What We Know
If, at any point during this summer, you dumped ice water over your head, you were one of the many that took part in a viral campaign that not only raised over $100 million for ALS, but was a national campaign that went local.
Local, or hyper local, movements are possible with the quickest tool at your fingertips (or thumbs): social media. As the 21st century’s “word of mouth” platform, people are looking to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn what interests their peers and core groups. When national campaigns such as ALS took off, it was only a matter of minutes before someone got nominated for a cold-water bath.
The challenge resulted in record-breaking money for the local ALS chapters, which asks the question, “are national campaigns good or bad for local movements?” In many cases, it can be a positive and negative to the campaign as a whole.
A recent study from the Pew Research Center found that 30% of people get their news from Facebook. That changes how we interact with brands, companies and national campaigns. So with the use of social media linked to a national campaign, it’s easy to turn a national message into a regional one and make it tangible to a target audience.
In 2010, Ford Motor Company rolled out the Ford Fiesta locally to gain traction among consumers through its national campaigns. Hyper local promotions combined with social media interactions (checking in on Facebook or Foursquare; tweeting about the car on Twitter) generated local conversations about the newest economy car.
How did the local movement end up for Ford? 132,000 drivers signed up for updates on the new Fiesta and over 6,000 pre-ordered the car, an exceptionally strong showing for a new economy car, according to Forbes.
Here is the caveat.
Although generating conversations, hyper local movements drop off quickly. Sustainability of local campaigns or movements is short lived, and chances are many people who either participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge or test-drove a Ford Fiesta still may not know what ALS is and/or may not own a Fiesta, respectively.
Does that create brand sustainability or relevancy? What does that do for a brand message?
It will be hard for the ALS Association to top $100 million in fundraising next year or Ford to revitalize the campaign to lure new buyers. Local movements also do not guarantee continuation of the conversation. Think about how much you hear or see about ice buckets in your newsfeed now.
Sustainability is the key for lasting brand recognition making it a key stakeholder in effective social media presence. How do you create a conversation? How do you drive the conversation to keep being relevant and when it’s a national conversation, how do you bring it home and keep it evergreen?
The Ice Bucket Challenge was a not a planned sensation, but through the power of social media, it became the summer’s biggest viral hit. So bringing a national conversation to local grounds is important to get a brand’s message out, but it’s important to look for everlasting ways to continue the conversation locally, and perhaps one day, land as the next big viral sensation.
- Published: 23 January 2015