7 MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
  
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7 MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE



Published On: August 25, 2014, by Neat Buzz, William Scott, North Carolina
Tag: Icebucketchallenge, Alsicebucketchallenge , Rating: 4.5

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7 MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE  | NEATBUZZ.COM

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge demonstrates the power of social media to influence cause marketing on a national scale. The Challenge was a perfect storm of social media, celebrity and grass-roots philanthropy, producing hurricane-strength viral social engagement during the dog days of summer.

Unlike a hurricane, the Challenge showed how social media can be harnessed, directed and managed for a social good. According to Facebook, between June 1 and August 17, over 28 million people have joined the conversation about the Ice Bucket Challenge including posting, commenting or liking a challenge post and 2.4 million videos related to the ice bucket challenge have been shared on the social network.

Even if we don’t see another social storm like this again, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge holds several important lessons for marketers trying to reverse engineer the secret of the ALS campaign’s remarkable success.



1

 

TIME IT RIGHT

 

The Challenge got underway in June and peaked in August. Its timing was perfect and it was a feel-good counterpoint to the images of violence in the Middle East and in Ferguson, Missouri that have dominated the nightly news cycle.

Summer is a popular time for vacations and many are able to enjoy a more relaxed work schedule. School is out and extended hours of sunlight allowed people to participate in the Challenge and video their super soaking after work. Plus, the nature of the Challenge matched the timing; an Ice Bucket Challenge would not have been as well received in winter. Anyone want pneumonia?

7 MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
  

2

 

MAKE IT PERSONAL

 

The idea of pouring ice-cold water on your head to raise awareness for a charity didn’t start out as an ALS dedicated awareness campaign. Yet, former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates, who has ALS, made it personal, leveraging his social network and a dedicated team of friends and family to spread the word.

7 MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
  

3

 

MIX IN A FEW CELEBRITIES

 

The promotion became viral after a few local celebrities and sport figures took up the challenge. Their huge following allowed the Challenge to explode out of Boston and expand nationally, organically, attracting an eclectic mix of A-list celebrities and famous faces who have risen to the Challenge.

And having some guy named Gates involved doesn’t hurt, either.

7 MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
  

4

 

KISS

 

Keep It Simple Stupid, or KISS, is the well-worn design principle stating that simple designs often perform better than complex ones. In the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the rules are simple. Accept the challenge and get drenched in ice water or donate to ALS. The challenger picks who gets challenged next. The three and four word hashtags (#IceBucketChallenge #ALSIceBucketChallenge) made it easy to remember and share.

7 MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
  

5

 

CONSIDER STREET CREDIBILITY

 

It was the “bet you won’t do that” schoolyard tease that added a playful touch of social stigma and self-consciousness to the cause marketing campaign. Who could possibly turn it down? Now that the Challenge has gained national exposure, it’s a point of pride and social standing to be challenged, adding to its widespread appeal.

7 MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
  

6

 

FOCUS ON THE GOAL

 

Although there has been some criticism about the tendency for a viral cause marketing campaign like this to encourage self-promotion and “slacktivism”, the charity is the ultimate beneficiary. The ALS Association has attracted hundreds of thousands of new and potential donors, receiving $41.8 million in donations from July 29 until August 21, compared to $2.1 million during the same period last year. With global awareness and a sizable war chest fueled by a flood of new donations, the Association is able to move one step closer to a cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease.

7 MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
  

7

 

REPUTATION MATTERS

 

If your business or charity is planning the next viral marketing campaign, your brand’s reputation will be the key to a successful campaign. The management team needs to be able to handle days or weeks of intense local and national media exposure. Businesses can protect their brand and take advantage of the spotlight with a proactive public relations strategy and a well-defined communications plan that precedes launching any marketing campaign.

Even if you are not able to replicate the next ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, “a shared commitment to charity and community, extending from the board room to the mailroom, can have a powerful positive impact on company reputation inside and outside the company,” explains Todd William, founder and CEO of Reputation Rhino, an online reputation management and marketing consultancy in New York City.

7 MARKETING LESSONS FROM THE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE
  
 

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is/was just a one-in-a-lifetime event, right? Under the right conditions, the perfect social media storm can be duplicated. There are many actionable lessons for marketing professionals looking to create the next social media sensation.


 



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