What a spring it’s been! On the heels of opening our new Brooklyn offices in Park Slope, we immediately got to work on a major consumer campaign for Recyclebank. Called the “Green Your Home Challenge”, the campaign was a nationwide contest held throughout April (Why give the earth just one day?) designed to teach people how taking seemingly small green actions can collectively make a big environmental impact. The contest featured some amazing prizes, including a green kitchen makeover worth $18,000.
When it comes to consumer PR strategies, PR people used to joke: “When in doubt, do a contest!” Although years ago in PR, contests were overused to the point of being cliché, the unbelievable adoption of social gaming across demographics has turned contests and games into one of the most effective ways to engage people, especially if you are offering a substantial carrot. The easy path would have been issue a press release, sent it to key consumer press, promote via social networking channels and call it a day. Instead, we decided to turn the Green Your Home Contest into an opportunity to reach all of Recyclebank’s disparate audiences –consumers, the business community, sustainable/green industry, brands and marketers. Here’s a quick summary:
We needed to make Recyclebank more of a household name prior to the contest. Until recently, the company focused only on promoting its curbside recycling rewards program. Today, they offer myriad ways for anyone to get rewarded for their green actions, so we needed to increase general awareness fast. Mentions on Dr. Oz, The Nate Berkus Show and Access Hollywood certainly helped.
Launching the Contest
First, we executed a major grassroots effort to get the contest to go viral by reaching out to mom and green-living bloggers and online media to drive posts, tweets and mentions all over the social web. The fact that the contest was rooted in a good cause and the prizes were truly substantial helped significantly. Throughout the month, we saw thousands of Tweets and 500 blog posts on the contest alone.
Second, we partnered with a well-known green-living expert. Part of the grand prize was a green living consultation from Danny himself, so you better believe that Team Bateman was hard at work racking up as many points as possible.
Third, we piggy-backed on Earth Day, which is (sadly) often the only time of year many national media outlets cover green topics. This resulted in some incredible consumer broadcast coverage, including The Today Show, the Ellen Show and CBS Early Show. Check out Recyclebank’s press section to view all the clips. This broadcast coverage and the refer-a-friend aspect really accelerated the contest going viral.
A partnership with Google and ROI Analytics gave us an angle for the marketing audience. Google will use a beta version of Google Analytics to measure member participation levels both on the Recyclebank website and through the various digital components of the contest. ROI Research will track the effectiveness of the initiative’s marketing strategies, as well as how this engagement impacts offline behavior by comparing contest activity to recycling rates in Recyclebank’s home recycling program. Caroline McCarthy at CNET wrote an amazing article about the partnership (right before she left for Google!), which was tweeted over 300 times. People continue to be intrigued by measuring the impact of gamification, especially as it relates to social good.
Linking to Business Trends
This brings us to that magical word: gamification. Over the last year, gamification has become one of the hottest trends in marketing and business circles. Increasingly, people are discussing how gaming techniques can potentially be used for social good (maybe you caught SCVNGR CEO’s Seth Priebatsch keynote recently at SXSW on this topic?). Until Recyclebank’s partnership with Google and ROI Research, no one had attempted to truly measure the effectiveness of a “gaming for good” campaign. Check out this Inc. Magazine piece on how to incorporate game mechanics into your business, which features Recyclebank as an example of doing so to effect positive change.
Measure and Track
We had to tread lightly here because there is definitely some “green fatigue” around Earth Day as many companies manufacture green marketing campaigns with no tangible environmental impact. Recyclebank is really changing consumer behavior in terms how people use and dispose of products and resources, and they are doing it a measurable way. Analysis on the quantifiable offline impact of the contest has become a key element of the Recyclebank story when speaking with the green media.
To cap things off, Recyclebank hosted their first “Sustain-a-Ball” event at a great indoor/outdoor restaurant called Soho Park. Journalists from the Wall Street Journal, CNET, Financial Times, Shape and Entrepreneur Magazine came out to celebrate Earth Day, share their “Green Guilt” (mine was that I take long showers…) and toast Recyclebank’s
success. It was a crazy month, but the momentum has been energizing for all.
What a great kick off to our expanded partnership and this movement to reward people for their everyday green actions. You heard it here first- Kermit is wrong. It IS easy to be green.