ENTREPRENEURSHIP / MAR. 14, 2015
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5 Contests That Will Improve Your Brand

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The business landscape is a very competitive one. When a brand attempts to create awareness, it employs a wide variety of promotions, marketing schemes and viral campaigns to achieve this objective. Some of them work, some of them fail.

See also: How to Establish Your Brand Image

One marketing technique that has gradually been embraced over the past few years has been the introduction of contests. From challenge competitions to flash fiction contests, websites have incorporated this strategy into their business models because it helps elicit attention and hopefully generates buzz.

Now, most contests are for cash prizes or expensive products while other contests are held just for fun (see Ice Bucket Challenge).Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to try something new and outrageous as long as it’s legal, safe and positive.

If you’re unsure as to what type of contests your business should host, here are five of the best contests available to get the general public to participate in.

1. Photo Contests 

Everyone is either a photographer or a graphic design these days. Why not take advantage of this? Photo contests allow people to showcase their creative side, and hopefully receive some attention of their own. This can consist of a graphic, photo or selfie - the ladder has become the obvious choice for many brands.

Another type of photo contest available is the photo caption competition. This is where the company finds a photo and encourages readers to insert a caption at the bottom. Since it doesn’t require too much of an effort, the prize can be something affordable and inexpensive to the company.

2. Video Contests 

Since everyone is on YouTube, DailyMotion, Vimeo and Vine, why not utilize this? Your brand can establish a video contest that urges consumers to make a short motion picture, perform a recitation or cook a meal. A lot of people want to become celebrities these days, especially millennials, so this one is an easy and effective way to give your marketing initiative a shot in the arm. 

3. Writing Contests 

Whether we want to admit it or not, everyone is a scribe, even if most of the work published on social media is penned with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Many people like to write and use their imaginations, and launching a writing contest gives individuals an opportunity to place their creativity under the spotlight. From short stories to Twitter flash fiction, writing contests promotes engagement. 

4. Challenge Contests 

This past summer, the Ice Bucket Challenge was all the rage. Everyone was in on the social media sensation: Bill Gates, former President George W. Bush, Matt Damon and the list goes on. A simple challenge generated tens of millions of dollars in charitable contributions.

Another viral challenge was the cinnamon challenge, but it didn’t really benefit anyone as a significant number of people ended up in hospital.

As long as your challenge contest is safe, secure and entertaining then your brand’s challenge can quickly become a social media phenomenon, and perhaps lead to record amounts of visitors to your website.

5. Naming Contests 

Finally, does your brand need a new name for the company, product, service or campaign? Start a naming contest on social media, website or crowdsourcing websites and give the winner a cash prize or the first look at the company’s brand new product or service. Naming contests are simple to take part in.

Here are a few other tips to take into account when producing a contest: 

  • Publish a list of criteria, rules, prizes and submission dates. 

  • Insert a hashtag for any of the campaigns so it’s more prevalent. 

  • Determine your objectives - what do you hope to achieve with this endeavor? 

  • Ensure that the contest or challenge relates to your brand. 

  • Always engage with your audience throughout the contest period. 

In a digital marketplace where everyone is trying to reign supreme or capture a certain audience, we all have to come up with creative and innovative marketing plans that can give the brand a little boost. Remember, your company has to produce stellar items or services to be successful and not just a quick-fix like a contest or challenge. 

See also: 5 Ways to Refresh Your Personal Brand in 2015

Have you used any of the contests mentioned above in your marketing strategy? How effective were they? Your thoughts and comments below please...

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