President Bush Takes The Challenge-USA Today
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been a PR campaign for the ages.
By now you have participated in your own challenge or at least seen one on video.
The Challenge consists of a friend, associate or colleague asking you to dump a bucket of ice water on your head within the next 24 hours or donate $100 to the ALS Foundation.
Many who take the challenge also donate to the charity. What started out as a small idea has turned into a nationwide movement. Everyone from a-list celebrities to former presidents to corporate executives has endured the ice bucket dump.
Most have even taped their challenge and posted it for viewing on YouTube, Facebook and other social media outlets.
The campaign has reached unparalleled levels of success.
Over 3 million have donated since the campaign was launched and over $100 million has been raised to combat ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
From a marketing and PR perspective, this is probably one of the great campaigns of the last 20 years.
Here’s why this worked…
A short analysis indicates the Challenge had five key elements that all worked seamlessly together.
- It benefits a worthy cause, even if many never heard of Lou Gehrig or ALS.
- Timing was perfect. It took place during the hot summer months when people are looking to cool off.
- It’s easy to execute. Dumping an ice bucket on your head is an easy task that nearly everyone can do.
- It’s fun. Sure you get a jolt from the icy water but everyone gets a good laugh watching you get soaked.
- It’s visual. Perfect for social media, and, in the case of celebrities, television news. The high visibility enabled the Challenge to gain momentum and generate a life of its own.
Business owners and marketing executives would love nothing more to create a virtual event on-par with the ALS effort, and surely many are spending numerous hours thinking about something they can create that can go viral. Yet, the chances of developing something with this type of reach and momentum is extremely rare.
Instead, businesses wishing to create a highly memorable campaign should utilize their time more efficiently by focusing on their core audience. What it is that truly inspires their customers?
Once you have ascertained what it is that drives your customers to do business with you and your firm, you can plug-in the five key elements that made the ALS Challenge a success.
Your campaign should focus on…
- Who will benefit?It should be something of value that helps your customers know that their participation contributes to the greater good.
- Timing is everything.Schedule your campaign during peak buying times and when awareness is heightened. After all, would the Ice Bucket Challenge have worked in the winter?
- Keep it simple.Your customers don’t have time to go on a scavenger hunt or spend hours trying to decipher something overly complicated.
- Make it fun.People like being challenged as long as they can attain results in a timely fashion.
- Make it visual. If you can create a campaign that can be taped and played out on social sites, or at the very least photographed, the chances of creating a memorable event will increase tenfold.