Like most of you, I have spent the last week or so inundated with Ice Bucket challenge videos. Friends of mine who range in age from 4-70+ have filmed themselves pouring buckets of ice cold water, beer, and other fluids over their heads. Yesterday, George and Laura Bush joined in the fun. Why has this phenomena moved so many people to action? Is it the idea of drawing attention to ALS, a horrible disease that heretofore has been more or less ignored by funding sources? We all know that’s not the answer. Although, as of this writing the challenge has raised 23 million for ALS and there appears to be no end in sight to the legions willing to participate. Is the challenge a bad thing? Of course not. Anything that unites our communities in the pursuit of something good is not bad, no matter how many pundits call it a frivolous, narcissistic, ploy on the part of the dumpers to draw attention to their largesse. A sense of community and fun connected with giving makes people more inclined to give. So why is the ice bucket challenge spreading like wildfire? Amanda E. Sirianni in an insightful article posted on LinkedIn subtitled, “10 Lessons Marketers Can Learn From The Latest Digital Splash,” has crafted an excellent answer. The success of the challenge comes from creating a shared experiential story that the consumer, or in this case the donor, can add to, mold to their own purposes, and pass on to others. It is in the best sense of the word, “Show don’t tell.” Ms.Sirianni enumerates how the challenge followed this recipe for building community and interaction. 1. The value lies not in the idea, but in the doing. 2. To ignite a social epidemic, flare up human involvement. 3. Transform consumers from the user, to the storyteller. 4. Think of a story as your currency for connection. 5. Evolve from creating pictures and words, to creating experiences. 6. Masterfully connect story and experience. 7. Employ technology as your enabling tool. 8. Simplicity matters. 9. …But normalcy is overrated. 10. And lastly, every great story starts somewhere. Take these measures of good brand storytelling and lay them next to your own marketing efforts.
- Are you connecting your clients and consumers with your products on an emotional level?
- Have you made them part of the narrative in the way that Pillsbury, Dove, and Motorola successfully have?
- Have you stopped using business gobbley-gook, and endless meaningless charts and graphs in your pitches and moved to immersive hands-on customer-centric experiences as sales tools?
- Have you stepped out of your comfort zone, of “same old, same old,” in the way you dress, talk, and relate to your clients?