Yesterday evening I blogged about P&G’s Digital Hack Night, an idea-sharing event that stole its format from reality TV: “A contest among groups of digital marketing experts, Apprentice-style, in an effort to tap social media tools to sell Tide t-shirts for charity.” Participants used their Twitter feeds, their Facebook networks, their own blogs and their friends’ blogs (friend-willing, that is) to raise money for Tide’s Loads of Hope disaster relief program.
Fellow participant Peter Kim summarizes the key business take-away best:
“At the end of the evening, P&G’s CMO Marc Pritchard remarked that in the future, all employees should get involved in activating connections similar to what had just been witnessed.
“The significance of that idea is staggeringly huge. This is a company with 138,000 employees starting to realize the value from having all of its constituents connected and activated. They’re also learning about new tools to change the process of engagement. Events like ‘Digital Night’ help recalibrate the company’s mindset.
“P&G is taking steps to make social business a reality.”
There’s also the non-business part: In 4 hours, P&G staffers and 40 of their pals raised $100,000 for charity. Yup, Tide benefited from tons of free publicity last night. Wouldn’t you love it if every brand with a marketing budget used its resources to funnel money to non-profit causes that need the cash? Go, Tide.
To clear up some confusion I’ve seen in posts, comments and Tweets, P&G didn’t pay me or (as far as I know) any of the other participants to attend the event. No free plane tickets or hotel suites, either. Everyone there does business on some level with P&G, and business partners visit one another to talk business and share ideas on a schedule that works for both parties. I’ve done sessions like this with dozens of clients and partners over the years. But this was the first time I’ve attended one that raised $100,000 for charity.