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!)
6 CommentsJoin the Discussion
why some videos go viral ? people enjoy them & want their contacts to enjoy it too!- it’s entertainment.
Basic need for any content (need not be just video) to get viral is that its presentation should be interesting to audience, contents should be relevant & they should appear authentic.
If message is simple & clear- it can have immediate appeal to press forward button making it viral.
Getting video viral may not get sales immediately go viral, but it can help to create strong brand image. Continuous communication with constant core message can only help sales.
The blender example is perfect to connect with audience.
Allen Roberts says
Your cartoon is disturbingly accurate!
Lucio Ribeiro says
Virality is frequently treated like a “feature” rather than an “outcome”…it’s also thought as owned rather than earned.
Although I strongly believe you can influence virality and build basic foundations for virality you can’t fully control. Same as you can prepare for the winter but can’t control the weather.
Another point that is constantly forgotten is to assume viewers/followers/fan are real people. They control the flow not the brand/marketer. They/We work on our own agenda and not a pre-set agenda arranged by a marketing agency.
Content should have an ethical appeal, an emotional appeal, or a logical appeal.
A strong balance on all three is likely to leave behind a persuaded audience and therefore more likely to influence.
No one is going to hit a goal in a soccer game (I’m brazilian so I just talk soccer terms!) every time, but if you understand the balance of kicking the ball your average goes up.
You Missed another KEY check… MUST show the company/brand logo!
Thank Tom. Another great cartoon.
Dan Greenberg says
At Impossible Software, we provide the technology for individualizing video in ad and marketing campaigns. Often, individualizing the video is seen as a check-off like “viral” or, worse, the feature that will make the video viral. Experience with dozens of campaigns simply confirms what you said: customizable or not, the content is the most important thing. To that, I’d add that “they will come because they build it” is just about as successful as “build it and they will come:” no promotion equals no success.
What bothers me about video is often that you need an instructional video for your customers, and what comes out is a marketing video that the execs need to go viral. It goes nowhere when a short instructional video would have been wildly popular with your customers.
The process needs to start with the intent of the video – then run that intent past what the customer needs – then figure out if it can be a snazzy marketing video, an improvised viral video, or instructional videos.