If you've been on Facebook recently, you saw a series of one-word Status Updates. The word was always a color, and there was no explanation in the update:
Those among the baffled who Googled the subject, learned that people (mostly women) were posting the colors of their bras.
Days later, it's still not clear who came up with the idea, or what they were hoping to accomplish – it apparently had something to do with "breast cancer awareness." It's a great illustration of the difference between response and results.
There was certainly a response – hundreds of thousands of women took the time to post their bra colors on Facebook. But what was the result?
The campaign didn't raise funds for breast cancer research or services for patients. It didn't help form support groups, or lobby for government support, or cause women to get mammograms. It
didn't even increase "breast cancer awareness" – nobody learned anything new about the disease.
Response, yes. Results, no.
For a look at a social media campaign that got real results, read about Jonathon Marcus, an assistant track coach at Roosevelt High School in Portland Oregon.
Marcus was appalled that many local track athletes couldn't afford running shoes or other essential gear for their sport.
"In mid-December, Marcus and his friend, Jacob Buckmaster, an assistant track coach at Roosevelt, decided to take a different approach to outfitting athletes. Tapping into the
local running community on the Internet through Facebook, they appealed for donations. "We just figured we were going to get used or gently worn clothing," Marcus said.
"Initially, it was a clothing drive. But then it just started to take wings." Donations came from everywhere. Nike gave 40 pairs of shoes and new clothing. Road
Runner Sports in Tualatin, where Marcus is a "grassroots partner," contributed 30 pairs of slightly used shoes. Adidas on Thursday donated 14 pairs of new running shoes and
217 articles of new clothing. And Fit Right Northwest, with stores in Northwest Portland and Vancouver, came through with more than 200 pairs of shoes and about 100 garments
–roughly $15,000 worth of merchandise."
Think about the recent tragedy in Haiti and how, much to the disbelief of the corporate officers, the American Red Cross has been able to raise over $21 million dollars! The use
of social media to ignite the campaign using Facebook and Twitter was able to raise $3 million in the first 24 hours. Which is more than was brought in by efforts for Hurricane
Katrina or the Asain tsunami disaster. This is another great example of response.
Unlike whoever came up with the "What Color is Your Bra" idea, Marcus and Buckmaster and Wendy Harman of the American Red Cross knew exactly what they wanted to
accomplish, and used Facebook and Twitter to accomplish the goal. They asked their target audience to take a specific action, and were able to measure the results: to date,
about 360 pairs of shoes and 700 articles of clothing. To paraphrase advertising legend David Olgilvy, RESPONSE is "I like your ad." RESULTS is "I bought the product."
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