, of course, may change as GenZ ages, but for now, keep your eyes on the shifting sands of time, because GenZ is flexible, self-reliant, and eager to control their own destinies. 

GenZ Purpose Driven CMO Insights:
Purpose-driven communication to a cancel culture generation is a double-edged sword.

It will be incredibly important for marketers and brands, large and small to understand the GenZ audience because while GenZ knows real change happens in the real world, they revel in making brands feel uncomfortable. This generation also has zero tolerance for racism from brands and society at large.

GenZ Shopping Insights
Shopping to make a statement or to self soothe. 

Perhaps because of their polarized and turbulent upbringing, this generation is longing for simplicity, therefore they’re already nostalgic for childhood brands and why they embrace thrift shopping, despite being native digital shoppers. They’re craving balance, escape, and their own experiences. They see mental health as its own reward, and they’re actively seeking coping mechanisms. Marketers will need to balance escapism with fantasy for this generation because right now, they’re an extremely grounded bunch, even when they escape.

GenZ: Social Media Isn’t an Escape

It’s so easy for marketers to assume the best way to reach GenZ is through social media.  For previous generations, social media represented an escapist world, but not for GenZ.

 

  • 70% of GenZ women say “they are tired of the “Instagram aesthetic” that projects a certain lifestyle.”  BUT GenZ isn’t rejecting influencers entirely,
  • 67% said “influencers are more important for showing brands, than brands themselves.”
  • 70% of Gen Z women say it’s more important for people to “prioritize their mental health over their physical health.”
  • 56% of Gen Z women say, “I believe social media is built to be addicting and I’m working to curb my behavior”
  • At home, they find driving soothing, with 38% claiming serenity through driving (compared with 28% of the population).
  • They also derive a sense of comfort and escape from food, 70% say that “snacking helps me take my mind off the issues of the world (compared to 65% of the general population).
  • 48% of Gen Zs miss being able to listen to music or a podcast on their daily commute (33% total)
  • 60% of Gen Zs plan to spend more or maintain spend on connected fitness equipment in 2021
  • 63% of Gen Zs say they have been buying nostalgic snack brands from childhood during the pandemic (63% Zs, 53% total)

 

GenZ Social Media Marketing Takeaways:
As social media natives, they’ve grown hardened to the communication style of social media.

Social media isn’t so much of an escape for GenZ. GenZ seems to understand life is messy and that garner a sense of authenticity from “reality.” They seem to want brands, influencers, and advertising to represent life’s realities a little more closely. Expect GenZ to view social media the way GenX views email: as a tool. Social media will increasingly be something GenZ seeks to have control over.

This generation absolutely craves escape ,and serenity, they see travel and mental health, and fitness as vital to their well-being.

 

GenZ: Escape CMO Insights:
Realistic and approachable escapes for a practical generation

Expect this generation to seek out authentic and approachable experiences until their finances are more secure. They’ll seek out comfort foods, nostalgia, and friends for comfort. When they’re alone, they’ll listen to music and podcasts and stay connected, but it’s likely that there will be variation in their entertainment choices. This is in part because they view certain activities as relaxing (driving) and others as required (social media and fitness), watch those motivational purposes and pair messaging accordingly. Marketers will also need to be alert and flexible to the on-the-go lifestyle of this generation.

*All statistics referenced here came from The Harris GenZ 100 Poll Round-Up. 

 

Whether you’re a company with purpose, a nonprofit with a cause or a startup with an idea, at some point, I’m sure you’ve wondered whether your passion would ever catch spark with others. Creating a movement that matters is more important today than ever before.

It’s clear, what fuels movements is more art than science and not everyone has the advantage of chemically inspired insanity. The idea matters, but it’s really the tipping point, created with art AND science, that creates movements that matter.

I’ve learned a few things about movements over the years and I wanted to share with you some of the key insights I’ve found in creating movements.

Social Proof Is Important for Movements That Matter


Relatively quickly, it will be important to develop your followers. You’ll need to show you aren’t alone  in this idea. BUT, you’ll need those followers to be just as into your idea as you are. These “early adopters” have distinct profiles – figure them out and speak to them. This is the time vs. money stage. There are plenty of things you can do for free, but they take time. Decide which is your most valuable resource.

Social Media Matters – But So Does Real Life

Social media isn’t where ideas are born, it’s where ideas are spread. The idea and the collaboration of said idea almost always takes place offline. Don’t be afraid to use your offline connections, whether they’re on social media or not, to help fuel your movement.

And don’t discount traditional PR tactics as well, they play nice with social media and one will help the other. And the end game isn’t about HOW it happens, it’s THAT it happens. Give your movement every chance it has to survive.

Tweet: “Give your movement every chance it has to survive.” – @taracoomans

Passion or Quantity?

You’ll want influencers, but you’ll want to make very sure your target audience relates to them, even if they don’t totally resonate with you.  You aren’t marketing to you, you’re trying to get some collective steam. And your influencer’s community is balanced by the passion of that community.  There’s an inverse correlation of number of followers to passion. Think of it as a circle, the bigger the circle, the further from the center more and more people are. So ask yourself, does passion matter more than people? The answer may surprise you.

Tweet: “There’s an inverse correlation of number of followers to passion.” – @taracoomans

Movements That Matter Peak At The Right Time


It’s true with celebs, startups AND movements. Just about the time your tired of seeing the same messaging is about the time that anyone takes notice. Again, inverse effect, you say “no one’s responding,” just as they are starting to take notice. Breathe.

Tipping points have a timeline of their own, you can’t rush them. It WILL happen.

The bigger concern is peaking at the right time. Peaking at the right time could correlate to internal or external deadlines. What happens if your movement peaks too early? Will you be ready?  You can’t totally plan for peak time, but you should make sure you don’t peak too early. Think about what peaking at the exact right moment looks like and work backwards from there – what’s it going to take (planning, time, money, people)  to create enough energy for that exact moment? And remember, in a world where we’re constantly inundated with messages, rallying people usually takes longer than you think it should. They used to say that it takes 7 exposures to a message for someone to remember the message, in today’s message cluttered world, I’d put that at closer to twelve.

You’ll Know When The Tipping Point Happens

If you don’t know whether you’ve hit a tipping point, you haven’t yet. When tipping points happen, there is nothing you can do to stop them. You are no longer in control. This is a crucial moment. As Derek says, you want to treat your community as equals, empower them, and let them stand for you. Conversely, you’ll need to be clearer on your message. I’ve seen movements become completely different from the original intent because of unclear messaging. Movements that turn into disorganized mob scenes aren’t effective, even if they are riveting to watch. Mob scenes are good for word of mouth, but they aren’t very good for conversion.

Tweet: “Mob scenes are good for word of mouth, but they aren’t very good for conversion.”- @taracoomans

PS:

When you’re feeling alone and isolated about your movement, watch this this short TedTalk by Derek Sivers.

[ted id=814]

That is epically true, right?  I love this line: “The first follower is an underrated form of leadership.”