Imagine one day you wake up and your company is being mentioned in morning news, in primetime TV programs and almost everywhere.
People are talking about your brand, posting praiseworthy things about you, and the world is treating your company as a protagonist from some movie.
Sounds great, isn’t it?
Nope, I’m not asking you to drink any magical potion just like the fairytales but this kind of popularity is what every business dreams about.
Try viral marketing!
Yes, viral marketing can unlock the doors to immense popularity and buzz for your business that you can cash on and make your brand successful. And not only that, you can promote your business without spending a fortune on advertising cost. Consider viral marketing a fuel that can spread your brand, new product launch or your service like a fire in the jungle. And the best part is that your consumers would be acting as the promoters.
There are various viral marketing examples from the last decade (only) that show how it changed the destiny of some brands overnight and today they’re one of the successful ones in the market.
Come, let me tell you everything about viral marketing, how it can benefit your brand and some proven techniques to implement it the right way, below.
Sure, some of you may have “some” idea about viral marketing!
But please bear with me so I can explain it in detail before unveiling its wonderful benefits or how to implement it the right way.
In simple words, viral marketing aims at creating an information fusion in the society and capitalizing on the word of mouth to achieve an organization’s marketing objectives.
This way of marketing encourages a person to share the video, news, or fact with his friend’s circle out of excitement or playing their part in spreading awareness for a social cause. There are various examples where brands have used viral marketing such as the most famous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
In this challenge the participant pours a bucket full of water and nominates his best friends to do the same. The idea was to spread awareness about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and ask the nominees to donate to the charity to help the organization fight back this disease. The challenge was initiated by ALS Association which turned into $115 million donations in 2014.
This was one example from a non-profit organization and there are other examples of how big brands have leveraged their branding via viral marketing and gained instant growth.
You might be doubting all the great powers the viral marketing has but take my words, DON’T!
See, viral marketing can help your brand not just in raising awareness but in increasing sales volumes as well as reducing the marketing expenses, too.
In fact, let me tell you some cool benefits of viral marketing and why every brand tries to implement it every now and then, below:
One of the mechanisms of how viral marketing works is people are your promoters so you never need to spend money on billboards or ads placement.
In other words, your brand message is being shared by everyone so your marketing team sits back and monitors the hits on your social media accounts or on the website. This is a great feature of viral marketing that allows you to reduce your ads expense to almost 10% only.
Imagine your brand is being endorsed by every other follower and the likes shoot up on your social media pages. You not only garner revenue but also double your social media currency if you implement viral marketing the correct way. Look at some of the famous examples like Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark or Dollar Shave Club’s hilarious DVC.
Do you guys remember when Dr. Dre created the hashtag #StraightOutta to promote his movie Straight Outta Compton?
He asked people to fill in the blanks and they honoured his request!
Within 2 days, the hashtag was trending on Twitter with 15000 retweets and about 6 million memes were created by the whole world. And this benefited N.W.A as around 7 million visitors came on their official website.
This all happened in the span of 9 days!
Astonishing, isn’t it?
That’s the kind of effect viral marketing can have on your brand and make it an instant hit.
It basically makes people so curious that they first want to know what is happening and once they do, they try to become a part of the movement.
Whatever they do, your brand thrives and that’s the best part!
The American brand – Always – came up with a wonderful DVC idea where they auditioned different people and asked them to Throw Like a Girl.
Next, everyone tried to imitate how a female thrower acts and lastly, there was a girl who simply came in front of the camera and threw the ball.
The message was simply to stop demeaning the female gender while encouraging someone and this connected with so many people on an emotional level. This benefited the brand in dual ways like they garnered so many views via this DVC and secondly, they saw a hike in profits for that month after the DVC was aired.
Viral marketing can help your brand to establish itself as the out-of-the-thinker, a trusted name in the industry.
No matter whether you operate from Palo Alto, USA or Bengaluru, India, your brand can benefit from viral marketing so much that you can increase your area of operations.
See, there are different viral marketing techniques that range from a fun video to an emotional message and you can create a fusion reaction with your creative idea. And this idea not just resonates with people in your city, you can also attract new buyers from neighbouring countries.
In the era of social media platforms, you can break the borders and find new business opportunities via viral marketing once your campaign becomes a global hit.
In the new era of marketing, we believe in brand discovery (not the other way around) but who doesn’t like when the company is being featured in morning shows?
It is true that people are wise today but the TV shows do dictate our buying decisions and there are several events to prove this.
Recently, the footballer Ronaldo replaced Coca Cola’s bottle with plain water and the company’s sales dropped down instantly.
In the same manner, if a celebrity or a famous TV host praises your brand (and the products, of course) your company shall reap its benefits for months to come.
And all this is because of the viral marketing campaign that you’ve created!
The core mechanism is yet to be confirmed of how a viral marketing campaign works in a brand’s favour and when it backfires.
The main headline is that…it works!
And I’ve gathered some of my thorough observations when brands literally skyrocketed their success via viral marketing.
So, here are some proven ways to use viral marketing in your favour and make swift progress in the competition.
In order to go viral with your brand message, you may incorporate an emotional touch in it.
See, we’re humans and connect with each other when we see someone happy, sad, or excited and this can prove helpful for your brand especially when you want to use a viral marketing approach.
It works because of two reasons!
First, we get excited to see someone happy and smiling around us or feel the pain of the subject in the video and relate ourselves with him.
Secondly, this type of content is a good way of entertainment and amusement for every human being regardless of their age.
