Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Moving WV Fitness (#FitWV) Closer to the Tipping Point

The idea of using Tipping Point tactics to overcome obesity in West Virginia became a little closer to reality today, thanks to an insightful editorial by Dawn Miller at The Charleston Gazette.

West Virginians try to tip scales on obesity
Dawn Miller - Editorial Page Editor
The Charleston Gazette
August 7, 2009

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If we all behave like cold germs, could we infect each other to better fitness and health?

Here is one of the most tantalizing ideas. Back on West Virginia Day, local
PR guy Jason Keeling asked his blog readers to discuss solutions to the state's problems. Skip Lineberg, co-founder of Maple Creative in Charleston, chimed in with a "fragment of an idea." He posted it on Twitter:

"Let's make a Fitter West Virginia using tipping point tactics to overcome obesity."

Lineberg was inspired by Malcolm Gladwell's work on tipping point theories -- the phenomenon often seen among infectious diseases or social ills. One kid comes to school with the flu, and the next day a few more are infected. The next thing you know, half the school is home sick. Kind of like the way one day you had never heard of Twitter, and the next day it seemed to be everywhere.

Could West Virginians intentionally use this phenomenon to effect a more desirable change? Instead of giving each other the croup, could we, as Lineberg suggested on his blog, tweet our workouts, use Facebook to note fitness efforts, start conversations about the subject, support leaders who support fitness, encourage each other?

People responded, posting short notes on their workouts, hikes and meals.

As if they read our minds, or our Twitter posts, researchers at the federal Centers for Disease Control last month released "Recommended Community Strategies and Measurements to Prevent Obesity in the United States." It reads as bad as it sounds, but it's full of jewels.

[Read the full article.]

Thanks, Dawn! I know the #fitwv movement just got stronger today, much like our energetic, healthy supporters get stronger every time they exercise.

[Here's more on the #FitWV conversation thread on Twitter.]

Readers, I pose the following hypothetical question: what does any of this WV fitness stuff, #fitwv and Twitter have to do with marketing? I contend that in today's marketing environment, tactics like viral marketing and online PR are not only opportune--but crucial! If we can use a zero-cost project like this one to elevate an important conversation and to affect behavior, what else might we be able to accomplish!

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