Making Your Brand Go Viral

Everyone remembers concepts and brands that have gone viral, just as people recognize the jingles from commercials they grew up with. Viral content stays in the mind and has a compelling draw that inspires people to share it. Getting a video, article or story to go viral can be the key to establishing your brand and giving it a hold in the mind of the public. Whereas old-fashioned media relies on viewing and consuming advertising in a passive manner, new media involves reaction, activity and sharing. Many companies are looking for the secret sauce that makes content go viral and gives their brand attention.

Cutting Edge Content

By now, the expression “content is king” is an adage many people involved in marketing have heard countless times. To achieve regal status, not just any content will do. Gone are the days when keywords alone and Search Engine Optimization at all costs formed a core strategy. Nowadays, search engines like Google have gotten smart and penalize keyword stuffing or irrelevant links. All content has to be not only top quality, but engaging and offer something unique, or it is likely to be overlooked. 

Find the Right Places

The average user of devices is barraged by countless images and ads on any given day. Something may captivate his or her interest, only to fly out of the imagination quickly. Often, a potential customer needs to see something on several channels or platforms before action is taken. You may see an article on a website about a product, then notice someone mention it on a Twitter feed, and see a video or a Facebook ad before you finally click on the object. It might take a few recommendations from friends on social media before you visit the site. As an effective marketer, figure out where your advertising or social media posts can have the most impact and attract attention.

Participation Is the Key

One reason the ice bucket challenge to raise money for ALS became so effective is that it encouraged people to do something unusual. There was the sheer originality of the notion of people pouring buckets of ice water over their heads, the anticipation on the part of the viewers in watching people do this and witnessing their reactions and the sense of competition with the challenge to get others to do it. This campaign was visually exciting and shareable, with one participant issuing challenges to others. Getting people to do things will bring more life to your brand and create a deeper association in the minds of potential customers.

When Life Gives You Mayo

Hampton Creek is an example of a brand that was able to turn a PR threat into a victory that promoted brand recognition. The company is devoted to products that are plant-based and are free of meat, dairy and eggs. Perhaps its most famous product is Just Mayo, an eggless mayonnaise alternative. Unilever, which owns the Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise brand, filed a lawsuit against Hampton Creek over the company’s use of the term “mayo” when its product had no eggs, and alleged that calling it “mayo” was misleading. Hampton Creek was able to use the lawsuit to its advantage, and painted its competitor as out of touch with the needs of the contemporary consumer who is increasingly searching for alternatives to eggs and dairy. Unilever eventually dropped the suit, and currently, Hampton Creek is growing into a major food company and is releasing a whole range of products, including pancake mixes, salad dressings and brownies in addition to its popular products Just Cookies and Scrambles.

Don’t Rest on Your Laurels

Given the constantly shrinking attention spans in today’s world, a media success has to breed more success. Branding efforts need a follow-up even when they hit their mark, and once your brand has found its way into the media, it needs to stay there. Constantly devise strategies that build on prior successes, mobilize your loyal customers to share and report and draw attention to what you have to offer.

Building a brand may require time, a bit of luck and a significant amount of effort. Think outside the box in your branding efforts and think about what you as a consumer and social media user like to share or click on. Thinking about the habits of your target customer is an important step in creating a brand presence and holding the attention of the public.