I walk through Centennial Square in Victoria everyday and consider the plight of the Occupy Victoria movement, now in its third month.
Initial curiosity on the part of the public converted some to supporters, others to respectful empathizers and others still to contemptuous pessimists and critics.
As the movement loses its momentum and heads towards an inexorable conclusion with the law (Occupy Wall Street was cleared out in the early hours today), I wonder how much has been lost through the lack of a good strategic plan going in.
Think about the current Occupy movement as a nascent brand attempting to get its message – or selling proposition – across to its audience:
WHO IS THE AUDIENCE?
They are targeting their message at big business, at the banks, at multinationals, at governments. But the real audience is us, the general public. What is most valuable to any new product is public advocacy. Fans and followers.
Their current tactic of entrenchment at all costs is starting to turn off their new followers and create even stronger antipathy from their critics.
Rather than do some quick market research to determine where their brand is losing traction and why, Occupy has decided to press on, audience be damned. This drags down the positive sentiment they have created over the course of their campaign.
The danger for the brand is that the audience will be less likely to embrace a return to the market when Occupy attempts to consolidate and build positive brand awareness next time.
They are burning through their consumer currency faster than they can raise it.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE CAMPAIGN?
Occupy, we have been told, is not a protest but a process. That’s key. In other words, it is the opening act in a long-term campaign. But what do the long-term goals look like and what short-term metrics will measure the success of the tactics they’re using?
There are certainly short-term metrics they could pay attention to: Positive and negative press coverage, audience advocacy, social mentions, increase in occupiers, support of key influencers.
If they were paying attention, they would probably have noted that the campaign has peaked. The audience is starting to lose interest. Audience burnout or backlash is the very last thing this new brand needs.
WHAT ARE THE TACTICS BEST-SUITED TO MEETING THEIR GOALS?
Here is a critical process issue, because by not articulating specific goals, they haven’t been able to implement effective tactics.
“Occupy” is the tactic, not the goal.
But the occupation tactic seems to have its own goal: stay until they are dragged kicking and screaming out of the public areas they have taken over. In other words, carry on regardless of what the audience thinks; continue to press the message until they have lost the advocacy they worked so hard to build.
There is not much in their current plan that supports a 2012 campaign.
As a marketing guy, I believe the Occupy movement can be effective by knowing their audience, articulating clear goals, using inspired tactics to achieve them, checking metrics along the way and sticking to a timeline.
Otherwise, the movement’s up a tree.
(Photograph by Adrian Lam, Times Colonist)