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Deloitte Report Outlines the Drivers of Brand-Fueled Social Movements

Research uncovers how brands can become more than just a product

NEW YORK, Sept. 18, 2017 — Brand-fueled movements are hard to deconstruct, but with companies increasingly seeking ways to make meaningful connections with their consumers Deloitte conducted research to try to uncover key elements in their creation. A review of published materials, and one-on-one interviews with leading marketers from around the world, helped reveal a number of patterns that help explain brand-fueled movements and the conditions that could give rise to them:

  • Purpose beyond the transaction - Movements are typically tied to a social cause or a community’s belief that they are contributing to a greater purpose.
  • People-to-people connections - Brands that succeed at generating movements frequently do so through virtual communities and in-person connections.
  • Authentic, transparent brands that evoke strong emotion - A movement usually occurs when a company or brand makes a grand statement and asks its customers to join in.
  • Customer and employee empowerment - Brand movements consistently include opportunities for customers to become involved and feel empowered.

“To make an impact that matters, a brand has to be deeply connected to its purpose and have a vision of what it can be,” said Diana O’Brien, chief marketing officer, Deloitte LLP. “Companies are starting to reach beyond the confines of products or services – they’re starting to offer a purposeful experience that becomes a part of people’s lives.”

The study also uncovered many essential characteristics behind successful brands and the environmental factors that spur an enduring social movement and organically transcends the brand. While there is no playbook to create the passionate customer communities that fuel and energize long-term, brand-fueled movements; there are factors and metrics veteran marketers agree that can both help and hurt the potential for a movement to arise.

“Marketers are beginning to spur movements that surpass a company’s product or service and connects their customers to a greater purpose. These consumers become brand advocates because what they’re really buying is an experience,” said Jennifer Veenstra, managing director, Deloitte Chief Marketing Officer Client Experience program, Deloitte Services LP. “True brand-fueled movements are rare and difficult to recreate – but when done right, they have the power to influence tremendous change.”

Although organizations cannot create a movement directly, they can create the atmosphere for one to develop and grow. This often starts from the top. For employees and customers to embrace a movement’s passion, company leaders should be fully invested in the brand and the mission. It’s also essential that the brand be true to itself and rooted in the mission for which it stands.

Based on this research it’s clear that while rare, brand-fueled movements are hardly an accident. Companies can work to build the kind of brand rapport with customers that forms the foundation of any strong brand, but with the right insight and strategy – untapped opportunities may exist for companies to go beyond themselves and form a larger movement that stands the test of time.

Explore the full publication "The science of movement marketing". The Deloitte Chief Marketing Officer Client Experience program provides a portfolio of offerings focused on helping CMOs navigate the complexities of the role, tackle their most compelling challenges, and adapt to strategic shifts in the market. Offerings address leadership and talent development, facilitate immersive and engaging lab experiences, and provide role-based research and thought leadership with actionable insights. The program helps prepare marketing leaders for success, evolve their decision making, and expand their thinking — in a way that helps them embrace today's evolving world of marketing. Explore more at

About Deloitte
Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80 percent of the Fortune 500 and more than 6,000 private and middle market companies. Our people work across more than 20 industry sectors to deliver measurable and lasting results that help reinforce public trust in our capital markets, inspire clients to make their most challenging business decisions with confidence, and help lead the way toward a stronger economy and a healthy society.

Media contact:

Steven Thai
Public Relations Manager
Deloitte Services LP
+1 202 699 0277

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