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Shireen Qudosi

What Kony 2012 Got Right: Marketing Tips to Stir the Masses

Mar 22 2012, 07:11 PM by

Regardless of how you feel about the campaign’s authenticity or the integrity of its founding organization, there’s one thing you can’t ignore about Kony 2012 – and that’s its immense virality: Over 75 million YouTube hits in just six days, and countless Facebook posts and Twitter feeds. Here are key tips from the campaign you can apply to your business.

Tell a Story – A story will always be the most effective method of marketing. Stories are easy to remember and great stories get shared. With Kony 2012, what you get is a story through the eyes of a small boy with the underlying message of “this could be happening to us.”

Design a Story – Different from just telling a story, designing a story is about how you convey the message. A main reason why Kony 2012 spread like wildfire was because of its clever and simple design that resembles an election year banner – especially in an election year. Of course, no one wants Kony for President, but it’s exactly the humor behind that, along with how easy they’ve made it to remember, that helped Kony 2012 go viral. I guarantee you that while millions watched the video, millions more know of Kony 2012 for just the design alone.

Create Controversy – if you haven’t heard of Kony 2012 for the cause, you’ve heard of it for the controversy of the foundation behind the project, Invisible Children. The lesson to take home: Notoriety starts conversations. But rather than be notorious, bring up an issue that’s already controversial or take a controversial approach yourself.

Quality Matters – No one wants to see a shoddy attempt at a video by a D-grade videographer, not even for a good cause. The foundation behind Kony 2012, Invisible Children, spends a huge chunk of their money on filmmaking. While they’ve received criticism for it, you would wouldn’t know of either the foundation or the project if they didn’t spend that amount of money.

Arm People – Kony turned you into their mini-marketer by arming you with an “action kit” that provided all the materials you needed to create your own campaign. While you may not have posters for others to spread around town or other marketing paraphernalia you want them to buy, offering them your own “action kit” is genius. Arm your customers with the tools they need to succeed and they’ll thank you. Make sure your brand is visible and connected, and they’ll be marketing for you.

Connect with Authority – Invisible Children teamed up with celebrities to help bolster their campaign. You can leverage the same idea by teaming up with other (and possibly more accessible) authorities to help spread your reach. If you have no authority to reach out to, partner with vendors so that both sides are mutually advancing and promoting each other. You can also reach out to popular industry/local bloggers as well as niche reporters, and offer then something to write about.

Call to Action - And finally, remember that a call to action is key. No matter what you’re marketing or how you’re marketing it, the end goal is to get your audience to act. Tell them how to act and make it simple for them. If it’s a donation, create a donation landing page and link the page up wherever possible. If it’s a sale, give them the “buy now” option and make navigating back and forth easy (while also gently suggesting what else they can buy). If it’s a “spread the message” action you’re seeking, then give them the means to do it without ever clicking for a new window tab. Make sure all the right social media buttons are not only present but pop up at them, directing them to act.

Posted in Tips & Resources, Online Branding, Current Events

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