Viral Marketing – Who Stole My Brand?

Viral Marketing – Who Stole My Brand?

Viral Marketing for BusinessViral marketing can boost your brand whether you’re a local or an international business. Nowadays, getting people’s attention to like your product is no longer limited to house visits, where a salesman knocks on someone’s house, have an irritated woman in her bathrobe open the door, and while the salesman is about to utter the first sentence of his spiel, the irritated woman would send him away and bang the door before the poor salesman can even say a word. That, my friend, is traditional marketing. Of course we cannot deny the fact the advertisement on radio and televisions still are the most powerful tolls of marketing, yet, this covers a certain region only. Now, if you want attention, go online, create a powerful message, interesting video or audio recording, have people notice you, Let people talk about your product, and spread your content and viral message.

Actually, starting to spread a viral message will require technical knowledge on how to start. The most basic would be to create a totally new online experience. It should be noteworthy that the web surfers will definitely notice. Better yet, create an offline experience that is cheaper, faster, and better which will make for the target market switch without any doubt. Try to observe the side pages of most networking site, a number of advertisements are posted, a restaurant for example is offering online booking and discounts without the hassle of visiting them physically. It makes people life easy. Thus online reservations, bookings, and purchasing had been a trend. While offering huge discounts of products surely catches attention and some interested people even link the site to their friends who might also be interested, thus the viral marketing starts.

Exploring Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing For Smaller BrandsAfter coming with the idea and its objectives, develop it into a message. Create slideshare presentations, interesting videos and audio recordings and start linking to social networking sites, where you should also create a page. Add as many people as you wanted, though try to limit to those sectors that you believed will be interested with your product. This strategy does not only let you introduce your brand within a bigger market but also saves you the cost of expensive marketing.

Another consideration will be is how you are going to fill the gap of a seemingly saturated industry? In the introduction of software, an upgrade filled the gap of the clamor for better features, with the offering of online travel bookings, arrangement for plane tickets, hotel accommodations, and itinerary arrangements were introduced. With latest version of cellphones and other mobile gadgets, more and more applications are being developed. So it is for you, as an entrepreneur to think, what gap would you like to fill in? The prime consideration will be, what is the latest on everything, and how can you fill a gap?

Also, ‘lock-in’ your market, do this by developing upgrades to your product at a maintained or slightly higher cost. Thus switching to another brand shall mean greater cost to the market. Keep you market informed and keep your virus spreading with updates about latest features of your product.

Maintain forums or blogs where suggestions and comments are welcome, though your ultimate intention is to keep yourself beneficial by constant exposure and citations with other websites.

People would ask, why are these viral ideas so important? Let me share some reasons why.

Viral Marketing Ideas -OldspiceIn any industry, it will always be a winner-takes-all realm; a brand that has created a better impression will always be considered the leader. It can even monopolize prices and dictates the direction of the entire industry. But how does one gain that kind of status? Marketing, viral marketing that is. The brand has successfully reached the target market, impressed and satisfied the customers, and created a viral message from these customers.

 

 

  1. Create an idea – create something that has never existed before. Impress people, have them talking about it, post in your blog or website, and finally, allow people to share your ideas without, of course, losing your identity as the proponent.
  2. Take advantage of the advancing technology – people, regardless of distance are now constantly connected, these people has friends and their friends has more and it multiplies continuously. Now, if you will be able to hold a person on a social networking site, have him link your video, audio, or presentation of your product. His friend might notice, and so his friends friend. Now you are creating a viral marketing.
  3. Introducing a new idea or product merits curiosity. People will be talking; your site will be searched. As effective Marketing personnel, you have to supply this curiosity and have all the information available.
  4. Ultimately, there is a huge profit in owning and creating a viral idea.

Here’s the famous Old Spice Viral Video

For an idea to be viral, one can follow the following method:

