Movements have inspirational leadership.

[Warning: I am about to talk politics. Sort of.]

We’ve been debating this statement a lot lately at Brains on Fire in light of the political campaigns and the political movement going on around us.

Hillary ” the woman ” is/was inspirational to many.

Obama ” the man — with all of his charisma is inspirational to many.

McCain does his share of inspiring.

But why/how has Obama created a movement and more importantly what does all this mean for moving your company or organization forward?

Obama put a stake in the ground for change right out the gate. And no matter how much you love Obama, are indifferent to him or even if you detest the man it’s hard to argue against hope and change for America right now. He is reminding all of what it means to believe in ourselves again.

What are the lessons from the Obama movement for businesses who want to create a groundswell of loud and proud customers? Well, one big one that pokes out at me: Put a stake in the ground and stand for something meaningful. Step back, get re-inspired by your bigger purpose, better yet your bigger promise. At Brains on Fire, we believe that great brand identities are rooted in purpose, not just profit. That they focus on relationships, not transactions. And they live through movements, not campaigns.

We often ask our clients this simple question: What is the one thing you’d keep doing even if you didn’t get paid? The look on their faces is one of surprise and then reflection. Fiskateers supports spreading the love of scrapbooking. You can bet there are many folks within Fiskar’s walls who would and DO support that cause even without pay. Rage, the SC Teen Anti-tobacco movement supports and believes with all its heart in giving passionate teens a voice. And it’s working.

I used to preach this message to not-for-profits: Start acting like for profits: pay fairly for services, create a consistent message/identity…

Now in this message cluttered world of ours, companies/brands need to reflect on what they can learn from not for profits: put your causes and your passions front and center, love your supporter/customers…

Perhaps we have even more to learn from political movements.

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