Get Your Video Campaigns to Go Viral in 2013
It seems that 2012 was the year of viral videos, especially for brand promotion-- here's how you can learn from this year's successes.
1. Engage: Though people may not always participate in pre-planned communication programs, many people will respond when a brand offers transparency. Be transparent and reach out for feedback-- engagement will be the likely response.
CASE IN POINT: McDonald's used a YouTube campaign to target wary Canadian customers. The brand created a YouTube channel where people could ask anything and get a response in video form. The results speak for themselves: 6,000 questions were asked across over 2 million interactions and an average viewing time of 4 minutes.
2. Share Values: People are fed up with product-centric advertising-- we all want great content, but being barraged by a series of moralized or actionable messages can get exhausting. Brands that offer up value for society at large without pushing their wares make the case for their product even more strongly.
CASE IN POINT: In the wake of the Red Bull's "Mission to the Edge of Space" stratosphere jump, "Courage" is a value that will likely soon be connected to their brand. The stratosphere jump was estimated to have cost around $50 million, though the result was over 8 million views live (smashing through the previous record of 500,000). At time of writing, the official video upload has nearly 31 million views.
3. Think Outside the Box: Cleverly turning your industry stereotypes upside-down can delight viewers and lead to viral spread. Testing out never-before-seen ideas can generate buzz around your brand and your products, as well. Don't be afraid to play with what you have-- if you stretch the boundaries enough, you'll produce shock, wonder, surprise, joy, and other emotions that will help your videos go viral.
CASE IN POINT: Both Sweden and BodyForm had a fun time breaking out of the box this year. Sweden made the decision to hand its twitter account over to the people of Sweden, allowing for "A new Swede every week" and making "the world's most Democratic twitter." BodyForm, a women's menstrual products company from the UK, posted a video response within a week to a comment that went viral on their Facebook. The comment called out the "misleading" advertising about women's menstrual cycles; the video response mocked industry classics, such as having the CEO drink the blue liquid typically used to demonstrate product absorbency.
A number of other very successful videos and video campaigns were launched in 2012. A few that bear honorable mention include Gangnam Style, the most-watched YouTube video ever; Kony 2012, the video that made a murderer a controversial international figure; and the P&G Olympic sponsorship that highlighted the mothers of Olympians. In each case, the videos innovated, took risks, stated values, and engaged their audiences-- either through simple-to-learn dance moves or the demonstration of shared values. By applying these concepts to your video marketing, your company could create the next viral hit.