6 STEPPS to the Ice Bucket Challenge

Who would have guessed that in 2014 the idea of throwing a bucket of icy water over your head would become a viral success? But it did! How? Because it followed the 6 STEPPS, aka the 6 principles of contagiousness.

S = Social Currency
T = Triggers
E = Emotion
P = Public
P = Practice Value
S = Stories

Social Currency – it’s the way in which we want people to see us. We post stuff online to show our best side. When people participated and shared videos of the Ice Bucket Challenge, it showed others that they cared about a good cause, creating the impression that they too are a good person.

Triggers – reminds people what to think about when they see a certain image. The use of hashtags (#IceBucketChallenge) and being a trending topic across various social platforms, reminded users of the campaign and its cause.

Emotion – Sharing is caring, and what we share can generate different types of emotions. Depending on what emotions are evoked, it can increase or decrease its sharing capabilities. Certain videos that were shared about the Ice Bucket Challenge evoked emotions. Some of them were funny (#IceBucketChallengeFail) and some of them were sad/inspiring.

Public – when something is made public, it makes it easier for people to talk about and imitate. This can then make it more popular. When people posted their videos of completing the Ice Bucket Challenge, it was made public for everyone. When more and more people were completing the challenge, it was broadcast on TV networks around the world, adding to the publicity.

Practice Value – if we show people something that can give them value, then it will give them more of an incentive to share it. The value given from this challenge was that it informed people of the harsh reality behind this disease and that there is no real cure yet.

Stories – people are more likely to listen a story rather than a sponsorship. It is also better understood and spread if it is a narrative. By people posting their videos and participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge it showed stories of hope and determination that we will raise money and fight motor neuron disease.

There you have it! The 6 STEPPS to the Ice Bucket Challenge.