#StrikeOutYourCompetition: Three key takeaways from ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for PR and marketing professionals

While there are debates around the origin of the Ice Bucket Challenge, what’s not debatable is its success. I admit, I was among the crowd of skeptics when the campaign first took off, flooding (literally) my news feed with accepted challenges and countless nominations. As the media frenzy exploded and donations continued to rise, a little light bulb went off above my PR-minded brain, and I was hooked.

Whether you’re promoting a philanthropic movement or a product, there are several lessons to be learned that can assist in fueling your fire when you sit down to brainstorm about your next campaign. Three key takeaways are highlighted below.

Be innovative. Here at Dodge, innovation is a popular term, and we believe in it. Innovation supports strong brands, builds thought leaders and generates the demand companies need to influence an industry. Doing something new doesn’t require doing something difficult. Creativity is key.

For example, Dodge worked with the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) to facilitate its inaugural Measure Up/Pressure Down® National Day of Action: Roll Up Your Sleeves! event on May 15, 2014. For one day, campaign supporters participated in at least one action to improve high blood pressure control, aiming to motivate patients to literally roll up their sleeves and get a blood pressure reading.

Collaboration and originality led this innovative campaign to be an extreme success. The campaign reached a total of 57.4 million Americans and garnered 46.7 million media coverage impressions.

Start a Conversation. Some of the Ice Bucket Challenge or AMGA’s success can be attributed to the simplicity and ease of the call to action.

Donations come with awareness. Rather than asking for money from the start or listing all of the reasons why your solution is better than the rest, encourage your audience to get involved, and keep it simple. Start a conversation.

Dodge worked with Navicure to launch an ICD-10 Hub microsite on April 1, 2011. The site allowed Navicure to continue providing business-related news, tips and insights while expanding their industry presence. By March 2014, Navicure generated 13 qualified leads within the first six months and closed five. Since launching, Navicure directly attributes more than $50,000 in new bookings to ICD-10 Hub and the content developed for the site.

The site enables Navicure to facilitate industry conversations, setting the company up as a partner rather than a salesman.

Keep Your Momentum. People may stop pouring water on their heads at some point, but the ALS Association shows no sign of surrender. With the success of the campaign, the team is working to cover all ground.

Even after you accept the challenge, the Association has created cover images and profile pictures for social media accounts announcing that the challenge was completed – another online footprint for the movement.

Similarly, AMGA and Navicure’s successful efforts didn’t stop after the first round of results were calculated. Ongoing conversations and timeless issues like these allow organizations to keep their momentum, build on their initial success and #StrikeOutTheCompetition!

What are some other successful campaigns in healthcare that made an impact on you and your organization?

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