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360i #FuelGood Project Turns Data into Donations

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This quarter, 360i launched the #FuelGood Project – an employee-initiated program designed to get our agency more physically active while supporting some of our favorite charities.

The program was inspired in part by the explosion of fitness monitoring technologies – Nike+ FuelBands, Fitbits, Jawbones, etc. – that turn physical activity into digital data. These and other wearables are tailor-made for social platforms, as friends can monitor each other’s data and compete with one another to be more active.

For the #FuelGood pilot, we leveraged the digital and social core of Nike+ FuelBands to transform data into donations to the Harlem Children’s Zone, a fantastic organization that we’ve been honored to partner with for more than three years.

To start the initiative, we purchased and distributed FuelBands among pilot program testers including 360i New York’s soccer team (360i FC). Employees were encouraged to use their wearables during times when they were planning on being active – e.g. playing in a game or running a 5K. The devices were each synced with a company account, where points were aggregated across all devices.

Each point the 360i community earned contributed to care packages of school supplies, snacks and dorm essentials for Harlem Children’s Zone graduates who are now college freshmen.

As the program builds out in 2014, the agency is accepting proposals outlining employees’ fitness goals (e.g. “run a marathon”) and chosen charities. One team each quarter will be selected to join together to earn points that equate to donations from 360i to the charity of their choice. And the more active we are as an agency, the higher our collective point total will be on the lobby scoreboards that monitor our progress.

A core group of advocates for #FuelGood within the 360i community has proved vital in drumming up interest. Since the program launched, more than 60 employees have joined the cause, earning over 2 million #FuelGood points amounting to several rounds of charitable donations.

For marketers looking to pair social good with traditional marketing efforts, here are some takeaways from the pilot launch of #FuelGood:

  • If used creatively, technology has the power to bridge seemingly disparate goals (i.e. personal fitness, or in this case employee wellness and social good), creating mutual benefit and building community.
  • A good, strategic partnership is key and should be one that is rooted in both a truth of  the organization and the people they wish to engage. Not only were our digitally-minded employees really into the idea of utilizing wearables, but we were also able to nurture this passion while simultaneously strengthening a long-standing partnership with HCZ.
  • Keep the barriers low and the payoff high. Provide people with a tool, mechanism or experience that empowers them to make a difference – without demanding significant behavior change. We know 360i employees are active, so our goal was to incentivize even more physical activity rather than initiate a new behavior altogether.
  • Don’t under-estimate the value of a tangible and visual representation of digital efforts (like our prominent scoreboard). The closer a digital experience is to its real world payoff, the better.
  • Cultivating a small but vocal group of advocates can be crucial to any initiative’s success. The social sharing and engagement that #FuelGood generated on Instagram and Tumblr led to greater buzz around the office and sustained participation. In fact,  360i FC has never had so many players and spectators for their highly competitive 7 vs. 7 co-ed soccer matches as they did this season– and has never done so well (they went on to win the league championship).

#FuelGood represents the kind of win-win situation that the merger of technology and social media makes possible, with digital actions translating into tangible, real world benefits. We look forward to watching the program grow in 2014 and beyond.

Lucas Shanks, Creative at 360i, contributed to this report.