Defining our Climate Movement Brand(s)

Part two of my series on how adopting a “Challenger Brand” mentality can help the movement to stop climate change.

Before we go into the Challenger Brand credos laid out in “Eating the Big Fish,” we need to understand what exactly is the “brand” part of “Challenger Brand?”

Definition of Brand.  Brand used to simply mean the name given to a product or service, but now it has morphed into generally speaking, the consumer’s perception of your company or of a specific product. This perception can be based on values, quality, price, etc.  Seth Godin has a good definition:

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.

Considering those definitions, let’s try to figure out what our brand is in the climate movement.

Brand Description Strength Weakness Target Audience Best “Product”
Brand A Expert scientists or science-based groups Knowledge Communication Govt’, Intellectuals Reports, Statistics, Facts
Brand B Left wing activists fighting against “the man,” especially college age students. Passion Credibility Youth, deep greens Call to Action, Organizing
Brand C Serious policy wonks, politicians, and political insiders Access Vanilla Politicians, partisan elites Talking Points for Leaders
Brand D Renewable energy companies Economic Dev Financial Motives Geo targeted by jobs, business elite Economic argument
Brand E Wealthy individuals, actors, musicians, and other well-known celebrities Broad reach Credibility Youth, business elite Hipness
Brand F Other “progressive” type businesses Unique Voice Knowledge of issue Their consumers, politicians Hipness

There’s No Use Arguing

Here’s a reminder to my friends and colleagues in the saving-the-world work of fighting climate change – know your audience! Don’t bother arguing about climate change with people who think it’s a hoax or some plot to turn the world socialist. They will never be convinced to do the right thing. As a real-world lesson on this, allow me to share a recent Facebook exchange I had with my cousin’s friend. My cousin would never call himself a tea party guy, but his FB posts are filled with hatred for Obama, liberals, and environmentalists. I normally ignore most of his posts, but unfortunately took the bait this time. My cousin’s friend, apparently, is even more to the fringe. A recent post on his FB page has the headline, “New Evidence Reveals Obama and Hillary Found Conspiring to End Criticism of Islam in America.”

After reading the debate, I hope you draw the same conclusions I did:

  1. I need to ignore my cousin’s Facebook rants.
  2. We should NEVER engage the deniers in debate. It doesn’t get anywhere, unless it’s in front of an audience of persuadable people, but even then is likely not worth it.
  3. Their knowledge is only surface level. If any of us has even a small amount of actual knowledge, they are very easy to defeat.
  4. Al “Bore” is a great straw man character to create (I got dibs!).

I’m interested in hearing other conclusions we can draw from this, if any.

Out of privacy concerns, I’ve renamed my cousin and his friend, picking at random from a names dictionary I came up with Cousin Cletus and his friend Goober.

I’ll take a little Editor’s prerogative and point out that my mention of the ice melting in 100 years refers to Antarctica, not the polar ice caps. Otherwise, here’s the debate  exactly as it happened, with links to content as well.

Cletus shared a link via The Daily Caller.

June 13

SHHHHHH ! ! ! ! !


Study: West Antarctic Glacier Melt Due To Volcanoes, Not Global Warming

A new study by researchers at the University of Texas, Austin found that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is collapsing due to geothermal heat, not man-made global warming….

Top of Form

Goober:  AL effing Gore SAID the ice sheet would be melted by 2014 DUE TO carbon emissions. All you ever here from people who support this hoax when antithetical science is published that totally skewers the idea is “yeah well that doesn’t matter”. Its still……..fart.

June 13 at 9:13am ·

Gary Skulnik Amazing how the media can distort science. If you check out the press release from the actual scientists who did the study (and published it in the Proceedings of the Natl Academy of Science), you’d see that they don’t come anywhere near to the conclusion that a) global warming isn’t happening bc of man-made emissions, and b) global warming has nothing to do with the glacier’s ice melt.

June 13 at 10:27am ·

Gary Skulnik Check it out here:…/06/10/antarctic-glacier-melting/

Researchers Find Major West Antarctic Glacier Melting from Geothermal Sources | News

Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it?s

June 13 at 10:27am ·

Gary Skulnik In fact, from their press release: “Knowledge of the heat distribution beneath Thwaites Glacier is crucial information that enables ice sheet modelers to more accurately predict the response of the glacier to the presence of a warming ocean.”

