Some of the best social media campaigns in the last couple of years have been by charities. The 'Movember' campaign, which originally began in 2003 to fundraise for men's health, has raised over £60 million pounds and continues to be a massive hit year after year.
Other success stories include the #nomakeupselfie campaign, which raised £8 million in just one week and the most notorious viral campaign ever, 'The Ice Bucket Challenge'. In aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' brought in around $80 million dollars to help patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a neurological disease which currently has no cure.
The campaigns listed above demonstrate how engaged people can become with nonprofit campaigns and how far they can go in terms of their ability to raise money and encourage awareness. In Google's ' 'Year in Search 2014' video, Benedict Cumberbatch and Justin Timberlake do the 'Ice Bucket Challenge' showing just how far the campaign went in terms of its popularity.
It's difficult to imagine a for profit organisation capturing the public's attention so readily. Many organisations have partnered with charities in recent years, including Marks and Spencer with Oxfam and Boots and Macmillan. Clearly good for the reputation of a multinational company, the charities profit too, with increased funding through sponsorships and the secure access to new networks and people which may have been out of their reach before.
But what can private companies learn from the likes of Cancer Research and UNICEF in terms of marketing? First and foremost, the success of the campaigns above are testament to the importance of content. Content Marketing might be a buzzword confined to 2014, but its influence cannot be underestimated going into this year. It's unlikely that a for profit campaign would ever pick up the steam seen with the Ice Bucket Challenge due to the fact that people aren't generally comfortable doing something which raises awareness for a company that pursues its own profits, but prompting an action from your users, seen with the 'Movember' and the 'Ice Bucket' campaigns seem to be the way forward.
As mentioned before, creating a campaign which rivals that of the nonprofits will be no easy feat for a private company, but if it were to come off, it would undoubtedly be a real breakthrough. The truth of the matter is that non-profit companies rival their private counterparts for creative talent now so it's no surprise that they are coming up with innovative ideas. It's now up to private companies to think about a way to create campaigns which resonate as much as those created by nonprofits do.