Viral Marketing - Word of Mouth

  1. Client involvement and Launching Polls – when a client participates in the development of a product or service, he tends to be loyal and most probably than not talks about it with his friends. He always takes pride when his views are accounted. While launching polls about customer preference helps the brand to be viral and easily recognized.
  1. Industry Specific Contribution – A Marketing guy can focus on the specific and major contribution of his industry in the community. This recall on its market shall help a lot in gaining positive feedback on whatever endeavor the industry has.
  1. Strong link on search engines, forums, and blogs – it should be kept in mind, that a searchable link or a viral marketing link improves the marketability of products.
  1. In the industry of game or application developments the products will be more saleable if this is integrated with mobile gadgets and smartphones, the more entertaining a game or an application is the more market becomes aware of the product.
  1. Although it may be ancient sounding, print and direct marketing still creates viral awareness if the ad catches attention and word of mouth about the products starts to spread. This however, is limited within a specific area.
  1. Marketing Web Services – is also a great avenue in creating a viral marketing. Ebay, Amazon, and other websites that specializes with marketing are filled with surfers and internet savvy people who are looking for products that will satisfy their interest. On these sites, there are is huge possibility of global exposure as well as to be linked in other websites who has people who may be interested with your product.
  1. SEO and Web Development – marketers who wants to operate in the global market can create a website and provide product specifications in the site, not only that it minimizes cost in marketing and installing showrooms but it is able to reach market anywhere in the globe. The secret in a successful online business depends on the optimization of keywords that makes the product and the business searchable. A number of industries in SEO development had been developed to answer the need for an optimized content that, as most websites desires, can be placed on a higher ranking on search engines.
  1. Social Media – the growing popularity of social media is also used to place viral marketing and has proved to be very effective. A number of products and services created their own page on these social media sites and at the same time advertises on the site. A number of users who tag the ‘like’ were proof that it has been very effective and at times, this social media user are even linking, and recommending a service or a product to friend on their social network.
  1. Radio and Television advertisement – for local marketing whose target market is limited within a specific area of operation, the traditional Radio and Television marketing is still one of the most effective marketing strategies over the years. The secret basically lies on the creativity of the ad executive in producing a catchy material that will retain within peoples mind because of its easy recall and the influence it provides in a certain culture of the market.

Viral Marketing Strategy targets the following:Viral Marketing Strategy

  1. Social Profile Gathering – every product caters to a certain group of markets. Thus, creating a message and a video or audio recording must focus on how you are going to get the attention of your target market. The objective in launching the viral marketing strategy is to introduce a product that will make their lives easier, provide something of their interest, and introduce something that will make them laugh or lighten their lives.
  1. Proximity Market Analysis – a marketing person should provide a viral marketing message that is delivered in real time in conformance to a market presence according to the technology preference. For example, a group of students prefers constant download availability of the latest MP3, make it available or a group of full time housewives in a certain area loves to surf for new recipes online, provide it in your site if you are specializing on this field.
  1. Analysis of Keywords,  Hooks and Linkbaits – a real time analysis on how effective are the keywords of your web content should be maintained. It should be checked regularly to know your chances of visits and hooks for surfers who are interested in your product. In cases that these keywords are ineffective, try reconstructing the content with an objective of gaining more exposure and accessibility.

Now, please bear in mind that Viral Marketing Strategy do not focus on formal product presentations alone. Yes, this all aims to catch attention yet the approach cannot be limited to traditional and direct product presentation. Gimmick is one of the prime factors. Below are some examples of successful viral marketing strategies launched online.

  1. Blair Witch Project – producing the movie costs only $350, 000 yet it was able to gain a gross income of $250 million worldwide. The strategy applied is to create a website with deliberately blurred photos and videos stating about the mysterious disappearance of the three filmmakers. The gimmick worked, it had been talked over and over, and it made the marketers millionaires.
  1. Hotmail – perhaps has the most classic story of a successful viral marketing strategy. The tactic is to provide free email services to registered users wherein every email sent carries a message that Hotmail provides the free email service, so when the recipient clicks on the link, they were directed to the Hotmail homepage.
  1. Burger King Subservient Chicken – when Burger King released a viral marketing campaign in 2004, a million people responded the day after, giving commands to the subservient chicken. This is a campaign introducing a man dressed in chicken who will do whatever commanded of him.

  1. Jack In the Box – this is also another great example of a successful viral marketing. In their latest commercial, Jack was seen hit by a truck. This prompt people to visit their website. Yet, the site later crashed due to traffic before it even reached the peak of popularity.
  1. Transport for London – this is an entertaining video where viewers are asked to count the times the white team crosses the basketball. The thing that makes this viral is the entertainment and share worthy of the material.

  1. Smirnoff- this video literally begs to be shared. It has been an instant hit when it was released showing white boys rapping regarding throwing a tea party.

  1. Dove – this viral video even catches the attention of Ellen DeGeneres. In a months’ time, the video gained two million views. The video provide a positive message on how true beauty should be defined.

  1. Bob Dylan – the objective of this viral campaign is to market Bob Dylans’ greatest hits boxset. The concept is to allow users to send messages in the form of Subterranean Homesick Blues clips.


Reaching the world and capturing attention is a great endeavor. It cannot be done with traditional approaches, but what are required are creativity and the technical knowledge on how to place these viral messages to assure maximum exposure. Reaching a global market does not only create brand awareness but rather generate millions of money. With this, if you want your product or services to get attention, do not stick with traditional marketing, do it in a lesser cost, go online, create viral messages.

Addendum:

Here’s another viral marketing video done by Coca-cola with their  Slogan “Open Happiness” for the Filipino Overseas Filipino Workers. They captured the target market of OFW families for the Christmas season.

