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October 17, 2011


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Jim Kukral

You're dead on. But how do you really organize/control a message when there's no control point? I used to be a brand manager and what you're describing is what I did, but for Occupy Wall Street, I don't see a point person/group. Which is actually the reason why it's spreading, because it's organic.

My other point is that I'm sure you agree with... everyone needs to learn how to be a marketer, but the majority aren't, and plenty don't want to be.

Would be fun to lead the marketing for an organization like this though wouldn't it? Hard to reign them in though.

Jim Kukral

Just saw the website. I didn't realize that was the official site. Still though, it's hard to impress upon the crowd to follow the lead. But if they could your ideas would work great.

David Meerman Scott

Hey Jim, I agree with you. But they are organized enough to have a site, Twitter feed, Facebook page, and media contacts. So they are more than just campers now.

I'd recommend they crowd source experts from among their ranks to fill roles. There are bound to be folks with skills they want to volunteer. Some can cook, some can play the drums, and still others can design logos and speak to the media.


I really like your comparison on how they are kind of copying the banks.

Creating video is critical.

I have to agree with you. It is not clear what their objectives are. The only clear one they kind of have is to protest. But what they want out of the protest can be all over the place. If they had a few individuals that could speak as part of the movement this could be easily fix.

I think they have so many brilliant people supporting the movement that it would be easy to grab a few simple objectives and project that message to the masses.

Great post once again.



While I agree that the movement does not have a singular focus, I also think that is part of their strength. They currently have a broad umbrella that includes a lot of the issues the 99% have to be angry about. This includes the wall street shenanigans, but also the behavior of our political system (lack of real action), the umemployment situation, the stagnant incomes of the 99%....the list goes on and on. While I understand the wish for one message, there are so many issues in our country right now, it's hard to narrown it down to just one.

David Meerman Scott

Raul - Yes. Objectives are important.

Christi - I think without focus they are like a baby crying. You know it is upset, but it cannot articulate how to solve the problem. The movement does not need a "singular" focus or "one message" - I did not say that. It does need specific focuses and not just the generalities.



Great post with well-taken points. I have also thought the same thing and it will be interesting to see if they act on any of these type of suggestions!

Also, off topic, I wonder what will happen once winter starts to set in. Will the conditions be too much for the protesters? We shall see.

Keep up the good work.

David Meerman Scott

Pete - I lived in NYC for a few years and worked downtown. It's brutal in winter. We'll see!


David - your post makes me wonder, where are all the marketing/design/PR people in this movement? I have seen their talents on items like the "Occupied Wall Street Journal" newspaper they crank out on site, but you're right - the movement needs all of what you suggest. What I'm watching for is (A) Will a single leader(s) emerge and (B) Will 1-2 solid ideas/demands emerge rather than just generalized anger/etc. Either way it's interesting to watch!

David Meerman Scott

John - exactly. That's what I am looking for too!

Rusty Cawley, APR

You are missing the point, David. This isn't about "message." This about "outrage." The entire protest is one long primal scream. The #OccupyWallStreet folks are rejecting all things corporate. The last people they are going to take advice from are PR and marketing pros. Particularly since their current tactics are achieving their goals: Mobilizing the troops and taking to the streets and scaring the living crap out of The Man (whoever that is).


Rusty, A long, primal scream is no better than a tantrum.

Rejecting all things corporate is fine and dandy, but if they want to communicate with the rest of us, they should get their comms better organised as David suggests.

A typo: "tenants" > "tenets".

David Meerman Scott

Rusty, my problem is that I do not know what their "goals" are which was part of the point of my post. Is it, as you say, simply so "scare The Man?" If so, it seems pointless, like Halloween - frighten a few people but there is no real action. Seems like a lot of work just to "scare". Why not actually achieve something worthwhile? Martin Luther King Jr. also scared the man with his followers but he had a goal (and over time it was achieved).


People at my side of the world start copying the same act, using Facebook to gather a flash mob at the once tallest building in the world, which didn't end pretty. Well, in a nut shell, protesters turn out scarring a good amount of folks in the Taipei101 department store. And now the leader is having law suites staring down his a**.