June 13 at 10:28am ·

Gary Skulnik Anyway, this paper’s publishing should dispel one myth at least – that anybody who “contradicts” the global warming conspiracy scientists and their illuminati allies will get “silenced.” These guys got published in one of the journals that is the engine, which runs the global warming “myth” machine. Hmmm… I guess the chief censor was asleep at the wheel the day they submitted the paper, or maybe he took a bribe of some really good sprouts, tofu and wheat germ.

June 13 at 10:31am ·

Goober: Amazing how MSNBC (the media) can distort science. Agreed.

June 13 at 11:01am ·

Goober:  weather patterns and hurricanes have been sited. I cited (due to what? Empirical research) there hasn’t been a major hurricane in the Atlantic in 8 years. Al Bore, via his information, cited the ice sheets would be GONE in 2014 and sea levels could increase as hight as 3 feet. The Northeast and Midwest just had one of the coldest winters on record. Then evidence comes out that a big chunk of the cap melting is due to geothermal volcanism. Then the other ice cap has seen to expand at a huge rate. Yet, the opposing view is dismissed.

June 13 at 12:04pm ·

Gary Skulnik wow, Goober, this Al Bore guy sounds like a whack job. Somebody should lock him up before he causes more harm. Strange, but his name sounds a lot like the former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore. Maybe they are connected like the way Superman is connected with Bizzaro Superman. You know, where everything is the opposite of our world? Al Gore – “global warming will cause the ice sheets to melt by the end of the century (ie. 2100).” Al Bore -“the ice sheets will melt by 2014!” Al Gore – “climate change due to ghg emissions will cause extreme weather patterns, but generally there will be a significant warming trend over the planet.” Al Bore – “you’ll never see a cold winter again!!” Al Gore – “the extreme weather conditions that will result from global warming may cause hurricanes to grow in intensity and frequency over time.” Al Bore – “we’ll be hit by 100 hurricanes a year on the eastern seaboard of the United States!”

June 13 at 12:32pm ·

Goober:  Al Gore Warns Polar Ice May Be Gone in Five Years: Very clever. But NO

Al Gore Warns Polar Ice May Be Gone in Five Years

Complete video at:… See More

June 13 at 1:02pm · Like

Goober:…/florida…/ And that should say ATLANTIC hurricanes. Very clever. But NO

Florida Hurricane Strikes In Sharp Decline

NOAA records going back to the 1850s show that Florida used to average about one…

June 13 at 1:04pm ·

Goober…/record-breaking…/24831365 Yeah we know. Its DUE TO warming. Got it.

One of the Coldest Winters in 20 Years Shatters Snow Records

Record-breaking temperature lows and snowfall totals mount as parts of the country remain in the stranglehold of winter’s icy grasp.

June 13 at 1:06pm ·

Goober: This is the best one where there is actual debate and no hysterical lies. It refutes a renound hurricane meteorologist with some others. Instead of silly diatribe

Are Category 4 and 5 hurricanes increasing in number? | Weather Underground

In September 2005, a paper published in Science magazine reported that worldwide… See More

June 13 at 1:29pm · Edited ·

Goober:  And one more since this is so much fun. Huge I’ve blocks were found floating in lake superior this week That may last well into the summer. But hey….Bizzaro

June 13 at 1:32pm · Like

Gary Skulnik Goober, indeed this has been fun and a good learning experience for me. Thanks for that. Out of respect for you, I clicked on all the links you sent and read them. After getting past the “ignorance of Barrack Obama” link and something about fighting the Borg on Steven Goddard’s “scientific” web site, I found nothing I didnt already know. The accuweather link also told me something I know, it was a cold winter. Finally, your last link looked like it might actually be a real scientific debate and I welcome that. The question of recent hurricane activity and global warming is unsettled, clearly, but there’s a lot less doubt about future activity. Of course, in the end, we are lighting a match to an infinitely complex system and hoping the results are ok. I’d rather not take that gamble.

