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Guest Post: #Occupy Wall Street Shows Us How It’s Done

2011 November 23
by Greg Satell

If I was unemployed, I’d be spending my time looking for a job.

I guess not everyone thinks like me, because over a thousand New York City residents have been arrested protesting under the Occupy Wall Street banner in the past few months. Many more are camping out in Zuccotti Park, part of the Wall Street financial district. The movement is catching on in other cities as well.


Regardless of which side you come down on from a political perspective, we can all agree that they’ve garnered tons of press over the past few months.  How did they do it? There are a few lessons marketers can learn from them when it comes to crafting a public image and capturing attention.

Stand for Something

The Occupy Wall Street group are the voice of rebellion against the perceived influence banks and corporations have on the United States government and economy. You may not agree with their opinions, but you know what they stand for.

This is powerful.

When you stand for something, people will remember who you are. They can’t help it. They associate you, whether “you” is a person, a brand, a group or something else, with larger concepts and institutions.

Emotional associations are much more powerful than rational ones, so displaying passion will ensure that your audience remembers you in the long term.

Define Yourself in Relation to Your Opposition

If you are the underdog, trying to build a reputation from scratch, you will do well to define yourself in opposition to a more well-known enemy.

Pepsi put itself on the map by defining itself in opposition to Coke.

MTV defined itself in opposition to the establishment.

In its second stage of life, Apple defined itself in opposition to Microsoft.

Satan, the ultimate challenger brand, defined himself in opposition to God.

Be Consistent In Order to Build a Reputation and an Audience

The great ones get there by being consistent. Sure, there are other important factors, but it’s quite common to do everything right and just give up too quickly.

Marketers launch daring campaigns, only to pull them before they have a chance to find their footing.

Occupy Wall Street has built momentum and garnered attention through consistent activity. In fact, the longer they continue the stronger the imprint on the American psyche.

Consider the Tea Party.

Like Occupy Wall Street, they graduated from being noticed to being talked about by consistently acting out in view of the public. But at this point, the Tea Party have secured their place in history by being consistent over a period of years.

Occupy Wall Street is not there yet.

And it’s up to them whether or not they’ll get there.

But I think they’ll do fine. Without even intending to, they’ve set a great example for marketers by standing for something, defining themselves in relation to their opposition and building an audience through consistency. If they can do it, surely you can too.


– Greg Steen


Greg Steen is a Senior Trendspotter at Moxie.  You can follow his posts on the Moxie Pulse blog.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. December 11, 2011

    Thank you Greg – I will follow your advice.

    What do I stand for?

    A new era of SAFE Mortgages and SAFE Sovereign Debt and HONEST institutions.

    On that blog I just entered:

    I am selling my reputation as an honest broker in defiance of the big institutions and NOW in 2012 I intend launching the first really trustworthy financial products for investors and borrowers.

    Let’s hope my marketing is up to your standards. Any help is welcome!

  2. December 11, 2011

    Good luck Edward.

    – Greg

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