If you think that you’ll read this article and create a viral video tonight, I can pretty much guarantee that isn’t going to happen. Entire teams analyze the branding videos that go viral examining commonalities in hopes of recreating the success. Consistent throughout the videos are that they are authentic (or at least appear that way), are odd or surprising (catch the audience a little off-guard), and use humor. This is very similar to any video that goes viral. For the branding aspect to work, however, you need to know what your message is and plan it consistently through the video. Then, be brief, honest, and use simple language. This doesn’t mean to talk down to your audience, just to keep in mind that you know how your product works and why it’s great and they don’t. You can be clear and infectious. A popular and successful example was the original video for the Dollar Shave Club.
You’ll notice that the owner, who stars in his video, follows those simple rules. He quickly explained the how and why we should use his product with a charm that made the audience want to click and share again and again. This was the first in a line of videos that he would create, but the initial investment for his start up company was less than $5000. Within three years he would have average monthly sales of 7.2 million dollars and have a ten percent market share of the US razor market. Who wouldn’t want to shave off some of that cash flow.
YouTube receives six million views each month with perhaps the most varied audience of any form of media in modern times. They suggest that your videos be interesting or entertaining, inform or educate, and attempt to evoke a reaction or emotion. With 100 hours of video uploaded to their site every minute of every day, we could consider them to be experts. One thing that they have done to give a hand up to those attempt to stand out is to create channels. One young company that took advantage of those channels is Blentec. They developed a high end, very powerful blender, but could reach their target market without name recognition. They started with a fifty dollar budget and an idea; just how powerful was their blender.
They will go on to create more than 130 “Will it Blend” videos, staying relevant by blending things like I-pads and phones, and thematic by blending skeletons. Quite often their followers made suggestions adding audience interaction to the mix. Their production value increased but the basic format for the videos did not change. On average, just under half of their 1.7 million viewers clicked over to their website after watching the destruction and fifteen percent made a purchase driving their sales up 500% in 2008 and 700% in 2009. Perhaps more importantly, they reached their original goal of making Blentec a household name.
How do you know that you need to use video to share your brand? Because Coke does. You can’t get through a marketing class without learning about the feats of the Coca-Cola company, folks have written entire books about taking marketing lessons from the soda giant. Gosh, they invented the modern Santa. Obviously, they aren’t looking for name recognition nor are they a small start up. Branding is sometimes used to redirect bad press and a nice viral video will do just that. With all the attacks their product receives toward the negative health impact, Coke wants to remind you that they also bring happiness.
You don’t get more authentic than that. The reactions are priceless and the sillier the item removed the more the excitement explodes. The happiness vending machine moved around to different locations not only providing consistency within the videos but also making the concept jump off the virtual page. Another company that used a common theme to improve the concept of their brand was UPS. They can’t be in control of every driver they have making only good decisions in front of home security cameras, but when one or two get caught and go viral, the average person now sees it ten and twelve times, it seems like a bigger problem. Their wishes videos evoke emotion and let you see a different side of the driver.
Carson, that little doll, is by my favorite driver, but other videos include UPS men singing and dancing – just being regular folk.
One of my personal favorites in this genre is by PadMapper. More affordable and reachable by the average business because there are no outside production costs. It looks to be created with a software like After Effects. It is highly informative and shares the who and why of the product in a way that is light and fun.
It’s difficult to measure this free tool in ways that you measure traditional products and services, but this young company boasts 700,000 listings and has more than a million users.
Your job now is to start with the end in mind. What do you want to tell your clients and future customers about you or your product. What is the best way to deliver that message in a simple and clear format allowing for a little humor or emotion to arise. Check out your competition. Are they doing anything that you could build on or would want to avoid? What resources do you already have? Every person in The Dollar Shave Club video worked for him already. Is there any talent on your team or are you better off with animation? What common element will be shared through your videos so that viewers begin stapling the videos together building even greater brand recognition. And, of course, how are you going to measure the success of your video. Lastly, who will shoot it for you? We can help you with the small stuff, but when you start to get grand, we can make a grand recommendation like the pros at Key Moment Films , Five Story Media , or Zoog Media.