Who says grass roots marketing is just for Democrats? Last week, the GOP launched a new web-based social media campaign to lots of fanfare (including an appearance on Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room). Organized around an interactive toolbar downloaded onto a constitutent’s browser, campaign cash is raised via incentivized search (through a partnership with Yahoo) as well as a percentage of sales when toolbar users make purchases from over three hundred vendors that are only one click away. Aside from generating campaign dollars, the GOP toolbar also serves as a message board on the desktop as it includes a widget from the Republican National Committee to deliver messages and an RSS feed that aggregates relevant campaign updates. One of the unique features of this toolbar is a “leader board” which tracks individual contributions as well as those made by everyone else who has downloaded one; keeping everyone up to speed on just who is doing their part to raise money for “their cause.”
The toolbar’s creators, FreeCause, have created similar programs for other cause-related organizations (including Susan G. Komen) and tell us that the GOP toolbar is one of their most successful endeavors yet, with more than 6,000 toolbars downloaded within the first two days of launch. (MPD is an advisor to FreeCause but did not work with them on this project.) Regardless of your political persuasion, you have to be intrigued by the power and potential of strategies like these that can extend a community’s reach by making it easier for members to mobilize around a common mission.
We think that it is endeavors like these that truly rally supporters around a cause or a campaign that is the future of successful brand and cause marketing – engaging your community, whether it is consumers of a brand, members of an organization or supporters of a cause. And as we see it, the five driving forces of social networking ( me-driven, peer-driven, cause-driven, time-driven and trust-driven) will shape the social networking trends over the next three to five years. Social networking is not a bubble about to burst but a growing entity that more and more businesses and communities are adopting. The trick is how to monetize these interactions. Maybe FreeCause, via its many applications, has created one of those silver bullets.
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Filed Under: Social Networks, Internet