Invisible Children: How to become viral in a week

So far I have been blogging about companies that strongly profit from having an online customer base. Utilising Enterprise 2.0 has helped a lot of businesses get out there and become well known. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, if it weren’t for the online communities, such niche company’s would not have become nearly as successful.

The same goes for non-profit organisations, better known as charities. It is not often that one is able to stop in the street to talk to someone about their cause, and people seem very uncooperative when it comes to a door knocking charity. Both are too personal and it tends to scare people off. Once they implemented Enterprise 2.0, it became the perfect way of letting people know about their organisation and let those give in their own time.


In 2007 there were over 177,000 non-profit organisations in Australia. There is estimated to be over 3 million all around the world. Of those organisations, how many did you know ten years ago compared to now? With the use of social media, charities have been spread across a wider area, letting anyone, anywhere donate as they please.


In the March of 2012, a movement was started on youtube, which changed how people looked at charities. With more than 100 million views on a particular video in just one week, the social experiment known as KONY2012 left people in awe as they discovered the terrible things happening in their own world.

A charity called Invisible Children was founded in 2004 where their main goal was to make a war criminal well known around the world in order for him to be stopped. They planned to take down and release the child slaves of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and finally arrest Joseph Kony, bringing justice to the children he kidnapped and the people he made them kill.

Here is the video that started it all.

They had a goal, and they had the technology to get the message around, so in implementing Enterprise 2,0, they were able to use a couple of the functional levers in order to get the message out there. Currently their social media status is as follows:

Facebook: 3, 466, 138 likes

Twitter: 287, 394 followers

Youtube: 265, 125 subscribers

KONY2012 Video: 98, 422, 166 views

I’ll explain some of the value levers from McKinsey Global Institute, 2012 that apply to this company’s Enterprise 2,0 strategy.


Educate the Public

In order to take down a mans army of children, you need an army of children yourself. Getting Jason Russel to direct a film targeted to inspire today’s youth, Invisible Children were really fighting fire with fire.

Since the target audience was the youth, they were naturally digital natives. Youths seem to be more proactive about causes and movements that relate to them or what they would like the world to be.

In teaching people what Joseph Kony does, that shocked and disgusted people which lead them to sharing and encouraging people to know him. Their marketing strategy is to be relatable with their audience! (A key goal of mine that I am yet to reach)

Even though they haven’t captured the criminal (which they planned to by the end of 2012), they became well known, their cause was spreading faster than wildfire, and they raised millions of dollars that went (mostly) to their cause.


Rapid Organising

Once the video got around, they were able to organise more campaigns in order to get the word out there to those that aren’t so tech savvy. Using the youth of today in order to get the word out is just what they needed in order to form a group of activists. They are so very passionate with their beliefs and if pushed enough, will make a stand.

Since “the bad guy” was someone who kidnapped children, it was just too easy to hit a chord with those watching the video. At some point in all of our lives, we have at least experienced a childhood (whether it was good or bad) and some of us have even had children of our own, which makes the cause all the more worth fighting for.

The video was sent to their friends, they bought the support packs and they covered the night. Russel started a movement with his video, and even though not all the feedback was positive, it still inspired many to join their cause, donate and rally beside them.

Here are some more links to information about the marketing around KONY 2012:

So for my end of post question: Which side were you on when the KONY 2012 video went viral? How involved were you in the campaign, whether it was with it or against it?

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2 Responses to Invisible Children: How to become viral in a week

  1. Katie says:

    I was always skeptical! I had friends who bought out that $60 package and felt intensely superior when it all went belly-up!

  2. ciarron says:

    I feel that as an awareness campaign it sort of succeeded, however the charitable aspect of it certainly tainted the campaign and ultimately became the media’s focus.

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