No formula exists for getting an advertising campaign to go viral. However, memorable campaigns do share common qualities. We talked to experts who work with companies firsthand on digital strategy. They shared views on what viral marketing means, the mindset for such approaches as well as what campaigns worked and why.
ScribbleLive held a chat with an expert panel: Alexis Grant; digital strategist, entrepreneur and writer of Socialexis; Marie Alonso; content branding and social media strategist at Miles Technologies; and Roger Wu, co-founder of native advertising platform Cooperatize. Here are chat highlights outlined in five key points.
Leverage your strengths
Think about your strengths. If you’re good at writing, don’t force yourself to create content for YouTube. How can you use what you’re good at to showcase what you can offer? Also, more is not always better! — Alexis Grant
Companies need to think about their goals. Certain channels are better at brand building versus Direct Response — Roger Wu.
It’s all about content! Digital content is a variety of opportunities, including video. Social platforms are tremendous communications foundations for any and all marketing campaigns — it’s digital, social and designed for today’s mobile world — Marie Alonso.
Viral success holds consistent qualities
The group discussed several successful campaigns:
– Blendtec’s Will It Blend?
– Honda’s Rube Goldberg-style ads
– VaynerMedia’s Nilla Wafer Story
– Aqua Teen Hunger Force
– Oreo – Mini Wonderfilled
– Kit Kat and Oreo play tic tac toe on Twitter
– Behind the scenes of Oreo’s real-time Super Bowl slam dunk
What each of those campaigns proves is that being first with timely events, staying nimble and being genuine with the ad message specifically resonates with the audience.
Honda Commercial Rube Goldberg
by Isaac Nicholas via YouTube
Be authentic! Let people see who you are and what you have to offer. That authenticity almost always shines through. — Alexis Grant
These businesses are genuine and authentic. They aren’t over the top because they can’t afford to be … they are real and everyone loves real! — Roger Wu
Whether big or scrappy, a great campaign will come from the ability of the business to be fast moving, creative and open to even crazy ideas – these ideas can be rejected, of course, but there needs to be an open attitude to “this is awesome, it might be huge” to power a great digital and social branding push! I am going to share Oreo again, because they are just so cute – crazy, smart cute! — Marie Alonso
Will it Blend? iPhone 5s and 5c
by Blendtec via YouTube
Tap into resources to help reach goals
Engagement is mega important. As a former journalist, I am always driven to tell a story, to make something relevant or create something the speaks to someone — it must care about the reader, viewer. Content needs to care to engage. And today, there are so many ways to publish — even for personal branding, which can fuel business branding. LinkedIn’s publishing platform is one great example of how CEOs and professionals can brand themselves, which, in turn, benefits their business in terms of branding and social outreach. — Marie Alonso
Re: tools –> So many! Here’s a list of my favorite ones: Awesome Resources for Building a Business, Blog or Brand — Alexis Grant
Digital marketing has a split personality! You can talk Google AdWords, PPC campaigns, inbound content and more, things that have analytics and can be scrutinized. But, what of the content power, the social shares, the popular blog that solidifies thought leadership, thousands of retweets, the viral videos — it is like left and right brain working together! — Marie Alonso
Cut through the noise
Companies have to be OK with putting themselves out there. If you have a blog but have shut off the comments because you are afraid of them why bother? The economy is undergoing an entrepreneurial shift and at the core of that is failure and willingness to accept that… — Roger Wu
Hello everyone! My take is, viral digital marketing is all about what public relations, media relations and strategic marketing has always been about — creating an energy! Today, it’s about creating an energy and awareness with an immediacy and creating a contagious outreach that builds brands! — Marie Alonso
@Alexis, absolutely! Everyone thinks it’s easy to be funny and come up with something great and creative, but it’s not — you just have to keep trying, keep timely and keep open to new ways to engage! And yes, for small businesses, really allocating the time and being “all in” makes all the difference. Not easy! — Marie Alonso
What can brands learn? Going viral is not a strategy. A successful outcome isn’t guaranteed in every campaign. Have a careful plan that comes with measurable goals. What do you want your campaign to accomplish? Who do you want to reach?
Do what makes sense. Don’t chase fads just because everyone else is doing it. Ideally, the ROI and goals would keep this in check. Think about approaching the campaign reasonably in a manner that works — not cliche overkill.
Review previous successes and apply what works, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Were there things that worked before with your company specifically that would work again? But at the same time, distinguish yourself by going with what works for you, rather than contributing to the noise that’s already there.