Inspirational Owners: January 2006
Approximately 50,000 members of the Surfrider Foundation have an intersecting interest in protecting oceans, waves and beaches. CEO, Jim Moriarty, speaks with us about the Surfrider Foundation and why this Lovemark matters.
Lovemarks: Why do you think people love your organization?
Jim Moriarty: No matter where they live, people generally have some sort of affinity with the beach. The notion of relaxing on some quiet strip of beach, with their toes dug in to the warm sand and crystal blue waves lapping up on shore still appeals to people. Sadly, that reality is getting harder to find ¯ which is why Surfrider Foundation exists. People love our organization because we protect the dream or vision of what a beach and waves should be.
LMKS: Lovemarks is premised on the Love/Respect Axis and attaining both High Love and High Respect. How do you relate this idea to the way Surfrider works from day to day?
JM: We’ve earned our respect by achieving twenty years of victories. We’re not abstract. What we do is substantive. It’s one thing to talk about making a difference and another thing to actually make a difference. We’re authentic and people react to that. People love us for much of the same reason. Our activists are out there. We are touching people where they live.
LMKS: Shared experiences show us where we belong and who cares about us. Do you have an inspirational experience that you often use to show how you feel about your organization and why it’s so special to you?
JM: Surfrider Foundation is fuelled by ordinary people who have become extraordinary. One of our Ventura activists, Paul Jenkins, is leading the charge to take down a 200 foot damn and restore local fish populations, free tons of sand to replenish the beach, etc. Another example is our chapter activists in New York City, who worked to overturn a law from the 1800s that made it illegal to surf or even just walk along the shoreline of Rockaway Beach during certain times of the year.
LMKS: Inspirational Consumers have been described as the people who, without any prompting, tell other people about the business you’re in and what it is doing for them. These savvy people take their Love of a brand very seriously indeed. Can you recall any encounters you’ve had where a member gave you a new insight to the rationale of both your business and your marketing?
JM: For me, the ultimate example was a soldier from Ohio, who was stationed in Iraq. Not only did he write us to let us know how much our organization meant to him, he sent letters to just about everyone he knew asking them to join our organization and get involved in coastal protection efforts. Here is a guy literally on the front line and he’s using his “influence capital” to push people to support us.
LMKS: Aside from your own organization, there may be other businesses operating in other categories that you consider have the edge it takes to be a “Lovemark in Action”. Can you name 2 companies, and what you Love and Respect most about them?
JM: Patagonia is in this category because they are writing a book on the delicate balance of running a business that is environmentally sensitive. They are proving that “environmental business” doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. Linux, because it is open source, free, scalable and not buggy ¯ all the things Microsoft isn’t. Linux is a social movement and not a limited monarchy with severe restrictions.
LMKS: What are 5 of your Lovemarks?
JM: Patagonia, Surfers Journal, The Clash, Eames furniture, Mozilla Firefox