The Ice Bucket Challenge was, and still is, a brand awareness and fundraising campaign that has turned into a movement. Powered by a video challenge that was designed to be spread to the masses through social media, the Ice Bucket Challenge’s goal was to educate others about ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, while raising money. Pete Frates, a former baseball player for Boston College and now, a 29-year-old father and husband battling ALS, wanted to change the face of the non-curable and somewhat forgotten disease.
Pete Frates created The Ice Bucket Challenge and the result, millions have been educated about the disease and well over $100 million has been raised for research efforts. To put what has happened into perspective, as of September 2014, $111 million has been raised thus far, which is a 3,500% increase from the $2.8 million that the ALS Association raised during the same time period last year. And web searches on Wikipedia regarding ALS had grown 18 fold in mere weeks.
Because of social media, and a unique idea to prompt the world to challenge others to participate, The Ice Bucket Challenge is no longer an ALS awareness and fundraising campaign, it’s the new awareness campaign benchmark. So how can you come up with the next Ice Bucket Challenge? Here are five tips on creating a social movement.
1. Be passionate about your goal. Whether you are wanting to launch a new product or raise awareness and funds for a cause you care about, you must be passionate if you want to achieve Ice Bucket status. If you believe in what you are doing, others will too!
2. Schedule time to plan. Brainstorm with a group that includes, but is not limited to your marketing team members. Host open sessions where you can hear why this effort is important to each person in the organization, and why it is important, in their opinion, to the end user. Taking the time to weigh the “what ifs” of numerous scenarios could lead you to the next Ice Bucket Challenge. You might not be the person with the passion, you might find it elsewhere within your group. Remember: no idea is a bad idea.
3. Choose your social media platform. Launch your campaign on the platform that gives you the strongest and loudest voice to your target audience. There are many ways to get your message out to the masses, but social media has created a new avenue that, as proven with The Ice Bucket Challenge, can serve is your primary path to the world. Social media enables all of us to tell our story to all who will listen.
4. Utilize influencers to spread the word. So you have created the idea and you are launching the campaign on Twitter because your audience is there, now what? Do think because you built it they will come. You must look for influencers to share your story. Target those who are connected to your cause or who have the attention of others. This can include local figures, celebrities, corporations and also the news media.
5. Create a campaign that people will want to take part in. If Pete Frates would have created the ALS Awareness Challenge and he asked everyone he knew to retweet a link to a fundraising site, those who knew him would do it and the cause would have organically grown slowly. But Frates came up with an idea that played upon visually showing others that you cared and you would not only participate, but also donate, and would then call upon others to take part. Peer pressure is alive more today than ever due to social media, and Pete Frates figured out a plan to capitalize upon that.