hand holding a megaphone in front of a lime green background

May 19, 2022

How to Turn Your Message into a Movement in Eight Steps 

Many teams set out to share a message with the world, but not many set out to ignite a movement. A message is typically one-way communication to an intended audience while a movement engages a larger group of people and is driven by purpose, passion, and a desire to change the world.  

Here are the eight steps to turning your message into a movement:  

  1. Define your purpose 
  2. Craft a purpose story 
  3. Rally the troops 
  4. Integrate purpose with marketing 
  5. Enable engagement 
  6. Determine when to use your voice 
  7. Rinse and repeat 
  8. Lean into your brand 

Define your purpose 

Simon Sinek once said, “People don’t buy what you do — they buy why you do it.”

To understand your purpose, you need to craft a purpose statement. A purpose statement defines the reason your organization exists and illustrates how you positively impact those you serve.  

It’s different from mission and vision statements in these ways:  

  • Your purpose statement is externally focused, not internally focused 
  • A purpose statement is ruthlessly short whereas a mission/vision statement may be a few sentences 
  • Your purpose statement should be something that anyone can memorize and repeat because it resonates that much with your target audience 

At KidGlov, our purpose is “to put a megaphone in front of those who are doing good.”

This statement is the reason we exist and perfectly illustrates the fact that we positively impact the world by amplifying the voices of those who are doing good: nonprofits, social impact movements, healthcare organizations, financial institutions, and purpose-driven businesses. 

It’s short, understandable, easily repeatable, and many find it inspirational. 

Define your purpose and craft your purpose statement before you move on to creating your purpose story. 

Craft a purpose story

Bring your purpose to life by creating a purpose story that’s emotional and entertaining because you’re going to tell it again and again. Be sure to weave in your newly created purpose statement. 

Here’s KidGlov’s purpose story:  

As an advertising agency, we’re in a hypercompetitive business. All agencies claim to have breakthrough creative, smart strategies and amazing customer service. 

In order to break through ourselves, a few years ago we brought our whole team together to brainstorm a space where we could be “best in the world.”  

We collectively decided we were at our best when we were working for clients who are changemakers who make positive impact. Every day we come to work — eager to be the people helping the people who change the world. 

Out of that our purpose statement was born. We put a megaphone in front of those who are doing good through our daily work of advertising, marketing and branding — we also do it with our Agency for Change podcast. 

Now, craft your own purpose story and make sure it’s memorable and interesting.

Rally the troops 

According to a 2019 Gartner study, 87% of employees want their employer to take a stand on issues relevant to their business. 

The first step of taking a stand is rallying the troops and sharing your purpose statement with your internal audiences. “The troops” refer to a core group of internal stakeholders that can serve as a middleman between you as a market and the audiences you want to engage with. This includes internal leaders, managers, employees, board members, partners, donors, and advocates.

At KidGlov, our employees are our troops. We rally them by talking about our purpose all the time, we share weekly messages in our standup meetings, and we have internal signage. Lastly, we intentionally link it back to policies, practices, and standards within the agency.

“95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious.” -Harvard Professor, Gerald Zaltman 

When your purpose is done well, it intrigues your audience’s subconscious beyond the typical features and benefits copy, and it becomes more emotional and personal. From there, you can start to integrate your purpose into your marketing materials.

Integrate purpose with marketing

Take a moment and think about what your messaging and marketing strategy is for your organization. If you don’t have one, start there and create one. 

If you already have a messaging and marketing strategy, think about the marketing materials you produce. How can you incorporate or redesign them with your new purpose statement? Or should you go back to the drawing board and dream up new ideas for ways to integrate your purpose?

At KidGlov, we reinforce our purpose in all of our marketing materials, including swag. We even formed a podcast called Agency for Change that fully supports our purpose statement. 

Enable engagement

If you want to start a movement, you have to allow flexibility for your stakeholders to get involved in your brand. These are words no marketer wants to hear, but it’s true.  

Your job is to maintain quality, consistency, and integrity with your brand, however bringing in stakeholders that care can help your efforts.

Here are some examples of enabling engagement:  

  • Working with social media influencers 
  • Providing shareable content 
  • Encouraging user-generated content 

By giving up some of the control, you increase the engagement and advocacy exponentially because your audience has a higher degree of ownership.  

Determine when to use your voice  

70% of consumers want to know what the brands they support are doing to effect good in the world. -Markstein Report.  

In years past, organizations have opted to stay quiet about social issues to avoid controversy. Today, silence often speaks louder than words so it’s important to know when to speak out and how you can meaningfully add to the conversation.  

Here are three guidelines and questions that can help you determine when to speak up:  

  1. Does this issue align with our purpose? If the answer is yes, move to the second question.
  2. Can we add to the conversation in a meaningful way? If you want to speak out, but don’t have accurate information or meaningful talking points, it’s not the right time. Also, if you try to make an issue all about your organization, you can suffer a huge blowback.
  3. Will our audience generally agree? You will never get 100% agreement, but if the majority of your audience will agree with your stance, you should craft your message plan.  

This will feel uncomfortable at first, but as you get more practice, you’ll be able to look ahead and be intentional about when to use your brand’s voice for the greater good.  

Here are more resources in the meantime:  

Believe us, the time will come when your organization needs to speak up on key issues. Be prepared to do so strategically and appropriately.  

Rinse and repeat 

The final step to creating a movement is to rinse and repeat. Once you implement all of these steps, you aren’t finished! Evaluate your results, optimize, and refine your strategy to get better and better.  

Bonus: Determine when to use your voice 

The strongest brands have the greatest marketing success. Why is that? Well, if you have a strong brand, you can command a higher price, ward off competitive threats, set the stage for a positive internal culture and improve recruiting.  

Strong nonprofit brands:  

  • Move people toward your mission 
  • Up-level your fundraising 
  • Set the stage for a positive culture and improved recruiting 

When we say “brand,” we’re referring to how these elements work in tandem:  

  • Name 
  • Logo 
  • Tagline 
  • Messaging 
  • Graphic Identity 
  • Advertising 
  • Customer Experience 
  • Purpose or Cause

That’s it: create a strong brand and lean into it for every step in turning your message into a movement. 

Want to know more? We have a free video with even more tips for turning your message into a movement.

Learn More

KidGlov is a full service, boutique marketing agency and certified B Corp with offices in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, specializing in nonprofit marketing, healthcare marketing, financial marketing, social impact marketing, and purpose-driven businesses