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CommuteCon 2018

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From Purpose to Change: How to Lead Conversations that Create a Better Planet

Simon Mainwaring
Founder & CEO
We First Branding

Session Description

Simon Mainwaring, the founder and CEO of We First Branding, joined us for a much-anticipated presentation on how to lead conversations that help move the planet toward a better future.

Mainwaring stresses that we live in what he calls an “age of movements.” Social media has proven to be an extremely effective new platform in mobilizing people dedicated to change, and this creates new, unique, and powerful opportunities for companies and brands to take a stand on important issues like transportation sustainability.

Social media is a particularly powerful platform when well-known figures and celebrities endorse specific movements, allowing those movements to enhance their mainstream visibility by collecting what he calls “communities of eyeballs.” Mainwaring also believes strongly that one of the best ways for a brand, company, or organization to position itself is by making a clear public statement about what it is against, rather than what it is for. The “age of movements” thrives on opposition, and defining oneself in terms of opposition is a strong social leadership strategy, as it helps create a sense of purpose.

In Mainwaring’s view, purpose drives growth. This growth can refer to the growth of a movement, to the growth of a company and its economic opportunities, or both.

A key part of the oppositional strategy is to “define one’s enemy.” This allows a movement or organization to publicize specific things it has done to fight that enemy, which in turn helps mobilize an even stronger support base.

Another key approach is to challenge prevailing norms. In business, this involves challenging the normal way an industry does things. This enables an organization to define and promote its unique appeal while supporting its oppositional strategy. It says, “We’re here to do things differently.” This inherently carves out a position of leadership.

These approaches help achieve Mainwaring’s third key objective: building a community. Driving change requires people to get on board in large numbers, and that’s something that can only be done by taking a stand, defining an enemy, taking action, challenging norms, and winning people over to your cause.

Be sure to view Mainwaring’s fascinating full presentation to learn more.