Imagine you are a developer, building a skyscraper. You don’t hire workers. Instead, random passerbys build your skyscraper for free. Basically because you’ve told them a joke. One puts couple of bricks together, other one pulls a big steel beam on a pulley, that guy installs some windows and electricity on the whole fourth floor.
Too bad for developers, this is not how building skyscrapers works. On the other hand, this is exactly how marketing can work sometimes. You don’t need expensive media and production for tens of thousands of Euros. An iPhone video shared on the Facebook will do…
… or at least that’s what so many marketing people think.
Actually the “make it cost little and make it a viral” logic can be compared to “here’s 5 thousand and win the other 95 thousand for the campaign in Loto”.
There are no official instructions on how to make a good viral that would be carved in stone. Even if there were, the conditions are constantly changing. You can watch the best viral videos on YouTube and make notes, but in the end, all you learn is only how the virals worked in 2008. The proper viral effect is still more less a matter of luck.
There are three things that we can point out:
1. If it’s supposed to be a good viral, it helps if it’s not trying to sell the product too hard. So it’s better if you set your goal as high as making a buzz and awareness. If you don’t plan to do a regular campaign afterwards to say the rest of the story, you’re gonna have a bad time. Even Citroen needed to do the outdoors, so you’d properly realise what was that car that Sagan parked his bicycle on.
2. Many virals weren’t meant to be viral. They’d become one. Our Kolesomania for COOP Jednota, for example. So even this mythical viral needs some help sometimes, you need to get it in tabloids and pay for some inorganic spreading on the social networks. Otherwise no one ever finds out that it’s funny / interesting / touching and worth sharing.
3. Virals aren’t always too honest. That’s why you proceed with them carefully. You can confuse people a little and as long as you don’t deceive them and they have fun, you should be safe. Always pay attention to what kind of message is left once it’s clear this “spontaneous viral video” is actually your communication. Again, it helps if there’s something extra and useful to it, rather than just you selling your product. Nobody wants million people to learn about their product in one second and have them remember that the product screwed them in the next.
When a viral is achieved, your day is made. Pretending that this is how it was meant to be from the very beginning is the easiest thing. But when a viral is only being planned, you need to be down-to-earth and don’t get too high on your expectations.
Because that’s how it works. If you want to make God laugh, just say “this is totally gonna be a viral”. :)