Is Occupy Wall Street An Effective Change Platform?

Say what you want about the Occupy Wall Street movement, but we can surely agree it has garnered attention and sparked debate. The question is why. Why has the Occupy Wall Street movement — and the related activities it has spawned — tapped our interest and emotions? What is there to learn from this change platform?

I can tell you I have questions about the movement, especially its beginnings. Were people hired to protest? Where the protestors put in place by a powerful, quietly controlling organization? Is the march on Wall Street a made-for-media event not unlike that depicted in the brilliant film, Wag The Dog? I wonder.

What I don’t wonder about is why we have been drawn into this explosive issue.

Like any smart positioning platform, the Occupy Wall Street movement has tapped into something fundamentally important to many of us — the state of the economy and what it means to us personally. We might have our different opinions about it, but one thing’s for certain: The movement has become a lightening rod for how we feel about how things are — our individual and collective economic circumstances, what caused us to get into this precarious place, and how we can get out of it.

For some, there is extreme dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. For others, there’s a defensiveness about being seen as the cause. For others still there’s relief, perhaps even delight, in not being personally ensnared in the downward spiral of a global economy that’s sucking wind. No matter which camp you’re in, the movement is purposefully and effectively drawing our attention to what is arguably the most important issue of our times.

Smart positioning — especially positioning for a change platform — is about being four things:

  1. Relevant
  2. Powerful
  3. Differentiating/Unique
  4. Authentic

Being relevant is about focusing on an issue that’s personally important to your audience. Being powerful is about focusing on the issue that’s most relevant to your audience. Being different is about carving out a unique point of view, sometimes in relation to one that already exists and sometimes one that is controversial. Being authentic is about being real.

You can position around the first three, but not have your platform be true. If you’re inauthentic, you’ll do more damage than if you were honest in the first place because people will eventually uncover the truth. But, if your platform is authentic — especially if it’s about a fundamental truth and your point-of-view is compelling — then you have the opportunity to unleash emotions because most people will respond in one way or another when they feel something.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is an effective change platform because its core issue is not only highly relevant it’s real. Its point-of-view on who’s to blame may be controversial, but the movement has successfully sparked the debate that is shining a spotlight on the economy.

The economy is precarious. Jobs are illusive. Money is tight. The future is uncertain. Families and businesses are nervous. Many are suffering. Political rhetoric, let alone proposed solutions, aren’t satisfactory. People need resolution and answers now.

What happens as a result of the Occupy Wall Street Movement remains to be seen. What’s clear now is that all sorts of people are finally focused on it and talking about it.

What change platform are you trying to drive?

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