Lessons From the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

leUnless you’re completely disconnected to social media or the actual media for that matter, chances are you’ve seen numerous videos of people pouring buckets of ice on their heads for the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge,” a viral effort by the ALS Association to raise money for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). While it may seem silly, the challenge is anything but – bringing in more than $108.4 million (as of September 4th) for the association. And it’s not even done yet, as hoards of people continue taking the chilly plunge each day. Aside from being a fun way to support a good cause, the crazy successful challenge has actually taught us a lot about business. Here’s what we’ve learned so far: 

Create an Innovative Idea
One of the reasons the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been so successful lies in the sheer convention of its idea. From the social shareability of nominating friends to the near-perfect timing (cold water in the middle of August? Yes, please), it’s not hard to see why the campaign has taken off. The same holds true for businesses. If you want your company to succeed, innovation is key. This doesn’t mean you have to conjure up the next viral sensation, but make sure your business offers goods and services that people actually want to experience. Truly think about what sets you apart.

Actively Measure Your Success
If there’s one thing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has taught us, it’s that measurement is key to credibility.  The ALS Association has been championing this philosophy from the get-go, providing an easily trackable #IceBucketChallenge hashtag and frequently reporting on the campaign’s monetary progress. Both of these efforts have contributed to the hype and success of the challenge, and, as the campaign grew, established it as one to be taken seriously. Business owners should follow suit, as frequently measuring your progress provides an easy benchmark for improvement. Keeping tabs on your status and actively reporting this to your team will provide everyone with an idea of performance, allowing you to adjust your strategy accordingly.

Have Fun
Last but not least, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been a heck of a lot of fun. Plus, given the serious tone of this summer’s news cycle, a goofy social media distraction was welcomed with open arms. Which leads me to yet another business lesson – if you’re not having some fun, why bother? Don’t get me wrong, work should be taken seriously, but it’s important for businesses to establish a culture where employees actually enjoy being part of.  Whether it’s by dumping a big bucket of ice on your heads or planning a company outing, having a little fun can be the perfect way to strengthen your business team.

We continue to be amazed by the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and are equally impressed by the lessons it teaches us.

To donate to the ALS Association, click HERE.

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