Voting Gets Personal

True inspiration comes more from real life than fiction. Pepsi Refresh may have kick-started the "cause-voting" trend by placing emphasis on the nonprofit or issue; but now, several companies have added a twist to traditional campaigns by putting people's true life stories at the forefront.

Ketel One Vodka is inviting its consumers to present an idea or captivating story that will raise society's behavioral bar. According to Business Insider, the company is initiating a "Gentleman's Call" to find an individual with an "entrepreneurial vision, a philanthropic mission, or an innovative product that can change lives." Individuals will submit ideas to the brand's Facebook page through July and will then have the chance to vote for which impactful concept is most worthy of the $100,000 prize.

Likewise, Jeep has recently tapped its own consumer base to find the "6th Man" in the company's recent cause-marketing campaign. Voting has just wrapped up on the brand's Facebook page, in which six consumer-nominated altruists shared their own stories via video on why their charities deserve a $20,000 donation. Finalist Jeff Stone founded the nonprofit, Severe Weather Assistance Team, after his two-week hospital stay due to a coma. His visual and personal story is what inspired thousands to vote.

These latest campaigns most resemble American Express' Members Project. However, this time, the focus is just as much on the power of the story as the merits of the social issue. There is no doubt that while consumer voting continues to get its fair share of criticism, it also continues to evolve as companies look for more innovative ways to get consumers involved on a personal level from start to finish.

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