The Rules of Viral Success

It’s a question I get asked frequently, to which my response is, ‘it’s easy’. ‘Really?’ I see people’s faces light up… ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘All you have to do is create a piece of content that people want to watch and share.’  At this point the smile usually disappears.

The problem is that, in the B2B space at least, all too often companies are more interested in including their message, their logo, their CEO, their product pitch… than they are engaging the viewer or creating content that people want to watch and share.  I try to explain that the success of a video – certainly one that might be viewed by thousands – or millions – of people isn’t about promoting the maker or a product or service, but about engaging the viewer.

I’ve already talked about the success of the Chipotle brand video, which has been viewed by millions on YouTube. Given the target market – the general public – you could say it’s an easier job for a B2C business to achieve viral success for a video. On that basis, there should be a lot more successful viral videos from consumer brands than there are. It all comes back to engaging the audience.

So, here’s an example of a successful B2B viral video. How many of you know what Corning does? How many of you have seen the video, ‘A Day Made of Glass’? It’s been viewed by more than 18 million people – the majority of whom had no idea what the company sells.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Cf7IL_eZ38

You might ask how has this helped Corning’s business. After all, how many of the 18 million views are by potential customers? Not very many, admittedly. But, the follow-up – a video entitled ‘A Day in Glass 2: Unpacked’, which contains details about the company’s products, key messages and positioning statements has been viewed almost 700,000 times. How many of those viewers are potential Corning customers? Probably quite a few!!

I’ll post an explanation of why Corning’s video went viral over the next couple of days.  In the mean time, if you want to find out how you can increase your chances of creating a viral success get in touch…

3 Replies to “The Rules of Viral Success”

  1. It’s so hard for people handing over thousands of dollars to make a video to accept that there is no product or brand positioning in there. It seems like a big risk not to include it; whereas the real risk is making a dull video because it focuses on branding and product content.

  2. That’s the thing: successful twitter feeds have a diversity of information that is often not product/company but related/relatable. And it leads back to the company even without huge branding. Same with Facebook marketing. It is about the people, the happening, the moment and even more intensely than twitter and this is reflected in the analytics of most websites that maintain peripheral social media presence. Look at car adds – they market a lifestyle first (to a user) and present then that the way to access this is through their product. You don’t market the product necessarily by the product itself. Especially if it’s a difficult sell – like a concept, or a new product.

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