Beyond our digital strategy programs where WOM is the cornerstone communications goal, we are often asked to "add in" some viral sharing and "talk" to a program. You know, get the bloggers chatting up the product. Get those folks sharing the video we made. That sort of thing.
Essentially we are asked to make a program viral often after a program is defined. That's tough. Most viral programs never get there. And the most reliable recipe for making something so share-worthy that you have big video views or game plays under your belt, will take your brand places you may not want to go (think outrageous, outlandish and often, plain stupid).
Our approach to designing a program that does get talked about and shared follows the following 6 principles. It often defines the program from the start. What else should go on this list?
1. The content is outrageous, laugh-out-loud funny or highly provocative: we have all seen videos that you just had to share. The challenge is that to be appealing to a broad group, these have to be over-the-top to cut through the YouTube clutter. Often this pushes them beyond relevance to a brand.
2. The content or experience facilitates something I care about: Too many brands want to "own" the experience online - as if they could - by creating a unique, brand-centric experience. It is often better to understand people, what they want to spend time doing and then help them accomplish that in some way.
3. It’s participatory and engaging: A clever game or activity allows the user to get involved on some level. If there is more that I can do besides ‘watch’ then I am more likely to advocate for it.
4. It’s personalized: This is about relevance and ego. If the video says my name or includes some personal element that I have selected, suddenly I am more involved with the content or experience.
5. There’s an incentive for sharing: Will it benefit me or something I care about? This can be self-centered such as contests to win prizes or less directly so, as with a philanthropic tie-in. Often, adding a ‘social good’ element will help motivate share-ers. (e.g. for every ‘view’ up to 50K, we will donate $1 to charity….). Often the incentive needs to be tested in a live program just like a direct marketing offer to understand what becomes motivational for most people.
6. It is “talk-worthy” amongst influencers: the traditional definition of “influencer” has been re-written in our world of social media. Once we understand who may be influential in a particular group, we need to understand what may cause them to talk about a campaign. Often it is not the same thing that may drive participants to get involved.
The debate continues. What do you think?
- What else can spark buzz online?
- How do you do things differently for buzz vs. sustained WOM?
- Can low engagment products like CPG generate conversation as easily as fan brands?
We will have a session at November's WOMMA Summit on "Stunts vs. Science: What does it take to spark the conversation?"
Join us at WOMMA’s 2007 Summit, November 13-15 in Las Vegas. Get the agenda now>
And jump into the conversation now. You can see what the WOMMA conversation is by using the del.icio.us tag - wommeme.