the new age of marketing: Going Viral

Like doctors, like marketers! Both have to keep a close watch on recent activities in their respective fields since new information and technology have great impact on what they do.

Bhim Niroula, the voice behind ‘Sunday Morning Love You,’ would have never thought that one of his music videos would have over a million views on YouTube. Although unintentional, the video had a mysterious mix of marketing phenomenon unknown to many of its viewers. What is known is that the music video is so simple yet very funny. Like Sunday Morning Love You, there are other music videos and marketing campaigns that have maximum shares and likes on social media. This phenomenon is otherwise known as ‘going viral’.

Why is it that some of these videos and campaigns go viral while others are left unnoticed? To find out, let’s do what doctors do best: scrutinize the concerned area.

Emotions: Smart marketers realize that human beings are ‘emotional beings.’ The mantra is to tap in to these emotions: humor, anger or misery. ‘Kony 2012’ documentary had over 98 million views because the viewers were left in grief after finding out the truth behind Kony; the LRA militia responsible for the death of thousands of children in the African nations. Viewers were so emotionally drawn that they felt the need to share the emotion with their friends. Hence, millions shared it on social media channels, making it one of the most viral documentary ever.

Music videos, “Sunday Morning Love You,” and “What Does the Fox Say,” went viral because they were absurdly funny. We all laughed watching it and felt the need for our friends to laugh and talk about it too. On the contrary, the news story about the rape incident in Delhi went viral because everyone who read or heard about it burst into anger. The bottom line, we are all emotional beings and any issue that touches an emotional chord in us has the tendency to go viral.

Creativity mixed with simplicity: The new marketing formula is to produce creative content, yet make it simple. No one understands this better than the marketing/entrepreneur guru, Richard Branson. Virgin Atlantic recently released an in-flight safety video that had over seven million views on YouTube. Until now, we all thought in-flight safety instructions were as boring as watching weather reports. But Virgin Atlantic proved us wrong by taking the same dull concept and making it look fun. The only thing they did different was to make it creative and simple.

The surprise element: Over 58 million people watched the recent ‘Volvo’ commercial that featured Jean-Claude Van Damme performing his signature split between two Volvo trucks moving in reverse on a highway. That took many by surprise, including myself and so we made our friends watch the commercial too.

Also, do you remember the ‘What does not kill you makes you stronger’ commercial from Nolan’s Cheddar? Everyone who watched the commercial for the first time expected the mouse to fall in to the mouse-trap and eventually die. Turns out it does not! Instead, the mouse eats the cheese, and uses the mouse-trap as barbell to work-out. It took everyone by surprise, it was funny, creative and simple; all of which made the commercial go viral.

‘I know too’ attitude: #RIP Nelson Mandela, #RIP Paul Walker, #Earth-quake, #Iphone 5s is out, #Tendulkar retires; these are some of the recent issues that took over our social media space by storm. While some people were sharing it because they were concerned about the topic, the rest were doing it because their friends were doing it. Everyone likes to be on the same chapter and no one wants to be left-out. We feel the need to let others know that we are well aware of the issue at hand. As a result, news-stories, campaigns and videos go viral.

This is one of the reasons why scrolling through your Facebook news-feed, you would most likely ignore content that has a few likes but would stop and read if it has many likes and shares. And when you find that your friends have shared it, chances are you will too. Of course you would question, ‘is it share-worthy?’ but you would also question, ‘have others shared it?’

All being said, there is no secret formula for marketing; it is an ever-changing subject. Where once ‘Chautaris’ used to be a platform to receive and share information, it was replaced by tea shops and now by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. However, what we can do is keep up with the trends, study them properly and use the symptoms to predict the cause. Like doctors, like marketers!

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