4 Marketing Lessons Learned from #bathtubsofbunz

I’d like to introduce you to my new friend, Ken Ferguson.

I’ve actually known of Ken for several years, as he’s a close friend of my BFF’s little sister, but I’ve never had the opportunity to meet or talk to him until now.

Unlike most people I follow on social media, Ken doesn’t run a business. I doubt he ever will. But he recently started a movement on Facebook and Instagram that I find incredibly beautiful to behold, and I think it’s important that you, as a business owner, know not only what Ken’s doing, but why he’s doing it and why it works.

Following the 2016 US election, along with everything else happening in the world, Ken was tired of all the negativity he was seeing on social media. I can’t say I blame him – we can probably all agree that social media has been emotionally exhausting for the past several months.

So Ken decided he wanted to do something that would make him and others happy, laugh, and just generally bring the kid out in all of us. He was particularly inspired by Humans of New York, its impact on people and its daily moral messages.

Does this resonate somewhere deep inside you? It doesn’t surprise me. You likely launched your business because you wanted to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

And like you, when you were first exploring your business ideas, Ken explored his own ideas about what he could do to break the constant negativity surrounding him.

Ken tells me he has something of a bucket list of all his crazy ideas that he wants to do, so this movement he’s created is just one of many things we may see from him in the future.

So just what is this movement he’s created, you ask?

Oh, I can’t wait to share it with you!

Ken takes baths in other people’s houses.

I kid you not.

Since returning to Canada a few years ago after teaching English in Japan, Ken has only ever had apartments with shower stalls, no bathtubs, and he quite frankly missed taking baths.

What started as a lark to entertain his friends, Ken set a goal of taking a bath at a different person’s house every day for the month of January 2017. He used the website Bunz to help find people to host his daily bath, and called the “campaign” #bathtubsofbunz. (Bunz is an online community where people trade goods and services)

The thing that has me fascinated about Ken’s goal is how passionate other people became about his mission!

By sharing photos and stories of each bath host on Facebook and Instagram, excitement and curiosity grew about what Ken was doing. He received over 100 requests to host his bath time in the city of Toronto, and media coverage all over the world, including Canada, the US, Germany, Sweden, and the Ukraine.

Ken’s initial goal of giving people something to laugh about has been met; what he didn’t expect was how #bathtubsofbunz changed him. The people who opened their homes to Ken shared their personal stories with him, which has been incredibly humbling for him.

One such host, who really stands out for Ken, is a lady named Mariana. Ken was the first guest in her home since she finished chemo treatments. Another is lady with such severe social anxiety, she rarely leaves her house.

This is powerful stuff, my friends. Social media is powerful.

So why do I want you to know about Ken and his wacky #bathtubsofbunz movement?

Simple, really. As entrepreneurs, there are a few things we can learn about from what Ken is doing and why it’s working:

1. It’s all about the stories…

Ken discovered quite quickly the reason his mission caught on is because people loved hearing the stories about the people he was meeting.

2. …which means it has nothing to do with you.

From the get-go, Ken’s intentions were to make other people happy. Yes, he was the catalyst, and he’s a weird and wonderful guy, but at the end of the day, he tells the stories of the people he meets.

3. The reward is greater than the risk.

Yes, Ken took precautions meeting strangers off the internet. But that’s not the risk I’m referring to… and nor would I suggest you start doing something like what Ken did. Chiefly because it’s Ken’s idea!

The risk was that Ken chose to be vulnerable by taking an action that could have backfired. Instead, he was rewarded by creating a community of people who are entertained and moved by what he does.

Where could you step outside of your comfort zone to bring people together in your own community?

4. There are hidden opportunities everywhere.

Ken only intended for this to last a month. Instead, it took on a life of its own, and Ken chose to run with it.

He has now received requests to take #bathtubsofbunz global, including the possibility of creating a documentary, but because this is not a money-making venture for him, he needs some help getting the next phase of #bathtubsofbunz off the ground.

A GoFundMe has been created to help offset some of the costs, so if Ken’s movement has inspired you in some way or has made you laugh, I encourage you to check out what Ken has to say about it in his own words, and perhaps make a small contribution to his efforts.

You can also check out Ken on Facebook and Instagram.

About Katy Takaoka

Katy Takaoka works with entrepreneurs and experts who want to attract more of the right social media followers and turn them into loyal, paying clients.
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