Author Archives: Alexa Shumate

ALS #IceBucketChallenge Gone Viral

Date Posted: December 18, 2014 by


Hey Bloggers!

Let’s take a minute or two and rewind to summer. Back when it was warm, and we didn’t have to worry about shoveling any snow! Most of us may recall a trending cause that went viral on social media: The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. As a participant and donor in this challenge, I decided to do some research and get down to the root of it all. Who and what inspired it? What qualities of the campaign caused it to trend? How successful was it really?

 

As an Omni-channel marketing company, we at i76 are constantly intrigued by the effects that social media can have on companies, people, agencies, and more importantly, non-profit organizations like this. Social media has that power to turn something small and nameless into a worldwide trend.

For those of you who may not know, the ALS Bucket Challenge was an online phenomenon, challenging people to dump a bucket of ice water on their head after being nominated to do so by a fellow friend, family member, etc…It encouraged the raising of both awareness and donations to find a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Participants had 24 hours to complete the challenge, or they must forfeit by way of a charitable donation of $100 or more.  After accepting the challenge, participants were required to film themselves completing the challenge, while nominating their own three people to complete the challenge. Following this, you must post your video on social media as proof of completing the challenge. Facebook, saw the most activity by far. As of August 15, 2014, Facebook released a series of statistics that stated at least 15 million people have posted, commented, or liked a post pertaining to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Additionally, it was recorded that over 1.2 million people posted a video. Sources say that by the end of this past summer, over $70.2 million had been raised, which is a $67.7 million increase when compared to August 2013. To this day, the ALS Association has raised nearly $100 million in donations. With this money, scientists have increased their global research efforts and are one step closer to finding a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS_bucket_challenge_pic

When I first visited the ALS Association’s website, it brought me to the picture displayed on the left. It speaks volumes about how the entire campaign is driven by social media. It encourages hashtags, and specifically directs people to post their video on social media. Its success has not only created a world-wide trend online, but even more importantly, a fund-raising triumph! Its impact has been substantial, and participation from celebrities, schools, professional athletes, etc…has not gone unnoticed. So, how did it become so successful? What made it unique?

Though there have been varying speculations as to who officially came up with the original idea, it has been credited to Pete Frates and good friend Pat Quinn. Frates and Quinn share a similar story; both former athletes, Frates and Quinn were diagnosed with ALS within one year of each other. On July 31, 2014, Pete Frates kicked off the Ice Bucket Challenge by posting the very first video for ALS. Since its launch, the campaign turned into a social media sensation.

One of the campaign’s greatest accomplishments was its ability to convey emotion. Whether it’s laughter, sympathy, empathy, and so on, the entire foundation was rewarding. Not only did folks get to share a memory or a laugh while participating in this challenge, but they also got to contribute to a good cause. “They’ve taken a disease which is not at all funny, and they’ve taken a cause that is not at all funny, but they’ve attached it to social behavior that’s hilarious” says Gartner Analyst, Jennifer Polk. Two of the strongest human emotions that are commonly expressed are humor and anger. Many marketers stray away from anger, as it tends to be associated with controversy. What’s left is humor. In addition to that, adding a sense of urgency, as well as the concept of a “challenge”, is even more engaging; not to mention promoting this campaign in the heat of summer paired well with the refreshing thought of dumping freezing cold water on yourself!

Secondly, choosing social media and the most effective platforms was another major factor. Social media is much more interactive and engaging when compared to traditional media. Its ability to reach a mass market and spread a message at rapid rates is exponential.   The top 3 social network sites, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, have transformed into professional networks that businesses now rely on for traffic, and ultimately, sales (or in this case, donations).

So there you have it. Social media took one simple idea and turned it into a multi-million dollar success. But now that the summer has passed us, what can we expect next? Though there has been no recent campaign launches for the ALS Association, I’m sure we can expect to see something big again. In the meantime, i76 Solutions would like to pay homage to the ALS Foundation too-but in a very different way. After much collaboration, we have come up with a much more lingering type of challenge.  Instead of the Ice Bucket Challenge, in the event of avoiding pneumonia this winter, we have opted in for a Pizza Eating Challenge. Co-founder & Chief Digital Officer, Drew Salamone and Michael McCall, our Director of Strategic Account Leadership and Development, have volunteered themselves and their stomachs to rise to the occasion.