When you have bad marketing/PR tactics, even when the cause is good, things don't usually turn out what you've intended it to be. Great Post.

btw. powering through to the 5th chapter of The New Rules of Marketing & PR. really useful advice for tech startups like us.

Steve Fogg

We have the same protests down here in Australia. Which frankly aren't that successful. Our economy isn't in the toilet like in the U.S.

I think part of their problem is that they are actually trying to establish themselves using web 1.0 websites rather than only exploiting the free flow of information social media and keeping the movement deconstructed.

You don't see the arab spring articulating itself through web 1.0 they stick to social media which keeps their tone of voice positioning as a movement of the people.

The other thing that would set them apart would be to do something positive like give money away to poor communities (and use it as a media opp), show that they are actually part of the solution rather than just stone throwers

Rusty Cawley, APR

Guys, I'm not defending the movement's tactics. I'm just pointing out that this is not and never will be a campaign in the sense that we -- as PR and marketing professionals -- define it. The only message is the medium. In this case, the medium is widespread, full-frontal protest. A tantrum? Yes. But it is accomplishing the only real goal of any tantrum, and that's to get our attention. You might as well expect a message from a flash mob or a suicide bomber.

John Moorhead

What is the last update to your book I purchased your 2007-2009 Version do you have the newest on Amazon

I want to buy the latest

Rob Maguire

Rusty — Last week I received an email from local Occupy movement activists asking for advice on social media marketing. I'm actually meeting with them today to offer some guidance. Strategic and effective communications isn't the sole domain of self-interested corporations, and I believe the majority of activists understand this.

David Meerman Scott

Thanks, guys, for the comments. It's interesting that we're seeing some of the same things.

John - The New Rules of Marketing and PR is now in its third edition and is available on Amazon and many other places.


"I know that one of the tenants of Occupy Wall Street is that it is a horizontally organized movement." - Mr. Meerman Scott, I always enjoy reading your stuff, even the rants. However, it appears you used the wrong word here. Do you mean tenet as in principle held by a movement? Or maybe using tenant referring to Occupy Wall Street was a brilliant play on words?
This is one of my pet peeves so I couldn't let it go. Onward...

George F. Snell III

Hi David:
My two cents, but I think providing strategic and tactical corporate marketing advice to an anti-corporate/anti-marketing movement is missing the point of the protests entirely.

Shannon Golladay

Thanks, David. It has already been said, but you are right on. This is a great article.

I have enjoyed following your blog the past few years.

David Meerman Scott

Darlene - You're right and someone else pointed that out which I fixed in the post. I meant "tenets." Thanks. BTW please call me "David" and should you want to use anything more formal, I'm Mr. Scott (Meerman is my middle name).

George and Shannon - thanks for reading and commenting.

Plato Hieronimus

It's an interesting question: Is a movement like a brand?

I think, David, that it is a different beast. A CMO is looking to drive profits for the sake of profits. The organizer of a movement is looking to grow numbers in the movement, yes, and that is quantifiable, but that is not the end goal of a substantive movement. The end goal of a substantive movement is to let the movement define it's own identity as time progresses. Each voice in the movement has a place and they all matter even if in unison it seems like a cacophony. We don't yet have marketing metrics dynamic enough to frame this.

My understanding is that the Occupy Wall Street movement itself is the message. The very act of defining a tight brand limits the outer edges of what the movement can be.

The civil rights movement had no logo and while Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks stand out now, they didn't coordinate the movement like a media campaign and what of Frederick Douglass who participated in his own way many years beforehand? Nor was the 1960's movement coordinated, but rather a hodgepodge of socialists and anarchists and kids and lots of other segments. Yet today, the 1960's movement is burned into our collective consciousness in deeper way then say Coca-Cola or Levis.

My 2 cents.

David Meerman Scott

Plato -- good points and thanks for offering them here. I guess I don't know enough about my American history to know if MLK Jr. and others in the civil rights movement had specific demands and if so, when they coalesced around this demands.

David Marsh

Talk to us with your views/opiniona as to what affects people in society at our organisation,look forward to your views/opinions stories.Thank you.

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