originally posted Aug. 22nd 2014 on the BROKAW BLOG

In case you’ve been hiding under a large pile of boulders the past few weeks, there’s a viral phenomenon sweeping across the interwebs right now—the ALS #IceBucketChallenge. Besides increasing awareness for a terminal illness that affects close to 30,000 Americans, the #IBC has raised $42 million in donations over the last three weeks. That’s compared to $1.9 million donated during the same time period last year.

Pretty amazing, huh? Maybe we should all try and harness the power of social media and create a viral campaign just like this one, right?


Excuse the Brokaw Broken Record here, but you simply can’t plan for “going viral.” This ice bucket challenge started completely organically, with special thanks to former Boston College baseball star, Pete Frates. It took off like wildfire by surprise, not by design. Like a dumb, duct-taped Browns jersey. (Sorry.)

However, there are a few basic lessons we can all learn from the success of the #IceBucketChallenge.

Build a strong, passionate network focusing on quality, not quantity. The #IBC worked because there are people passionate about the cause who have social networks which include influencers, celebs, and this guy. How can you build such a network for your brand?

Create engaging, simple, and unique methods of entry. Just about everyone on social media has easy access to a video recording device, a bucket, some ice, and some water. So simple, right? Remember, an idea is strengthened by everything that is REMOVED from its execution, not ADDED to it.

Leverage the network. Call it FOMO, peer pressure, chain reaction, or whatever…just make sure you are pushing for folks to share your content with their personal network (think audience network = audience net worth).

In summary, focus more on creating fresh, simple, rewarding content and less on “going viral.” Now if you’ll please excuse us, we have some ice trays to fill.

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