‘Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid’ meets ‘Buzz Marketing’

Now this is something that I had tried last year, while working with the team at the Social Org ‘Shades of Happiness‘. It was just some time before the monsoon, and the team at SoH had come up with the idea to conduct a Wellness Camp in the slums nearing St. Columba’s School, Ashoka Place.

With the dates decided, we set out looking for Corporate to partner with, and as to how we could plan and execute the Wellness camp idea in the best possible manner.

A couple of mails down the line, we had the good fortune of having a leading Global brand partner us for the camp. The next step being to get the actual beneficiaries to come forward and get the best out of the free check-ups, seemed easy enough.

This was until I asked Ashish, one of the Founding members of SoH, as to how many families we could expect at the Wellness camp.

Ashish told me that from his past experience, in an area of 200 plus families, we could expect some “30 odd families” to turn up for the camp! Now if you do the math, this was like a success rate (or whatever) of just over 10%, ‘far too less’ from what was actually out there, and which could be tapped.

He further added that most of them would rather stay in their rooms and watch TV, or sleep in the afternoon, in fact anything but attend something as boring and mundane such as a Wellness Camp.

For once, I did wish we had a pout-enhanced celebrity to endorse our now unglamorous venture! Nonetheless, this set me thinking as to how we could get more people to get out of their houses and actually make them come for the camp.

Around the same time,  I was reading this book on Buzz Marketing (‘The Anatomy of Buzz‘ by Emanuel Rosen) and getting wowed by the entire word-of-mouth marketing thingy. Now its one thing to read about all that cool jazz as to how word-of-mouth marketing works, and it’s a totally different thing altogether to think of applying what you ‘think’ you have picked up, and also hope to get it right the very first time… !

‘(Kill) Joy factor’: We had planned for the Wellness Camp within a couple of weeks.

The Idea

I realized that just going to the slums and announcing that we were planning to have a Wellness Camp coming Sunday would not exactly get us the results in return for our efforts. Most folks, as rightly pointed out by Ashish, would actually love to spend their time sleeping, watching a movie etc on a lazy Sunday afternoon (You and me being no different!).

I also realized that when we give something away for free, the object does not really have any value to it… that is… till you attach a virtual price tag to it.

For e.g. You buy a local Webcam and you get a pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones free with it. (This, my friends, is what you would call a ‘Hypothetical’ situation); O.K. … let’s make it more real, say, you buy a local Webcam and you get a pair of local headphones free with the deal.

Now, I know you really don’t care for those free headphones… unless:

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