How to Duplicate the Viral Success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Kerry McManamaBy Kerry H. McManama

What began several months ago as a challenge among friends has engaged more than 2.4 million people via the power of social media and earned more than $41 million for a worthy cause. Why has the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge gone viral? Here are five key elements you can use to engage and excite people—and duplicate this super-successful cause marketing initiative.

Recipe for Viral Success

1. Make it fun. What’s more fun than dumping a bucket of ice cold water on your family, friends, and colleagues? That’s what Pete Frates, who linked the Ice Bucket Challenge to raising awareness and money for ALS, must have realized. Connecting people through the act of play is easy and natural.

2. Keep it simple. Got water, ice, a bucket, a smartphone and a social media account? You’re in. No fancy tools or systems are required to be a winner at this game. When thinking of an activity for people to do to support your initiative, remember that they’re more likely to try it if they already have the equipment they need to be successful.

3. Give it a face. Whether you’ve been focused on Pete Frates, Pat Quinn or a friend or family member who’s been struck by Lou Gehrig’s disease, now we all know someone suffering from ALS. Including a personal ambassador to your challenge will help people connect with the “Who?” and the “Why?” behind the action you’re asking them to take.

4. Employ peer pressure. If you haven’t received the ominous Facebook tag and admonition, “You have 24 hours to complete the Ice Bucket Challenge,” you’re probably next. When people’s “friends are doing it,” they’re likely to get involved, too. Offer simple talking points, so participants can provide quick, clear explanations. And don’t forget the hashtags! Make them clear and easy to remember, like #IceBucketChallenge and #StrikeOutALS.

5. Use your leaders. Oprah Winfrey doused herself in her garden. The New England Patriots covered their practice field with ice. Bill Gates made his own Ice Bucket Challenge pulley system, for goodness sake! Never underestimate the power of well-known, respected people to motivate others to act.


Kerry H. McManama is senior director, experience strategy at George P. Johnson. She will lead the discussion at the social media roundtable, “Utilizing Social Media in the Corporate Environment,” at the 2014 Massachusetts Conference for Women.

Posted in Blog, Innovation, Marketing Yourself & Your Small Business, Speaker Articles Tagged |

Mentoring Millennials—Free Teleclass with Lindsey Pollak September 16

Lindsey PollakMentoring Millennials
Tuesday, September 16th
1:00 pm – 1:30 pm EDT


How much do you know about your Millennial employees (those born approximately between 1982 and 2000, also known as Generation Y)? What motivates them? Why do they spend so many hours texting? What are ways you can mentor them towards success?

Read More

Posted in Blog, Online Events, Success & Leadership, Transitions Tagged |

Shift into Fall with Tory Johnson—Free Teleclass September 9

Tory Johnson headshotShift into Fall
Tuesday, September 9th, 2014
1:00 PM to 1:30 PM (EDT)


Tory Johnson’s The Shift chronicles a very personal journey sparked by a candid conversation with one of her TV bosses that led her to make the biggest shift of her career—and ultimately led her to a better life both professionally and personally. While this may have been her biggest one yet, Tory is no stranger to shifts—she is the ideal model to illustrate the success one can achieve when willing to be flexible, adapt and reinvent with the times.

Read More

Posted in Blog, Health & Wellness, Online Events, Transitions Tagged |

Swing for the Fences — Podcast with Tara Sophia Mohr

Tara Sophia Mohr headshotIn this recording of our July teleclass, “Swing for the Fences,” author Tara Sophia Mohr illuminates the psychology of “playing small” and provides some great ideas for learning how to play big instead.

Listen to the fascinating 30-minute session below, and then visit to download her free “Ten Rules for Brilliant Women” workbook.
Read More

Posted in Blog, Goals & Priorities, Life on Your Terms, Podcasts Tagged |

Share Your Story: Daring Greatly in Real Life

Heather Bruce portraitby Heather Bruce, AVP, Audit Manager, State Street Corporation

The following is a featured entry in our Share Your Story contest, which celebrates our 10-year anniversary with stories from past attendees.

The Massachusetts Conference for Women inspired me to create the Audit Women’s Network at my company. In her 2012 speech, Dr. Brené Brown challenged me to get in the arena and “dare greatly.” If I failed, I would fail while trying.

Read More

Posted in Blog, Latest News, Share Your Story

Ace Your Next Negotiation — Free Teleclass with Sheila Heen August 26

Sheila Heen headshotAce Your Next Negotiation
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014
1:00 PM to 1:30PM (EDT)


Women are incredibly good negotiators when speaking on behalf of others—for their clients, team or organization. Why then aren’t women having the same success when trying to negotiate for themselves?

Whether you are trying to advance your position or your paycheck, this free 30-minute teleclass will offer you practical advice and inspiration to more effectively negotiate. Sheila Heen, faculty member at Harvard Law School and co-author of Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, will help you learn how to avoid common mistakes and identify easy strategies for asking for what you want—so you’ll walk away with the confidence to get what you are worth.

Read More

Posted in Blog, Negotiating, Online Events Tagged |