Replicating ALS' Ice Bucket Challenge Success? What motivates people.

Posted by Vince Poscente on Wed, Aug 27, 2014 @ 03:00 AM

A number of marketing minds wondering the same thing about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, "How can we create similar success for our cause?" 

The Challenge has raised nearly $42 million to support research into Lou Gehrig’s disease. Heck, there are people doing the challenge without a clue about ALS. Celebrities are looking at creative ways to get on board for a good cause. Grandparents are challenging their grandkids, neighbors are challenging baseball teams.

Below are the elements that have helped make the Ice Bucket Challenge popular. These same elements can be used for a cause you'd like to promote:

  • It's Unique, Fun to Watch and Fun to Do. YouTube and Facebook videos continue to experience explosive growth in viewership. Fun is viral. Unique is intriguing. If it's unique, fun to watch and do, then you have triple the probability of it being viral.
  • Put a Person in FRONT of a Cause (Not a Cause Before all Else). Last year between July 29 and August 21st the ALS 'Cause' brought in $2.1m. In the same period this year... $41.8 m. Why? One person challenged others. If it were just a cause, the motivational stickiness of the concept is weak. Put a person in front of the cause and you get the motivational ball rolling. 
  • People Love to be Noticed. The 'Challenge' is the ultimate selfie. Being relevant and noticed is a central part of the human condition. Look at the power of Yelp. Why would someone want to help or hurt a local business? It ultimately means people want their opinion to matter because they want to matter. Yelp is a magical combination of valuing someone's opinion (of being done right or wrong) and taking notice of who said it.
  • When Celebrities Jump In, People Take Extra Notice. Look way, way back in history... to last year. Remember the Harlem Shake? The EDM clip got viral traction in the begining of February 2013, but it went exponentially viral When the Miami Heat did their own video of their Harlem Shake
  • Celebrities Need to Stay in the Public Eye. Having a good cause made it a short, playful celebrity leap to a 15 second video and a cold bucket of water.
ALS challenge and one personOf course, if going viral was easy, every marketing department would be motivated to get on the same wagon. But the last, and most elusive thing it takes - is to get a little lucky.
The more people you can get behind your idea, the luckier you'll get.

Tags: Goals, Motivational, Business Leadership