Natalie SissonToday’s guest post is written by Natalie Sisson

Let’s face it, humans are competitive by nature. Since 8th Century BC, the Ancient Olympic Games have shown us that we like to have a platform on which to stand following our Herculean efforts of doing better than everyone else.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and smart brands know how to work that sense of competition to their advantage by building creative competitions that target their loyal advocates and potential customers to have drive engagement, and grow business.

There are a number of platforms that take the human desire to win free stuff, and combine with an online application that allows you as an organization to customize a campaign.

Strutta offers tools to create either traditional enter-to-win sweepstakes or user-generated content (UGC) contests that enable submission of video, photo, audio, or text entries.

Agencies and brands are launching contests and sweepstakes on the Strutta platform as branded promotional microsites or applications inside Facebook. While other companies such as Wildfire, offer contests that work well within Facebook, they often reflect the template driven solution. Strutta seems to have set themselves apart by living and breathing contests every day and creating a rich integrative platform for the big brands to play ball on.

Crate and Barrel is a great example of a brand that has developed a competition that is not only fun and drives engagement, but delivered results to their end-goal.

Case Study: Crate and Barrel uses contests to drive brand engagement

In Spring 2011 Crate and Barrel embarked on the second annual Ultimate Wedding contest.

Goal: As a multi-channel home furnishings retailer, Crate and Barrel sought to drive gift registry creation and engage consumers online.

How it worked:

Participants were required to create a Crate and Barrel gift registry through the Strutta API.

After the participant’s registry was verified, they could submit an entry to the contest, which consisted of a photo and short answers. Public voting narrowed the field and a panel of judges ultimately picked the winner of a $100,000 dream wedding along with secondary prizes. The contest was promoted on the Crate and Barrel website, through other online advertising and in-store.


The result:

This contest has now run two consecutive years and generated more than 17,000 entries, each associated with a registry valued at more than $2,000. That’s $34 million in registry value. In addition, the contest generated more than 3 million page views and half a million votes on their website!

Why it worked:

Since the recession hit, many couples and their parents are no longer willing to mortgage the house to pay for a wedding. The wedding market is a huge niche but prices for services, even planning and gifts, have been overinflated for too long.  This initiative was a match made in heaven for young couples wanting to win their dream wedding and a brand that could cater to their target market and win them over in one hit.

So what does that mean for you? Contests are a great way to engage your audience if you can keep it goal-oriented and not simply based on likes and follows. Identifying th ego9al and using a tool such as Strutta to put together a fun campaign can really work. Have you recently implemented a contest? Thinking of doing one? What do you think?

Editor’s Note: We will have other (free) case studies related to this topic available on Spin Sucks Pro when we launch next month.

Natalie Sisson is a Suitcase Entrepreneur and adventurer who shares creative ways to run your business from anywhere in the world. She teaches clients how to use online tools, social media, and outsourcing to create more freedom in business and adventure in life.