Give Your Calories

Give Your Calories is an app I came across that is a great case study in user-focussed, interactive and shareable marketing. What’s even better is that the initiative is from the non-profit sector and breaks the mould of the ways charities typically go about gaining donations. Here’s a few key reasons why I think Give Your Calories is on its way to being a huge digital marketing success:

1. Creates a user-driven experience.

Give Your Calories offers a much more participative and user-driven donation experience than how charities typically go about soliciting donations. What is becoming commonly known as ‘charity-mugging’ – where passers-by are approached on the street by teams of volunteers – is starting to lose effectiveness and isn’t generating efficiencies for non-profit organisations. On the donor side of the ‘charity-mugging’ equation, people often give out of guilt and subscribe to long-term subscription-style sponsorship plans that inevitably end up becoming just another expense, leaving them with a sour donation experience.

Instead, the Give Your Calories app gives users all the tools they need to donate close to hand, where they control the process and overall experience. Essentially the app enables users to simply engage directly with the organisation’s cause. In doing so users derive the enjoyment, satisfaction and buzz out of helping people that all donors should experience when giving to a cause close to their heart. The key take-away for consumer brands is that sometimes you just need to get out of the way and allow consumers to enjoy your content without having an agenda – no-one engages with token content that is just created as a means to force a particular sales message on your audience.

2. Give Your Calories is inherently shareable.

The entire Give Your Calories app experience was built on the insight that we’re all obsessed with snapping and sharing pictures of what we’re eating or have cooked. We’ve all done it – whether it’s to share with foodie friends or to help keep track of what we’re eating – and Give Your Calories utilises this emerging consumer behaviour for a charitable cause.

Aside from these mechanics behind how the app works, the entire mission of Give Your Calories is something inherently interesting. Not only is charitable giving shareable from a “Look at me! Look at me!” perspective, but the idea of linking a solution to hunger to the foods we are eating in real-time is an interesting enough idea to share via social networks. It goes to show that you don’t need something overly elaborate to create something that consumers latch onto in the social space – often an idea’s effectiveness lies in its simplicity.

3: It makes business sense.

The impulsive ‘micro-donation’ style of giving is gaining traction in the non-profit sector as it is a more efficient way of collecting donations than investing in short-term bursts of campaign activity. Give Your Calories enables a constant presence that can be multiplied over a much greater audience than a four-person street-team could contact on a city block. Sure there is an upfront risk involved in investing in the app, but the potential upside and promise of longer term exposure would go a long way to justifying the start-up costs.

Like anything else you need to weigh-up pros and cons, but investing in a campaign that enhances your brand values and brings your mission to life is never going to be a waste of marketing investment. You need to do your homework first in terms of establishing an insight at the core of your campaign and nailing key points of engagement, but the potential of getting traction in the longer term is inevitably increased.

JB

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