ChooseYour customers are choosing, whether you’re the one giving them the choices — or not. That’s the message of the Web 2.0 era, and it was reinforced again in the last week of July. That’s when the hottest viral video of the week belonged to a UK nonprofit dedicated to stopping violence. The campaign launched on YouTube and within a couple weeks had rocketed to three-quarters of a million views per week.

The brilliance of the campaign, titled “Choose a Different Ending,” lay partly in its simplicity and street appeal, but mainly in the power of its concept: choice. Every viewer begins with the same video and the same scenario: a young man prepares to leave his house. Does he take a knife, or leave it?

You choose, thanks to embedded buttons in the YouTube video that link you directly to the next part of the story you’ve chosen. It’s “Choose Your Own Adventure” for the 2000s. The story plays out according to your choices, but the goal of the campaign is to demonstrate the consequences of choices. You prepare for violence, you reap the whirlwind.

It’s not a theme that most companies (or even nonprofits, for that matter) take as their own. But any company or brand can learn from “Choose a Different Ending” and its popularity. This campaign empowered its customers, letting them learn the brand message through discovery and the sway of their own choices. It’s a strategy that can play out in a number of places – websites, interactive tools, social media, even the structure of print ads or integrated campaigns.

Are you letting your customers choose? They’re already doing it — so why not bring the power of choice into your own marketing?

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