$US80 million and counting: The recipe for going viral

September 10, 2014

imagesDavid Beckham and Brad Pitt have done it, and Kim Kardashian even caved in. But in a classic Kim moment, she stopped to take a selfie first. “It” is the ice-bucket challenge, which involves dumping icey water on your head, then challenging others to follow suit.  The challenge raises money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – known as motor neurone disease in Australia. People can accept the challenge, donate money, or do both.

The challenge quickly went viral, raising millions of dollars worldwide. Every charity faces the battle of raising money and awareness – the ice-bucket challenge has done both with stupendous success.  It has also spurred offshoots, such as India’s rice bucket challenge, where people donate a bucket of rice to someone in need, and the rubble-bucket challenge, which creates awareness about suffering in Gaza.

What can we learn from this campaign, as business communicators and influencers?

  • Everyone loves a dare: The playful ice-bucket challenge has broad appeal.
  • Make progress visible: Have you dumped water on yourself or donated instead? Who have you nominated? The accountability factor is captivating.
  • Co-create with your audience: Audience involvement shapes and shares the story. You, as the communicator, need to give up some control for this to happen.  Let your audience create the movement by passing on the message to their friends and family, instead of being passive recipients of your message.

By finding a human, emotive side to your goal, you’ll create buy-in – and with luck, your message could be the next to go viral!  Please comment, I love hearing from you.

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