Sometimes our marketing instincts get in the way of what’s most likely to be shared. When putting together a creative brief, marketers often take a tick box or laundry list approach. We throw in everything including the kitchen sink. We’re then surprised when it doesn’t land with our audience.
I gave a talk recently to a room full of agencies and asked who had ever been asked by a client to create a “viral video.” Everyone raised their hand.
Virality is frequently treated like a “feature” rather than an “outcome,” as if you can simply tick it as one of many options in a campaign like a media type or channel. Yet you can’t take what you’re already doing and magically make it go viral. You have to find something about your brand that is actually worth sharing.
Last year, I met Contagious author Jonah Berger at an event and was struck by the story he shared on Blendtec Blenders. Blenders are not an incredibly exciting, remarkable, or “viral” product category. Yet, Blendtec created a series of videos that have been seen over 260 million times.
They did this by identifying what’s remarkable about their brand and launched a short video series called “Will it Blend?” In each video, the founder blends something ridiculous in a Blendtec Blender (each generation of iPhone, glow sticks, Justin Bieber CDs, Extra Value Meals, etc.). The videos are highly addictive and drive home a single benefit — durability. The fact that they’ve gone viral is an outcome of finding a remarkable story to tell.
Here’s one of their earlier and most widely viewed videos:
The other aspect of this story I like is that it’s not a one-hit wonder. They’ve put out new videos regularly for the last 8 years. So, they’re not riding everything on one video. It’s about creating a continuous connection with an audience over time (now over 830K subscribers).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on “virality” and finding something about your brand that is worth sharing.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed cartoon print. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post by 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)