Uprising: How to Build a Brand–and Change the World–By Sparking Cultural Movements by Scott Goodson promises to help your master the tools of social media and the new global communications market place to start a movement behind your cause. Well, in this case, most of what Goodson addresses is commercial marketing as a cause.
While much of what Goodson teaches is useful, there are some glaring flaws in his arguments. This first problem I had is that he uses the Occupy Wall Street movement as a successful case study of a grass roots movement affecting change. The difficulty with this, at least at the moment, is that while the OWS movement exhibited a lot of sound and fury, but has seemingly not accomplished much. I wonder if this was just a view I had, but I asked a number of friends, most liberal like I am, and they all had to admit that while the OWS was a great idea, it seems to have accomplished very little. Well, unless you could trashing parks as an accomplishment.
Secondly, to defend his argument that these types of movements can be motivated towards brand marketing, he holds up Apple as an example. Just as I was an OWS sympathizer I am also an Apple fan boy. But, Apple is a special case and is not an easily replicable example. Just ask Microsoft. While people will line up for hours waiting for an Apple store to open, I can’t remember anyone ever lining up for the release of a Microsoft product. Maybe the Xbox or Halo video game? Perhaps the only other store that has people lining up for its opening is Trader Joe’s or Chick-Fil-A. But neither one of those has a stock cap of over $600 and the international brand recognition of Apple. And in Chick-Fil-A’s case it is because they are bribing the first 100 people with free meals for a year. Take those meals away, and no one would line up.
This is not to say this is a bad book. This review is coming off extremely negative, and for that I am sorry. I really enjoyed the book and the object lessons Goodson writes. The examples and methodologies it contains are valuable and they are easy lessons to read and grasp. They are harder lessons to carry out however. And more importantly, they are methodologies and viewpoints that are very hard to instill in an organization unless they were there from the start – and were there as the raison d’etre from the beginning. Steve Jobs did not retrofit his goals to the company. He set out from the beginning to change the world.
So, read the book. Take it to heart. Pass it on to others in your organizations. But don’t expect to be the next Apple unless you already have implemented everything in the book before you even read it.
Note: The publisher gave me a copy of this book for the purpose of. There were no strings attached, and that gratis review copy in no way swayed my opinions towards this work.