After reading this article: Was Occupy Wallstreet A PR Failure? I have begun to wonder about how successful social movements are sustained and in what ways Public Relations can keep a movement going.
What happens after the initial excitement dies down? How do you keep your message alive?
These are important questions to consider for any PR campaign. The evaluation process is critical in order to learn from the challenges and move forward with your messaging; maybe even into a new direction.
At the end of the article, the author asks readers to consider, “Beyond political affiliations, what are your thoughts on the history and management of the Occupy movement? From a public image perspective, what do supporters need to do to continue pushing their message–and to make sure that message leads to real political action?”
Analyzing the Occupy movement is interesting because on its website, Occupy Wall Street (OWS) describes itself as a “leaderless resistance movement” drawn from people of all backgrounds and political persuasions. Without leadership, it is difficult to maintain a clear and consistent message. Critics argue that the OWS agenda was largely incoherent. The movement itself did not attempt to advance its ideas into mainstream American, nor did it attempt to push the political agenda in any direction. What it did do was spark a movement that spread across North America and challenged the public to discuss income equality and the damaging effects of wide-scale financial criminal activity.
The movement has not been sustained. With no clear message, no leadership, no real agenda, and no champion to follow, the Occupy movement has dwindled away, out of the public eye, and out of our minds.
In order for the ideologies of the movement to be maintained, the core structure must change. Leadership needs to be established from within the movement in order to gain credibility. Spokespeople need to stand up and partnerships need to be formed with other organizations that stand for the same values. It will take a lot more work to move the Occupy movement into a new direction, towards political action. The final step would be to elect a certifiable political candidate.
The strength of any movement depends on the people and the message behind it.