June 13 at 1:44pm ·

Gary Skulnik Oh, but one last thing before I go (i will be out of pocket for a few hours, so have at it!)… the “Al Gore warns polar ice may be gone in five years” – did you listen to the clip or just read the headline? First, he’s talking about polar ice, as in the north pole, which indeed is heading towards being completely ice free within the next few years. There’s no debate on that. But secondly, he cites one scientist who based on his observations says the ice MAY be gone by 2014, but then in the next sentence he cites another scientist who says the ice may be gone by 2030. I know, it’s more fun to talk about Al Bore saying stupid shit, but that doesnt make it actually true in the real world.

June 13 at 1:49pm ·

Goober:  After that whopper of tale about the south pole (Editor’s Note – what whopper is he talking about? Al Gore’s comments were on the North pole), why should he or his sources be taken seriously. The North Pole had a massive loss in 2005, and then it stopped. It has not really shrunk since then, except for brief period in 2007 i think it said. Goddard? He cited the NOAA, which directly disputes your claim and Gore’s claim about storms. So what is it that you “dont already know”. (you didnt address the points, but contradicted yourself a tad) Then you said he said something about the year 2100, which contradicts both of his claims. (as the Southern ice cap area increases, though they dont know if that will be a quick melt yet). And to beclear I do believe there is something going on, because science has indeed shown temp increases. It the degree of man made input i hav an issue with.


Three Things You Won’t Hear Today but Should Pay Attention To

There will be much of the predictable back-and-forth today about the EPA’s new proposed rules to cut carbon emissions from power plants. The media analysis will of course use the crutch of the “he-said/she-said” meme to cover the issue. There will be the mentions of the studies that say these new rules will kill the economy, countered with the studies that say the rules will help the economy. There will be the look at coal-state Democrats running for election and how they react to the new rules. And given that President Obama is heading off to Europe, there will be a look at how the world is reacting to the news that the U.S. is actually doing something about climate change. Once the sound and fury subsides a bit, and the media goes on to the next story, what should we be looking for?

  1. What happens with Keystone?

The cynic will say that now that President Obama has done this great thing to fight climate change, he’ll tack back the other way in the run-up to this year’s election by approving the Keystone Pipeline. Conservative Democrats will use that as a victory to push them over the top on election day. I may be naïve, but I’m hopeful that President Obama will stay consistent and block Keystone once and for all. The question is whether he’ll do it before the elections or afterwards. If he does it soon, he’d be creating a narrative that he’s taking multiple steps to fight climate change, which will be cheered by green-minded voters and the groups that represent us. I believe it would do more to rally the base than anything else. The effects of this on the positive side would more than outweigh any potential drawbacks, politically. And of course it’s the right thing to do. If you believe, as the President has stated, that climate change is a mortal threat to our children and future generations, it’s tough to defend approval for a pipeline that will bring the dirtiest fossil fuels to our country.

  1. How does the next Democratic Presidential nominee campaign on these rules?

Unfortunately, the President had to take action on climate outside of the legislative process, which means that future Presidents will have a lot to say about whether these rules stick or not. The immediate next President is the most important in this equation. It’s like dieting in a way. It’s one thing to lose the pounds, but it’s quite another to keep them off. Putting the rules in place is great, but keeping them in place will sit squarely on the shoulders of the next Administration. Assuming the Republicans won’t nominate anybody who supports these rules, our only hope is that the Democrat nominee does. To that end, it’s vital that we watch what Ms. Clinton, VP Biden, Mr. O’Malley, or any other potential nominees say now, and in the near future about the EPA rules. We have got to put a lot of effort into ensuring that the next Democratic Presidential nominee is an iron-clad supporter of the rules to cut carbon emissions from power plants.

  1. What actions do forward thinking businesses take to take advantage of new business opportunities from the rules?

This may take a few years to play out. Initially there will be uncertainty in the business world about whether these rules will stick or not. Once it becomes clear, hopefully, that they will stick, you’ll see businesses look for how the rules create new lucrative opportunities. The usual suspects are in the wind, solar and renewable world. But in order for these rules to be around for the long term, and to even get strengthened, we will need to see other industries and verticals step in. The rules could act as a spur for energy efficiency, new smart grid applications, energy storage, apps that change consumer behavior, and things we cannot even think of right now. The fact that the Maryland Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) brought in so many new solar companies and their offshoots has done much to solidify the law and fend off attacks. The same needs to happen for these rules. Let’s see some innovation spring forth from the business world.