How to Create a Successful Brand Campaign

Published by Samantha Bartholomew, MS, RDN
September 23, 2022

Every marketer hopes and dreams that they are the mastermind behind the next “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”, who wouldn’t?! This campaign touched millions of people through the power of social media and then extended into traditional media and even involved celebrities. But why was it such a huge hit? Let’s take a closer look. 

What Makes a Brand Campaign Successful?

There are a few core components to keep in mind when evaluating the success of a brand campaign. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge example provides a bit more context around each of these elements. A successful campaign:

  1. Is unique and memorable
    1. This one could almost speak for itself in the context of the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was fun and engaging. The fact that this took place in 2014 and we still talk about it in 2022 demonstrates its memorability. 
  2. Has a clear call to action
    1. The call to action for the Ice Bucket Challenge was to dump a bucket of ice water over your head, record it happening and donate to the ALS Foundation. The call to action was clear and feasible for the millions of people who participated. 
  3. Meets goals and key performance indicators
    1. The goals of this campaign were to raise as much funding and awareness as possible for ALS. Over 17 million people participated in the challenge worldwide and $115 million were raised for ALS (1,2). It is safe to assume that the results far exceeded expectations. 
  4. Reaches the target audience(s)
    1. The target audience for the Ice Bucket Challenge was essentially anyone active on social media, especially on Facebook. This campaign appealed to social media users because the ask involved posting a video. It was a fun, shareable way to use Facebook – and it gave users the opportunity to make a difference using social media.

Ingredients For a Successful Campaign

Now that we have established what makes a campaign successful, we can walk through the five ingredients to include in your next campaign to ensure its success. 

  1. Simplicity
    1. Be sure that the call to action is simple. For instance, almost everyone has access to ice, water, and a bucket.
  2. Emotion
    1. According to research Bréne Brown, humans experience 87 different emotions (3). Tapping into emotion is important, whether it is making someone laugh or cry, it makes your brand more memorable.
  3. Endorsement
    1. Endorsement from a celebrity, expert or social media influencer can help to build trust and credibility with your audience. Endorsements also increase the reach of your campaign. 
  4. Timeliness
    1. Timing is everything when it comes to launching your next brand campaign. Whether it is tapping into a specific moment in time or current event, timeliness is key. 
  5. Personalization
    1. Consumers like to feel seen and heard, especially when it comes to marketing. The more we can personalize a campaign to the target consumers, the better. 
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