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Newsletter #761: The “Motivate Them” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That Email Newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

If you’re trying to motivate people to do something — you’ve got an uphill battle on your hands. Most folks are generally busy, lazy, or cautious. It takes hard work to get them moving, but here are some ideas to help you get started:

1> Make it fun
2> Give them a goal
3> Join them in the trenches
4> Check it out: The Fun Theory

1> Make it fun

Perhaps the easiest way to get people moving is to make it enjoyable. Life is stressful and serious enough as it is — there’s no need for your marketing to add to it. Instead, think like Volkswagen, whose recent campaign, “The Fun Theory,” showed that when they made a game of recycling, bottle return rates at their “fun” redemption machines were dramatically higher than nearby “regular” machines. When creating your plan to motivate anyone, remember it’s hard enough to inspire a group of people to take action — a depressing theme isn’t going to help.

The Lesson: Even if you’re dealing with a serious issue, see if there’s a way to put a positive, more enjoyable spin on what you’re asking everyone to join in on.

Learn More: YouTube

2> Give them a goal

It’s easier to keep a group focused and motivated if you can give them a specific goal to work toward. ThinnerView built its business on this idea. They help keep people on pace for their weight-loss goals by helping them create digital images of themselves at their target body weights. Nonprofits could build on this concept by emphasizing the specific things they plan to accomplish with the funds they raise, much like a financial planner could help clients better visualize what it is they’re saving for.

The Lesson: If you can show your followers exactly what they’re working toward you’ll have better luck in keeping them going.

Learn More: Iconoculture

3> Join them in the trenches

It’s hard for anyone to feel motivated when their leader doesn’t know what doing the real work is like. Manchu WOK — a fast-food chain of Chinese restaurants — ensures every employee spends time working the front-lines of the restaurant. Everyone from the CEO to the most junior-level corporate employee fills out a job application, puts on a uniform, and goes through the safety and hygiene procedures before working as a front-line employee. It’s all part of Manchu WOK’s effort to build a culture in which everyone is in it together — from the boardroom to the registers.

The Lesson: If you’re having trouble keeping your employees, your fans, or your volunteers motivated, it might be time to join them in their work to see what they’re experiencing.

Learn More: BNET

4> Check it out: The Fun Theory

The Bottle Bank Arcade Machine was just one of a few experiments Volkswagen’s campaign sponsored in their exploration of how adding fun elements to everyday activities could change behavior. Other examples include how they used entertainment to encourage basic exercise and how a simple tweak to a trash container inspired people to pick up after themselves.

Check it out: TheFunTheory.com

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