3p is proud to partner with the Presidio Graduate School’s Managerial Marketing course on a blogging series about “sustainable marketing.” This post is part of that series. To follow along, please click here.
By Greg Kandankulam
If you have been living under a rock since September 2011, then you may not have heard about the Occupy Wall Street Movement. It has sparked a worldwide phenomenon that has rallied communities, cities, countries and groups to action in the spirit of activism. The main focus of the movement began as criticism on the state of job creation and the distribution of wealth in this country. Part of the genius of the movement is that what started as a commentary on the state of wealth distribution and employment has become much more. The formulation of the individual voicing of “one demand” has allowed participants to shine a light on the multifaceted injustices they see in society. Regardless of the fact that the movement started as a forum to express dissatisfaction with the lack of jobs and the distribution of wealth, other groups have been using this momentum to give their own agendas a virtual “shot in the arm.”
With that in mind, let’s look at the Keystone XL Pipeline and Tar Sands Action movement. It had a very finite goal, intelligent marketing and a specific call to action concerning the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The movement also had a multitude of environmental activist organizations behind it. Recently, Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, spoke in support of Occupy Wall Street and drew connections between his fight against energy corporatism and the Occupy movement. I feel that this was a great short term marketing strategy on McKibben’s part to turn the intense and positive focus on activism that New York is enjoying and take advantage of it. He did this on October 8, 2011. On October 20, 2011, the most recent post on the Occupy Wall Street website was about demonstrating against hydraulic fracture and the environmental travesty that Big Oil is perpetrating on the common citizen and on democracy.
Initially, when I saw McKibben’s speech, I felt it was somewhat opportunistic and he was drawing connections between divergent issues. But as I saw the Occupy Movement become more widespread throughout this country and internationally, I realized that the issues were not divergent at all. He saw an opportunity for synergy and, in my opinion, evoked a positive response for his agenda. In order to fully realize the potential of his act, I would have his organization try to create as much social content as possible around the speech in order to drive focus to it.
Regardless, McKibben was able to garner quite a bit of positive PR without cost, except for the price of his plane ticket to New York.
Greg Kandankulam – MBA candidate at Presidio Graduate School
image: DoctorTongs via Flickr (creative commons license)