How do you energize your groundswellians? It seems weird to say, but you need an energetic idea. Something with energy that energizes them to ener-do things. I ran out of “energ__” words.
But if you think about it, the concept is quite simple. Making a YouTube video or a Facebook/Twitter challenge is a great way energize your audience. But not if its something boring such as “Like, favourite and share this video for a chance to win (something equivalent of the cheap plastic toy in cereal)!!!!” or “If this article gets 50,000 shares one lucky person will get a (something equivalent of the cheap plastic toy in cereal)!!!!”
It has to be an energetic idea, and this means it has to be interesting. Sharing a video or a status does nothing. Hardly anyone is going to investigate the company. There is no ROI. People will just see the reward, share and forget.
What is the purpose of that? There really isn’t one. It does not add value to the company. This is simple value chain analysis from any Business 101 class. Activities must add value to the company somewhere in the chain.
So what are good examples? Challenges work. Febreeze has done it with their car fresheners and sprays. The whole “We guarantee it can destink anything!” sort of thing. They’ve made advertising campaigns around it, YouTube videos, articles, etc. They’re energizing their audience to virally market their product for them.
Blentec did something similar with their “Will it blend?” campaign. They challenged people to find and submit items that their Blenders could try to blend. It was a huge success for them and people were buying and buzzing about Blendtec blenders blending blendables. I have a cheap blender that sometimes sucks with ice. It sucks that I can’t make a decent smoothie or milkshake. Sure wish I had a Blendtec. Those blend everything! Or so it seemed through their campaign.
This isn’t that difficult of a concept, but the application is challenging. It could be hard for an insurance agency for instance. Can’t exactly encourage people to burn down their houses or crash their cars. But a carpet cleaning company could do a Billy Mays style guarantee to drive up enthusiasm. “We guarantee we can clean anything from your carpet or we do it for free!”
Video game companies tend to be good at this. Well crafted teaser websites can create a lot of buzz for their new product as people try and decrypt tidbits of information to discover details of the new game. There is a website out now that people think is Bethesda operated and is teasing the new Fallout game. Its got all the gamers out there trying to figure out every little detail they can. (update: turns out the website was a well crafted hoax. But it still worked in Bethesda’s favour)
A good testimonial campaign can incorporate this. Honda did it recently in a huge customer appreciation campaign where they had Honda owners do the advertising for them through Facebook or YouTube testimonials about how great their cars were. Then they gave a guy who has had his Honda for 1,000,000 (A MILLION) miles a brand spanking new Accord. How’d they find him? They created buzz online, energized their customer base and found this guy which made for a great example of the quality in Honda vehicles. Properly maintained and A MILLION MILES ON IT!
I’m generally a believer in things are usually simpler than they appear.