 

Here’s  a Viral Marketing Cheat Sheet for you!
++ Click Image to Enlarge ++
The Viral Marketing Cheat Sheet
Source: The Viral Marketing Cheat Sheet Infographic

 

Viral Marketing - Who Stole My Brand? by

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+Mark Acsay III is an Inbound Marketing Strategist based from the Philippines and the author Webby Thoughts blog. He loves agile content marketing fueled with creativity and efficiency. You may connect with his twitter at @markacsay

29 Comments

  1. This post is loaded with great information. It is also important that the content you will be sharing should definitely be worth the time to read or view. Sometimes despite spending $$$ on promotions, you would end up with a failed vial marketing campaign because the content itself is not worth the attention. I agree with your points Mark. I will be sharing this with our network

    Reply
    • Thanks Ella for sharing your thoughts! I appreciate it for sharing the content. cheers!

      Reply
  2. I love the viral marketing cheat sheet. superb semi-graphical statements :) so how do we relate viral marketing to building an online authority?

    Reply
    • There’s a correlation between getting online authority and having your content getting viral. Just like what happened to hotmail in my example, by giving out free emails to people, they suddenly become an authority when it come to email market. When Dove, released their video content, they built a brand of real, and natural beauty.

      Reply
  3. This is a great list Mark! I will have to come back to it for the details. I have seen the gist, though…that is why I am coming back for the details. :)

    Reply
    • Thanks dropping by again.

      Reply
  4. What a complete list… thanks for summing them up. Indeed, a true value of a viral content comes with how you manage the presentation and also following some of SEO guides.

    Reply
    • Thank you for the kind words. Actually, I am the first one enjoying the videos I posted here! haha!

      Reply
  5. In Facebook, everything seems go viral. And I love the cheat sheet. It will definitely help me a lot. :)

    Reply
    • Me too, the cheat sheet is awesome!

      Reply
  6. Awesome presentation Mark.. Looking forward for more :D *hats off* for all the effort done on this post :D

    Reply
    • Thanks Herbert! I’m glad you appreciate it. This is in line with the other post: Linkbaiting

      Reply
  7. Great post! VIRAL is the new word to achieve, hehe! I enjoyed the videos too and definitely loved how it affected me, esp the Coca Cola video. Viral marketing is effective marketing!

    Reply
    • Stef, it’s one of the quality of content that can go viral, you appeal to the target market’s emotions. Coca-cola hit the mark!

      Reply
  8. Viral marketing is basically a word of mouth marketing, looks simple enough but is really tough to execute.

    Reply
  9. wow this has a lot of useful info…let me digest most of it first…thanks for the share!

    Reply
  10. viral marketing needs a a lot of SEO hard works and guerilla tactics, thanks for the information. True to its saying, its not an easy task to accomplished. But once you positioned yourself in it with right amount of timing, techniques and great brand, viral marketing is definitely feasible.

    Reply
    • I couldn’t agree more Daryll. Cheers!

      Reply
  11. Gosh, information overload! Viral marketing can make or break! It is so good for a product as you showed here, I love Old Spice ads, even puppet shows do spin-offs of them. ^_^ Welcome to the info highway!

    Reply
  12. You’ve given good examples of viral marketing there! It’s one of my dreams… to create a marketing campaign that goes viral.

    Reply
  13. very informative. I hope I get to use your tips in the future

    Reply
  14. Mark,

    such a great and intense article. Love all the video examples you gave as well. Love the one with Bob Dylan and the words on the cards. That is an amazing video. I also cut and pasted the URL to this article on my Facebook Fan Page. You can share your articles there any time it’s “JupiterJimsMarketingTeam” on FB. The Cheat Sheet is wonderful also.

    Thanks so much!
    Jupiter Jim

    Reply
  15. Another load of information! I haven’t comprehend yet on the Link Bait post, and here comes Viral Marketing. I’ve been trying to look for ways as on how to implement this one. I’ve heard there’s a new online role now, and it’s called “content strategist”, which may be responsible for this kind of marketing tactics.

    Reply
    • Thanks Tristan for dropping by!

      Reply
  16. Awesome post Mark :)

    Another great tool when shooting for a viral campaign is to “create a movement” – we’re currently developing a campaign (for some brand) that focuses on educating people or turning people to actually like the vision(s) of the company :)

    Reply
    • Oh, that’s quite challenging but creative! Yeah, in branding, you need to build awareness of a company/organization’s vision to the target community. Vision awareness campaigns have been utilized by World Vision all over the world to attract donors and they have been very successful in disseminating their vision all over the globe.

      Good luck in your campaigns.

      Reply
  17. Wow, I don’t know where to start! This is really a great jam-packed blog post. I need to figure out how I am going to “do something unexpected.” Thanks for getting my wheels turning.

    Reply
  18. This is one useful article. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! :)

    Reply
    • Thank you Nicole for dropping by. I’m glad to know it’s helpful.

      Reply

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