The Power Of Challenges

Could marketers achieve more by setting goals for potential customers, before setting goals for themselves?

Taking on challenges and setting goals is a way of life.

We challenge ourselves in our personal lives.

Sometimes for self-improvement. Sometimes for the social aspect. Sometimes for the feeling of reward.

Setting challenges for ourselves aside…

Can organisations set goals for potential customers to help achieve its own business objectives?

The Ice Bucket Challenge made its way across social media in 2012.

The challenge encouraged nominated friends to film themselves having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and then nominating other friends to do the same within 24 hours.

It stipulates that those forfeiting the challenge are to make a financial donation in aid of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) also known as motor neurone disease.

What was originally a fun activity raised tremendous awareness of ALS.

2.4 million tagged videos circulated on Facebook.

During its peak, the challenge raised £88m in a single month for its charities.

And it funded Project MinE, a large data-driven initiative set up by the ALS Association.

Who identified a new gene associated with the disease which could lead to new treatment possibilities.

The Ice Bucket Challenge, therefore, was hugely successful.

Success came without the charities themselves having to really do anything to raise these funds.

Dissecting the campaign from a marketing perspective, it’s quite impressive.

First of all, the rules are simple and virtually anyone can take part.

There’s a scarcity aspect to it as nominated participants have 24 hours to complete the challenge. They had to act fast.

Another element of Cialdini’s persuasion recipe is social currency – it had plenty.

In our constant quest for likes and shares, videos were personal and shareworthy.

And the timing was impeccable – it was summertime, so people naturally wanted to cool down.

Also, the fact that autoplay videos had just kicked in on Facebook meant the platform was also geared for it. People had to watch.

It was also competitive. More than anything, it was fun.

The goal: Complete the challenge in 24 hours, film it and then nominate others.

Goals are used to make sure we follow through with things to develop.

But achieving any goal — giving us energy and enthusiasm —  is only possible by attempting a challenge.

The ALS community set a challenge to the people of Facebook.

To achieve a goal where some may feel reluctant at first that is also, on the face of it, relatively easy.

We as marketers should look to explore elements of this campaign.

Simply by tapping into a personal need of completing challenges/achieving goals.

We will hit X amount of miles/steps each day in 2018.

We will burn X amount of calories each day in the process.

Fitbit is a prime example of this idea, where the challenge they set is 10,000 steps. 10,000 steps a day is healthy, which is the goal. To take on the challenge, buy a Fitbit.

And once we achieve the goal, almost instantaneously we set another challenge – in the case of Fitbit, we look to the next day.

Setting up challenges and contests to bring success to an organisation in a very unorthodox way.

By doing virtually nothing. Just letting the public roll with it by igniting an appetite to take part in something and achieve something.

And if there is a social aspect to it, the campaign can take off.

Like the Ice Bucket Challenge.

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6 thoughts on “The Power Of Challenges

  1. I can see this will work. But there are people who insist on setting their own challenges, or at least, having a choice of challenges to accept, and will otherwise feel pushed and resist. Like in addition to setting my own challenges, I’m a long-distance trail walker. Long-distance trails are detailed set challenges. Butt there are plenty such trails and I can choose which one to do this year. So for the marketer – are there challenges with choices?

    1. The examples of where this has worked, at least online for us to find, are few and far between. This post was to stimulate the idea – to think about this a little more… so this is good! I think rewards and recognition, maybe even competition all come into play. Can brands gamify the use of their products and reward those users with future discounts once a certain goal is reached?

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