How to Start a Movement or Market your Design Proposition

Derek Sivers, whom I have had the pleasure to meet recently, shares in a short TED snippet advice on “How to Start a Movement”. What was very interesting was his key insight between the relationship of the leader and his first follower. Derek says: “It was really the first follower that transformed the lone nut into a leader”. Indeed without the first follower, the leader is just a Lone Ranger raving at the top of his soapbox.
I immediately saw the potential of reframing this insight as an opportunity to better shape the marketing activities around of our design propositions.
Traditional marketing (or business) strategy often celebrates the Alpha Consumer as a key influencer. As a result, precious few marketing dollars are spend wooing them, assuming that the followers will come after we get this Alpha Consumer on board. However from Derek’s anecdotal analysis, we can see that perhaps it is the first few followers, instead of the Alpha consumer, that have the power to actually get products to move. This makes a lot of sense. As I have found many times, followers often admire the choices Alpha Consumers make, but not necessary follow their lead with similar purchases.

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