The Pathway to Participation

21 Mar

The best advertising these days usually involves some form of consumer participation. Unfortunately so does the worst and it’s giving participation a bad name. Case in point – Bodyform are on Facebook and they want your “whoah” voice, and Amoy are actually asking consumers to “Asianate” themselves. Holy crap. This stuff literally brings tears to my eyes.

So how should we invite consumers to participate with our brands? Here are six ways I’ve been thinking about (there are of course more)…

#1 Build momentum behind what consumers already do online

Uniqlooks invites consumers to upload pictures of their look, and each week the site awards a look of the week, as voted for by the community of course. Outfit sharing is nothing new to social media, but Uniqlo were smart enough to build momentum behind what fashion-forward people are already doing.

#2 Build momentum behind what consumers already do in the real-world

Lurpak’s Bake Club is a useful website which allows foodies to start their very own bake club. This is something us Brits like doing anyway – Lurpak just made it a whole lot easier.

#3 Leverage passion points

Walkers “Do us a flavour” challenged consumers to invent the next crisp flavour. More than one million people took part in the competition, with the flavour eventually picking up 232,336 votes. The campaign captured the nation’s imagination, because everyone in the UK has a passionate opinion on what makes a great crisp flavour.

#4 Be entertaining

If you’re entertaining enough, then people will actually want to participate with you. Heck they might even tell their friends about it. Whopper Sacrifice is one of  my favourite campaigns. The idea – delete 10 of your friends from Facebook and get a free Whopper. I got burned.

#5 Make it easy for people to participate

Okay so it’s an obvious thing to say, but many brands seem to get this bit wrong. Porsche achieved the fastest 1,000,000 Facebook fans in automotive history by designing a new Porsche 911 with their fans’ names on it. All they had to do was “like” the page. Painfully simple.

#6 Make it rewarding

Again this is pretty obvious, but if you want people to spend time with your brand, then there better be something in it for them! Heinz Ketchup recently rewarded their Ketchup community on Facebook with first access to a very tasty Limited Edition Balsamic Ketchup before it hit the shelves. Fans are posting on the wall about how much they love it, and even uploading pictures of their bottles for all their friends to see. Ketchup lovers got something valuable they couldn’t get anywhere else, and Heinz got a whole lot of positive buzz and a load more fans.

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2 Responses to “The Pathway to Participation”

  1. scot d March 25, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Cool post, thanks for doing it.

    The examples are mainly about bursts of advertising activity, excepting, say Uniqlooks and Bake Club.

    Where do you stand on the duration of interaction – do you brands should gear up for bursts of engagement, and let the brand fans keep the conversation going in between? Or do you think there needs to be sustained engagement, more of a magazine-readership model?

    Also, do you think competitions are a necessary evil, but possibly attract people who mainly like competitions, and repel people who lose (the majority)? Or is it best to try and reward everyone – strikes me that Bake Club does this, as do apps like Nike run etc.

  2. Ewarwoowar May 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm #

    This makes me happy

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