Agency Imagination Sydney was tapped by Commonwealth Bank of Australia to highlight and amplify the bank’s charitable giving program. Together they created Community Seeds, a program that let people choose from among six local charities and direct the bank’s giving to that cause. After selecting a charity, people were given a virtual seedling for their Facebook profile. As they spread the word about their chosen charity, the virtual seedling showed the growth. And as their friends got involved, the seedling grew even more. The campaign helped Commonwealth Bank increase its Facebook community by 82 percent, and the bank donated more than $150,000 to six local charities as decided by their fans. David Clarke, Digital Creative Head of Imagination in Sydney, talked to us about the campaign.
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First, congratulations on winning a Facebook Studio Award.
Thanks, getting this sort of international recognition with such top-tier talent being considered is a huge win for us here at Imagination. We’re all very excited by that.
What made the Community Seeds campaign an award-winner?
Commonwealth Bank was acting on an altruistic cause, which resonates with consumers. Donating to charity feels good, and being recognized for giving can feel even better. Using that insight to broaden the reach through a show of social influence was extremely meaningful to our audience.
We wanted to let people not only participate, but also wanted to incentivize spreading the message to their friends. By using gamification techniques like leader boards, social badges and progress tracking, we were able to encourage people to help these charities. From the beginning, we were looking to create a snowball effect where friends influence friends.
How did you and your technical team get from concept to working application?
We really wanted to visually show the results of a participant’s influence by motivating donations through their social network. The Facebook platform allowed us to track those interactions. Voting for your cause of choice was relatively easy, but visualizing a couple of seedlings growing was the true challenge.
When a vote was cast, the user would receive a seedling with a single leaf and have a badge placed on his or her Facebook wall. When their friends saw that badge and subsequently cast a vote, not only would they get their own seedling but they would also make their friend’s seedling grow. The seedlings and their development came to represent your social influence over the course of the campaign. People could clearly see that every seedling was unique and that it was growing based on their influence, reflecting their own ability to help out with this good cause.
The fact that the campaign was powered by complicated code didn’t stop it from being a very simple, beautiful, and easy-to-access experience for users. On that front, our technical team, led by Nash Trajkovski, is constantly testing and iterating on design to make sure we’re creating the best experience for people.
What made Facebook a good base for this kind of philanthropic campaign?
We looked at creating a website as well as a number of other options. Facebook is the most powerful platform out there when it comes to leveraging social influence. So we ultimately saw the platform was the best place for the campaign to live, and we were rather happy with the results.
How did you keep people coming back to the page?
We worked with a local PR agency, One Green Bean, quite extensively on this campaign. In addition to running the targeted Facebook Ads, they handled all the community management and made sure that there was always fresh content on the Page to support the campaign, and active moderation and responses to people’s posts.
How did the campaign integrate with other media?
We kick-started the campaign in main business park areas of Sydney and Melbourne, where we gave out actual branded seedlings to people passing by that included cards with a unique code. The card explained the campaign and invited potential participants to make their first vote worth $10 (10 times the normal donation amount) by entering the code on their Facebook Page. This was vital to the campaign because it ensured that in the first wave, that first roll of the snowball had a powerful push behind it. It was a predominantly digital campaign with a real world kickoff.
Was there one key factor in making this campaign such a success?
We always start our social campaigns looking at why users would participate; we use the old saying, “Why would they care, why would they share?” to get started. If you can make an intrinsically motivated campaign with an extrinsic reward, and then layer on gamification techniques to make it fun and keep people engaged, I think you’re on your way to success.