Adopt or Dump a Social Media Challenge?

By Posted in - Marketing & Public Relations & Raleigh PR Agency & Social Media + Influencer Engagement on October 7th, 2014

Everybody’s doing it. Or more accurately, everybody did it.

The recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge ignited one of the year’s largest grassroots social media campaigns with more than 8 million videos posted on YouTube alone. In a matter of months, the challenge raised more than $100 million for the ALS Association from approximately 3 million donors, including celebrities ranging from bubbly Justin Bieber to grim-faced Lady Gaga.

It wasn’t just a dump. The Ice Bucket Challenge became a tidal wave, an international campaign that no doubt will earn an accolade in the Guinness World Book of Records or a spot on Time Magazine’s top ten lists. An iconic demonstration of our nation’s generosity and passion.

Naturally, other organizations were eager to join the fun and show support with their own icy baths. And as clients sought our counsel, we encouraged them to consider two key questions before deciding to adopt—or dump—any social media challenge.

1. Who Are You?

Take a moment and reflect. In fact, feel free to loop the 1978 rock classic “Who Are You?” in the background during your self-assessment (we’re fans of mood music). Does the purpose of the challenge support your company’s own core values? Does the outcome align with your organization’s mission and vision?

Don’t get me wrong. Social media thrives on spontaneity, and in fact, it’s often “off-the-cuff” videos that build the strongest personal rapport with your audience. But viral trends, such as social media challenges or picture contests, can carry weighty messages that warrant careful consideration before your team invests in an endeavor. Fortunately, many campaigns, such as the ALS Challenge, support positive change for worthy causes—and it can be an easy choice to partner with these efforts.

2. How will you take it from icy to spicy?

Viral challenges offer the perfect opportunity to showcase your organization’s personality. How can you craft your own memorable moment by adding an extra dose of creative pizzazz?

Newland Communities, the nation’s largest private developer and a Clairemont client, stepped up their game when they accepted the ice bucket challenge. Rather than follow the typical backyard-bucket pattern, Newland incorporated a key icon from its own company—a dump truck—and drenched its team with a truckload of ice and water. In addition, the team bypassed the garden hose and used water from a nearby pond, addressing public concerns that the challenge wasted water and supporting Newland’s own commitment to sustainability. In the muddy mayhem that ensued, Newland created a video that earned a spot on the ABC 11 morning news.

Cause + creativity = a hefty dose of fun!






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