Regardless of your opinion of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (IBC), which has catapulted the ALS Association’s (ALSA’s) charitable coffers to feverish heights, there are valuable business lessons from which pharma and biotech executives can learn.
Lesson number one — social media is a very powerful tool. Let’s consider some quantitative and qualitative data from the IBC. As of this writing, the ALSA received $106 million in donations from more than three million donors. Pre-IBC, the ALSA.org website averaged close to 8,000 visitors a day. By the end of August, the average number of visitors per day was 630,000 — a 7,775 percent increase in traffic. If you would have told me a few months ago you could use social media to convince Ophra Winfrey, Martha Stewart, and the second wealthiest person in the world, Bill Gates, to pour buckets of ice water over their heads while getting them to give money in the process, I would have told you to go soak your head. What pharma company trying to get people to enroll in clinical trials wouldn’t want this level of engagement?