Josh Hart at mademedia (a Birmingham based web agency) alerted me to a potent combination of community, marketing and technology.
Josh is exercising more because of a heady cocktail of connections. Two brands – Nike and Apple; two desirable products – the right running shoes and the right mp3 player; the internet and music al tastes; personal achievement and support for celebrity sponsored charities.
Here’s how it works…
Nike + is a brand of shoe which connects to your iPod. As you exercise the ipod records how far you travel, your speed etc. It can also automatically play you the right tunes to accelerate your run or help you keep your rhythm.
To keep track of how you are progressing you upload the information to the Nike website – which presents you with graphs etc. So Nike know how much you excercise, where you live, what music you like – enough info to have any marketer drooling.
The question is how do you get people into the habit of that routine upload?
Enter the charities. Over the next few weeks Nike will donate $1 to charity for every mile run. They are encouraging people to partner up (online) with others and compete club against club, neighbourhood against neighbourhood to see who raises the most (giving the marketing people a sense of who you associate with – how clubby or solitary you are – how competitive you are etc etc).
It means a huge hand over of charitabe dosh in exchange for precious packets of ppersonal information.
So how can this be of use to non profits working the in the web 2.0, celebrity driven, gizmo driven, brand hungry, relationship obsessed world?
- Connect your charity with big brands, big names and cool gear and you are onto a winner. (If only it were that easy, but product red is a great example.!)
- Give people a personal target to help you achieve your target (Race for Life etc)
- Competition accelerates support, encourages network building and sharing information online. (see Steve Bridger on the full stop campaign and the use of Google Maps) .
- Music is very useful – partly as an ice breaker (MySpace), but also to establish ‘tribal’ loyalties.
- Give something “free” which is valuable. In this case a way of tracking your exercise regime.
- Offer something different enough for people to want to talk/blog about it.
- Create a virtuos cycle (My running is good for me and also good for you)
So what is missing. On the Nike + site is a rather lame section called ‘Stories’. It only has a couple of those – both of famous runners. Nike is not allowing people to share what they are doing and why they are doing it.
A campaign like this really takes off when people start talking back, sharing with each other their motives, generously handing out support and encouragment.
The point is is that a vibrant online conversation can be triggered by a shared endeavour – it gives people two things in common, the cause they are support and the effort they are making.
I would love at this point to be able to list a dozen delicious ideas which will hit all of these buttons. Sadly I’ve not got there yet. Anything?