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The words “manufacture” and “organic/grass roots” are very purposefully used.  How can you be organic and manufactured at the same time?  This is precisely the issue I wish to explore.

In the world of emerging or niche movements – for me and my business parkour – authenticity is everything.  If you’re not on the inside, your motives are immediately suspect.  In this case rightly so.  I want to jump on the bandwagon, stake my claim, establish early market share.  You can’t do this without somehow convincing the movement that you are “one of them.”

In short, I’d say the only way to accomplish this is to actually become “one of them.”

The easiest and most practical way to do this is by hiring insiders.  Instant credibility.  I like to talk about my”champions” when it comes to different movements.  Having an inside champion achieves multiple goals simultaneously:

  1. Outside credibility through the appearance of authenticity
  2. An insider champion that cares about the movement and will work tirelessly for you for their cause.
  3. Better insight and knowledge into the movement itself

There are two drawbacks to this approach.  You must first convince the champion to join your cause.  In some cases, simply money can be used to win them over.  Many of these champions struggle and sacrifice for their movement.  To be able to further their movement with the financial stability of working for you can be very appealing.  In others, educating them is necessary.  Many champions are idealistically naive to what they can accomplish outside the “system”.  The fact of the matter is that you must conform to business norms to have access to capital, real estate, business partners, etc.

The second drawback is an ironic twist of becoming authentic in the process of trying to fake being authentic.  You can argue if this is good or bad but it is a change in business direction and this must be considered.  Change is fine but you want to make sure you stay in control of your business and not wake up one day with a completely different business model.