Hugo Pinto

Innovation, Strategy, Technology, Data

Content Marketing: What has the Ice Bucket Challenge done for ALS?

This is a basic and crude reality of the digital age – for people to care; they have to know it exists. It’s difficult standing out in the middle of so much content and information, and usually not properly structured as Sir Tim Berners Lee would have wanted.

From branding to thought leadership

Content Marketing has become the new flavour of “Branding”, now fusing with concepts like top of mind and awareness to become something like Thought Leadership. While we learn how to master this new discipline, it’s campaigns like the Ice Bucket Challenge that give us proof points that there is a reason for brands to invest in these activities, even if theirs don’t go viral like this one did.

The proof points in this one are clear: ALS – Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) has become more known by every connected human being on the planet, and the charities researching for a cure have raised a lot of money, thanks to this “stunt”.

Sure there’s always critical opinions, but the numbers don’t lie:

43.5 Million videos viewed for 24.357 uploaded videos on Youtube, and 28 Million people liked, posted or commented on an #Icebucketchallenge related piece of content on Facebook*

The amount of searches on Google has increased by 5.5 timessince the beginning of the campaign according to Google Trends

The group reported that it received $15.6 million in donations from the beginning of the massive hit, up from $1.8 million in the same period last year. They also gained 307,598 new donorsto the cause**

That is the proof that each type of objective has its own strategy, and it’s not all about performance and programmatic – content & social are a power-combo, and brands must learn how to handle it.

The value-exchange conundrum

Brands must find smart ways by which everyone benefits to get mass adoption – mobile and social media have now empowered users to the point in which if you want them to engage, you have to provide something in return, i.e.:

  1. Popularity/Belonging for the participants (Celebrities, you and me)
  2. Engaging with the brand in public doing something either meaningful or funny (both is better!)

These are the ingredients – the information and social media pipelines will do the rest with a little help from PR and the Mass media. It’s a team effort, but this time the active community is the brand and its consumers working as one using social media for a purpose – and that’s what’s called social business.

With a bit of luck, you’ll even get ATL coverage (above the line) for free, which is the absolute paradigm shift, since in the early days brands bought TV, print and radio media space and got digital presence for free! Would you have believed it if you were told this 10 years ago?

* Reported by Tubular Labs here

** Read more about it on Forbes

PS: Charlie Sheen is the best video as he urges celebs to really pitch in and contribute! Watch it bellow:

Read more about how Thought Leadership and Story Telling are becoming more and more relevant on brand’s marketing strategy.

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