Lance Armstrong is a phenomenon, from his heroic story of conquering cancer to the yellow LIVESTRONG wristbands that launched one of the strongest social marketing campaigns in recent history (not to mention a new global fashion trend). Currently, his nonprofit – The Lance Armstrong Foundation is promoting the LIVESTRONG Challenge, a call to supporters of the foundation to raise donations in support of their participation in walks, runs or bike rides. This is a fairly standard marketing tactic for many cancer nonprofits to collect indirect donations to their cause. The success of a fundraiser like this is based partially on the involvement of Lance himself – but more importantly, on the ingenuity and dedication of the most vocal of the cause supporters who will bring the message to the greater community and raise funds.
Last week, Jennifer Rice pointed to a very interesting effort from Will Swetnam, a friend of hers and a supporter of the Lance Armstrong Foundation. His idea of the Cancer Mosaic is a webpage made up of a grid of 20×20 pixel sized squares, each of which can be purchased by anyone who wants to show their support of the cause and support anyone that has been affected by cancer, from patients and their families, to those who work to help treat them and find a cure for cancer. The more you donate, the more tiles you can have. You choose the exact tiles you want and enter your own message of support. It’s a wonderful way to build a community around the issue, let people feel like they are participating in something permanent (a difficult task online) and giving them something tangible in return for the amount they donate. I wonder if the LIVESTRONG Challenge will pay attention to an idea from one of it’s evangalists and consider building it into a marketing campaign for the entire organization. Just another example of how the best marketing ideas can come from brand believers outside your marketing team – as long as you are paying attention.