Contests can be a great way to engage customers, especially if they’re fresh and exciting. Innovative contests that go far beyond the regular raffles and sweepstakes can better capture a customer’s interest and encourage participation. Below, I’ve listed four great ideas for contests that will not only increase your brand’s visibility, but that customers will also enjoy!
The “Audition” Contest
Everyone wants to be famous. In this contest, you’re giving one lucky customer the chance! Put out an audition announcement for your next commercial model. The beauty about this idea is that it’s not just restricted to fashion brands—any company that uses models in their advertising can run this type of contest.
And you don’t have to restrict yourself to models, either! You can audition for voice over talent, company mascot, brand representative, or even a new employee (a la The Apprentice). Whatever gains visibility for both you and the participants while staying relevant to your brand’s message. And if your brand is animal-related, you may even be able to audition pets!
Alternate Reality Games (ARGs)
ARG’s are an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform. It usually uses multiple types of media to tell a story, which can be influenced by a player’s actions. The blockbuster movie The Dark Knight used this technique to engage fans and drive interest in the film. In one part of the game (named Why So Serious after a line from the movie), players were requested to take photos of various well-known locations in major cities, and were rewarded by promotional material and preview clips of the film. Other segments involved scavenger hunts and costumes.
Submit Your Picture
Everyone has access to a digital camera these days—whether it’s on a cellphone or an actual point-and-shoot camera—so entering a “submit your picture” contest is only as difficult as the conditions you set.
You can set any condition that will be both interesting for the customer and relevant to your brand. Simple, low-stress ideas include fun family photos, photos from a particular location, photos of a particular product in use, etc. If you want to make things really interesting, you can ramp up the difficulty level to include costumes, or to have the customer photograph something they crafted, like a really cool cake design or paper-mache sculpture. You’ll be surprised at how imaginative people can be when they put their minds to it!
Name the Brand
Involve the customer in the product creation process by soliciting ideas for a product name. Not only does this drive interest in the product, it can also help drive sales (customers might need to purchase and try the product in order come up with the ideal name). Doritos did this successfully with a couple of new flavors of chips.
While you can always invite people to submit for something else, like a logo design, naming requires no specialized training or tools in order to participate. It’s the most inclusive, which helps the contest spread to more possible entrants. Company slogans could have the same effect, but they can be harder to create than just names.
What cool contests have you participated in? Have you heard of any that were really fun for the participants and were a brand success?