How to start a socially connected movement


A few weeks ago I attended the always inspirational annual World Innovation Forum held here in New York City. One of the speakers was Russell Stevens, partner at SS+K, one of the most imaginative, innovative, and widely acclaimed marketing and communications agencies in New York. Stevens is an expert in generating creative social engagement. He’s most famous for his role as the architect behind the social engagement strategy for both the Obama 2008 election campaign and Lance Armstrong’s original Livestrong campaign. During his talk Stevens gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the thinking and structure of both campaigns and what made them viral. He outlined a simple methodology which could be used by companies and community organizations alike to create a viral movement in today’s socially connected world. Here are the four phases of his new rules of engagement:


  • Find their passion points
  • Say something to inflame/excite them


  • Drive relevance by fueling discussion
  • Be a vehicle for their self expression


  • Consider people your best media
  • Empower them as spokespeople

4. OWN

  • Make it easy
  • Choreograph spontaneity
  • Empower them

Here’s video of Russell Stevens talking about how Obama won in 2008 with the help of a solid youth social engagement strategy.