No one likes a really cold bath. It’s the shivering, the awful sensation of numbness, and the fears of deadly hypothermia that makes it a detested affair. Who in his right mind would dive in a pool of Arctic water anyway?
Well, athletes undergo cold water therapy in preparation for strenuous work. But in recent weeks, people from across the web have offered to douse themselves with cold water and record their psyched reactions for a very different reason – to raise awareness for a disabling muscle disease.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS is an illness that affects two people out of 100,000 a year. Highlighted by severe muscle atrophy, ALS is known to disable its victims.
As a sign of support to ALS sufferers, celebrities like Lady Gaga and ordinary people took on the Ice Bucket Challenge, which has become a viral phenomenon online.
The rules are clear: Ask a friend to take the challenge; if he doesn’t comply, he is urged to donate to the ALS Association; if he does, he is still urged to donate and ask other friends to also take the challenge.
To date, the trend saw at least $30 million in donations from drenched and freezing philanthropists across the globe.
And B2B online marketing players may wonder why such a simple (albeit outrageous) act would turn out to be a campaign of epidemic proportions.
We will only know the answer by knowing the factors that made the challenge that popular.
Ask, “What drives us?” The reason why the challenge became so popular was because it is driven by altruism and not just a whim to show off one’s tolerance to polar temperatures. Likewise, anchoring your online lead generation campaign on a specific platform demonstrates that your company is inclined to a mission broader than just the selling of certain products. So, when determining a campaign strategy, ask “What should be our top priority?”
Be Consumer-centric. Many social media users used it as an opportunity to voice out support for friends and relatives who have ALS. Perhaps, what made the ice bucket challenge so popular is the fact that it inspires people into action. Marketers must take note: Our job is not just to sell, but to make an impact on personal lives.
Think small; Go big. The challenge started when two New Yorkers used it as a way to raise money for ALS sufferers within their area. Online users then picked up their campaign and began drenching themselves silly with cold water in their own creative way before challenging their friends to follow suit. Social media has made it possible to turn little whispers into effective calls to action. And online marketers must make the first step of establishing a stable online presence.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge continues to rule the World Wide Web as a demonstration of social media’s ability to bind people together for a cause.
For B2B marketers, the challenge shows the potential results of an effective online campaign that focuses on a specific mission, considers the human side of the market, and the fact that initial investments no matter how small can snowball into hefty returns.