3 Ways to Turn Your Brand into a Movement

By Jason Feifer via Entrepreneur

Little Spoon's Lisa Barnett has a strategy to turn customers into fans. It starts by reframing what your company stands for.

Lisa Barnett, cofounder and president of Little Spoon

Lisa Barnett sees a crowded future: more brands, more noise. “It’s going to be expensive for you to get customers, so how do you get people to care?” she says. She is cofounder and president of Little Spoon, a DTC startup that makes meals for kids and babies, and that word care is big to her. For a brand to stand out, Barnett says, it needs to inspire passion — and that means it should treat itself like a movement. “It’s rooted in a mission, and in solving and changing a reality you’re not happy with,” she says. Here’s how to make consumers feel that there’s something at stake:

1. Identify an enemy
Every movement has one. Brands should, too — whether it’s a competitor, an industry, or a paradigm. When Little Spoon launched, for example, it did so with the tagline “No more old baby food.” “You don’t want people to have to guess what you stand for,” Barnett says, “so an enemy is a great way to help people visualize this problem.” By tackling someone’s enemy, you’re their champion.

2. Release a manifesto
Promote your ideas as much as your products. You can do it with an essay on your own site or an op-ed somewhere else. Lululemon is a classic example. It launched with a manifesto that included phrases such as “Friends are more important than money,” then printed them on tote bags. “It was a way for people to start to indoctrinate into the philosophy of that brand,” Barnett says.

3. Build an on-ramp
Superfans aren’t created; they’re cultivated. “Give people little, easy ways to participate, and then you gradually get them further and further up the curve,” Barnett says. Little Spoon, for example, launched an online platform called “Is This Normal?,” where parents can get their burning questions answered. The more opportunities you create for engagement, the more people feel attached…and start telling others. “Over time, that’s your marketing channel,” she says. “These people are out there advocating for you. And that’s the goal.”