Content is shit, all hail viral mechanics!
September 16, 2014
September 16, 2014
The past 16 years I have had the great fortune of working with a range of different brands with very different ideas on how to run a business. One thing that unites all of them, however, is their unwillingness to be the first one to jump into the water and swim whenever a new thing come along.
Benchmark has since long, been the way brands try to hedge what their own position in the business landscape should be all about.
This is perhaps a great way of understanding where the market is moving, however, when applied to marketing in 2014, looking at what others do, might be what makes you fail. Especially if you copy, rather than understand the mechanics at work behind the results.
The value of social media
The past year we have seen the victorious viral of Volvo Trucks, the Ice bucket challenge and a series of other wild campaigns that have been shared between people online. Naturally, marketing directors are pointing fingers, asking their agencies for their own version of the above.
It has always been this way.
What many fail to understand however, is WHY and HOW these viral campaigns became the huge successes they did.
Human behaviour at the core of the launch
In the media, in blogs and in most of the story telling coming out of these campaigns, the focus has been the content. It has been about the story and how people choose to engage with something they care about.
I would like to argue that this has very little to nothing to do with the final outcome. Content is shit, when it comes to generating a viral effect in any type of media.
Rather. It is the behavioural mechanics and the understanding of formatting/optimising which is what makes a campaign go viral or not. The difference is in the detail. It is about the choice of words in a button and about the ability to change, until it takes off.
However, mainly, the success of a viral campaign resides in whether or not it coheres to the principles of conformity, challenge, charisma, creativity and cheating. You can listen in on the 5 Cs of viral marketing in the video listed above.
Everyone forgets the launch
Besides the behavioural mechanics, most marketeers forget that the launch of a campaign is as crucial as the product in itself. Just like product development in the startup community, a campaign has to adapt until it sits with its audience.
Most budgets are spent on production or hijacked to some crappy banner advertising at the date of launch. Very little money goes into adapting the messaging or the layout. Even less goes into creating additional stories about the content, making it relevant to more bloggers, online magazines and newspapers.
Do it and it will get done
In viral marketing, you need to reach through, not only reach out. You need to be inline with the purpose of the visit, the view or the action in order to generate a share. The only way to get there is to focus on optimising your own journey so that it is inline with the behaviour, purpose and interests of who you are trying to reach.
It is only when you understand these principles that it also becomes fun, easy and really really profitable to jump into the water and swim on your own.
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