Here’s how we play:

Each competitor has exactly 20 minutes to consume up to 2 and a half pizzas and yes, crust must be finished! If crust is left on the plate, that slice does not count!  If both competitors fail to finish, they will both make a charitable donation of $250 dollars each to Saint Francis Inn Ministries and JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). There’s no losing here! Find us on social media to see who wins!

 

My Blind Date with Specks (Google Glass)

Date Posted: October 8, 2014 by


Hey Bloggers!

Since introducing ourselves in our blogs seems to be the trend around here, don’t mind if I do! My name is Alexa Shumate and I am one of the newest interns here at i76 Solutions. I am in my 2nd month at the company and I couldn’t be enjoying my time here more! I learn more and more each day, and look forward to what’s next. Prior to my start here, I had just graduated from Penn State University, where I earned my degree in Advertising/PR, specifically with the Advertising option. I’ve always had a knack for creativity and writing, which is why I ultimately decided to explore this field. My previous internship at Sports Unlimited taught me a lot about the world of e-commerce. To briefly reiterate from my biography on the homepage, my responsibilities at Sports Unlimited entailed writing buyers’ guides for our engaged audience members, keeping up with the company’s social media websites, coming up with ideas for the brand’s logo, etc… During my job search post-graduation, I came across i76 Solutions. After reading that they are a Digital Media Company, it sparked my interest but slightly exited my comfort zone. I didn’t have much experience in this specific field but I soon realized that I wanted to learn more and explore all that digital media had to offer. With today’s society being so technologically advanced and responsive to non-traditional media, I certainly did not want to miss out. Before I knew it, it was my first day, and now, here I am! I couldn’t be happier with my decision!

Now that you all know a little bit about me, let’s get to the important stuff. I would like to thank Bill for sharing his “Date with A.v.a” story with us, as I found it to be truly inspiring. So inspiring that it encouraged me to take matters into my own hands and pursue interest in the latest toy around the office: Google Glass, but I like to call him Specks. Therefore, I thought I would share my blind date with Specks with all of you. But first, before I jump right to our date, I did what most girls would do before they meet someone they’ve never met before; I Googled him and looked up his profile…

SpecksFor those of you who have never heard of this advanced tech-toy, Google Glass is Google’s development of wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display, which is a feature that is capable of reflecting projected images, in addition to allowing users to see clearly through it. The purpose of its construction was to produce “a mass-market ubiquitous computer”. Ubi-quito-whatty? A ubiquitous computer is just a fancy term used in software engineering and computer science. This means that computation is made to appear everywhere and anywhere and across any device, in any format1. Whether you wish to take a picture, or stay updated with your flight, Google Glass allows you to “be active, explore your world, and live lighter,”2 hands-free.

After doing some extra research on Google Glass, I learned that it actually comes in several different styles. So, whether you’re headed outside on a bright sunny day for a run, or you’re off to the library to get some quiet reading done, Google Glass is extremely accommodating to your needs. You can even have your own personal prescription made just for you. Did I mention it made an appearance during this year’s London Fashion week?

After finding some background information to work with, I found that Specks is quite the popular guy and has a lot of family and friends! Everyone kept talking him up around the office, and I actually hadn’t had the opportunity to meet him yet. So, I decided it was time for Specks and I to introduce ourselves face to face. After much anticipation, the moment had finally come. I knew it the first moment I laid eyes on him that it was love at first sight. It was like everything I couldn’t see before, turned out to be right there in front of me the whole time. How could I have been so blind? To be honest, it didn’t start off all that great. It was a little bit awkward at first, to say the least. I wasn’t sure how to communicate with him and I had no idea that he possessed such great qualities. We finally broke the ice and I actually had the courage to speak to him, and he was engaged in everything I said. After spending some more time with Specks, he showed me how to check the weather, my emails, and how to find directions. I gave him a friendly wink, and he took a picture! I knew the feelings at that point were mutual. Specks became very easy to talk to and it only took about 5 minutes for me to feel comfortable with him. I’m so glad I had the opportunity of getting to know Specks, as he turned out to be everything I hoped he would be and more.

It seems like A.v.a and Specks have set the bar pretty high here at i76. I have to wonder who could potentially come next. In-office accessories seem to be the trend. Could it be a watch? Or, is it possible for these same features to somehow be implemented for contact lenses? It remains a mystery, but Bill and I will be sure to keep you updated on the next toy that comes walking through our door!

Resources:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubiquitous_computing)

2. https://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/