As a marketing professional, you’d have encountered these wonder stories about brands being built around viral campaigns. We had the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association become an overnight talking point with their “Ice Bucket Challenge.” There’s the ‘Pokémon Go’ buzz still doing the rounds for Niantic Inc. I admit to succumbing to the persuasive digital campaign run by the “Dollar Shave Club” and becoming a subscriber!
These out-of-the-box ideas have set the marketing community thinking about how we could learn from and apply some of these wonderful ideas to our own brand building efforts.
There is almost a longing for a “shortcut” to brand popularity, or attempts to manufacture a miracle campaign.
Creating something out of nothing using digital is what the fraternity wants.
And if you are the one to run digital for brands, today is a tough time. The campaigns which have gone viral dominate the discussion table.
CMOs wax eloquent about their vision to do a viral video. In fact, there are requests such as “We need a viral video every month.”
I’ve heard of several ‘Viral video workshops’ being conducted by “experts”. Clearly, the pursuit has fallen short of its expectations since we hear about no more than 5-10 truly viral campaigns in a year.
Terms such as “virality coefficient” and “viral reach” are a rage.
This Dilbert strip might in fact not be very far from reality.
The worry is that this quest to make something out of nothing, however “visionary” it may sound, is taking a disproportionate amount of mind-space of marketing strategists.
We need to take a pause and think. To start with:
Digital and social media deliver the fundamentals (and more predictably). What are these fundamentals?
There’s an exact science for the first 4 metrics on digital. There’s the art of achieving #5, #6. And yes, we know which half of the marketing spends work on digital. Precisely, to the last cent!
The point in summary is to stay focused on these fundamental metrics on digital and perhaps not to relegate the medium as one for experiments or attempts to do something ‘viral’.