P&G came up with a sweetest approach to honour the unsung heroes in a champion’s life, Mothers!
The video was dedicated to all the mothers who wake up before the champions-in-making, stay with them during the training sessions and become the very first supporters.
This video was so touching that it instantly connected with everyone on the internet and helped the brand garner the desired exposure it wanted. The DVC was posted after they announced the sponsorship in 2010’s Olympics.
The campaign got 76 million views and earned P&G a %500 million in sales revenue that year.
Viral marketing campaigns work when the viewer can relate himself with the message the brand has to offer.
It gives them a sense of belonging and they do exactly what you want them to do (to hit the share button, right?).
What KFC did a few years back is really a lesson for brands to use viral marketing for their benefit!
When the fast-food chain was out of chicken in their London branches, fans started posting negative remarks on social media but they were quick to address the matter.
KFC issued an apology with a creative ad that reads “FCK” along with a full-page apology and explanation of the incident. This not only converted the sentiments of masses towards them but also gave them supporters beneath the negativity spreaders, online.
Influencers are an important part to make your viral marketing campaigns!
No matter if we’re in 2021 or living in 1887, we always turn our heads up when a favourite celebrity is on the stage. We not just hear them but blindly follow what they ask us to do. Call it stupidity or devotion but it is the truth that no one would deny.
If you want to increase the chances of success while launching your viral marketing, try onboarding a famous celebrity to endorse your brand just like Doritos and Mountain Dew did in their 2018 Superbowl ad. The ad showed Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman showing their rap skills (along with other known faces) and received about 2 million views online.
Both the brands extended the campaign and converted it into a social media challenge with the hashtags #Spitfire & #Icecold, too.
When it comes to marketing, every second holds a magical moment for businesses where implementing viral marketing can do wonders. And marketing is a crazy world where anything can happen at any time and you must keep your eyes open all the time.
See, no one knows that at what moment the right opportunity comes your way and gives you a chance to make your viral marketing campaign a success.
A few years back there was a power outage during Superbowl and everyone was clueless for the next 30 minutes until the game resumed. Oreo found it as an opportunity and diverted everyone’s attention towards their cookies with a simple tweet.
Oreo made record sales during the Superbowl and cashed the event!
Every marketer knows GenZ is the future of the buying ecosystem!
Don’t forget that it’s 2021 and the teens around us are becoming independent in their buying decisions, too.
If you want to capitalize on your viral marketing investment, focus on them and you’ll thank me later.
Try organizing niche challenges!
Because our future loves them so much that they not only share the brand message on social media but actually take part in it.
Take e.l.f. for instance and learn from their #EyeLipsFace campaign a few years back that generated over 2.8 million views on the internet.
And the famous female celebrities didn’t hold back to take part in it and the challenge became an instant hit amongst the GenZ on different social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
Fascination is another quality of a successful viral marketing campaign!
We humans are trained (by Mother Nature) to discover interesting things and repeat the same by default. And this can prove a driving force for making your viral marketing a success.
And if you’re hoping to use a viral marketing technique, try adding a fun side in your campaign just like Apple did in 2015 on iPhone 6’s launch.
They asked people to use the hashtag #ShotonIphone while uploading their best clicks and people granted their wish.
Within a few weeks, they received unlimited entries and the best ones were displayed on Apple’s Instagram feed and more than 10,000 billboards worldwide. The aim of this campaign was to display the best camera results the iPhone 6 offers and get people talking about this feature.
Apple, very strategically, remained the most talked brand that year with mentions from over 20,000 influencers and 94% positive reviews via this viral marketing strategy.
We, humans, are a very strange creation!
We can be busy decorating our lives, excelling in our careers or finding meaning but we always spare time to support someone in pain.
And the urge to help others is what binds us together. In fact, you can incorporate it in your viral marketing campaign, too.
Consider Make a Wish Foundation as an example!
In 2013, the foundation helped a kid, Miles Scott, realize his dream to be the Batman for a day. Scott was completing his chemotherapy for leukemia and wanted to do stuff just like the Batman does in the movie.
His plans were to fight bad people, save the city and receive Gotham’s key from the mayor.
Big task, right?
Clever Girls Collective, a marketing agency, joined the foundation and spread the word out. In no time they made #SFbatkid a trending hashtag on Twitter and included famous celebs and politicians like President Barack Obama, Britney Spears, & Ben Affleck.
You may find it interesting: 7 Best Slogans of All The Time That Took The Brands To Staggering Heights
So, this was all that I had to share about viral marketing, its benefits and some cool techniques to implement it in your brand’s success.
Before you leave this page, I have a few more lines to tell you!
If you’re opting for viral marketing, be very careful while stepping into this alley because it has some negative aspects, too. Firstly, no one can predict the actual outcomes of a viral campaign since we’re marketers not telepaths. Secondly, you must not portray your viral marketing campaign as invasive as it may backfire and people won’t hold back to disown your brand. And thirdly, you’ve to ensure that your planning was solid enough to avoid a low virality score of your campaign as it will turn your efforts into a fruitless activity.
Folks at Full Stop Inc. would be glad to help your brand have a solid viral marketing plan if you’re unsure how to do it right. Adios!
Waqas D. is the co-founder of the branding and website agency, FullStop™. He supercharges brands by crafting memorable logos, brand identities and engaging websites. Besides thousands of startups and medium-size businesses, FullStop has worked with likes of Microsoft & L’Oréal. View our portfolio or get in touch.
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