Most people are familiar with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. After going viral some campaigners may be wondering what it took to reach a national audience the same way the Ice Bucket Challenge did. The ALS foundation used social psychology to achieve this overwhelming success. To achieve social psychology there are three simple steps that all campaigns must follow, these three steps include; appeal to indirect public commitment, question personal identity, and create exclusivity.

Group of Business People in Office BuildingAppeal to indirect public commitment, making people more likely to act and complete a task when they make a public promise to commit. The ALS Association used this concept by having people nominate each other and make the commitment for another person. Being ‘nominated’ publicly amplifies the obligations to follow through and avoid a personal and public let down. Campaigners must take a look at what they are campaigning and decide where opportunities lie for public commitments. An example of a public commitment would be to create an event (Facebook) and have people who have committed to going to the event, share the event. This is a public commitment which will increase the likelihood of them actually attending the event.

Question Personal Identity, by making people question their personal identity they will feel they have something to prove. The ALS Association challenged consumer’s identities by labelling participants as ‘charitable’ by participating and if they chose not to participate they would be considered ‘un-charitable.’ By breaking down your target market and finding the characteristics they possess you can gear your campaign towards challenging them to reinforce their identity.

Create Exclusivity, when something is exclusive, limited or rare people want to be a part of it. Everyone wants what they can’t have. Although anyone could have participated in the ALS challenge, you had to be nominated. This created two groups, those who were invited and those who were not. By making it invite only the campaign builds a level of exclusivity. These tactics can be used in a number of campaign as long as the campaigners are creating a sense of urgency. You build a sense of urgency by limiting the number of items available and the amount of time accessible. This was done by the ALS Association by giving the nominees a 24 hour window to complete the challenge.  Using social media to create exclusivity may be creating an invite only group on a social network that appeals to your audience the most. By including industry experts in the group and publicly promoting the group, the target market will be determined to receive an invite. Once you have gotten the attention of your target market you must present a task they must complete (sharing and liking the event) in order to get an invite.

Finally, the ALS Association used these basic psychological concepts to drive hundreds of thousands of people to take the challenge and spread the word. There is no doubt the Ice Bucket Challenge was a marketing sensation. By appealing an indirect commitment, questioning personal identity, and creating exclusivity, you can build a campaign in the most influential way.

Based on original article: How to Use Social Psychology to Improve Your Marketing