What is Viral marketing?
Viral marketing derived from a word called virus, and what a virus’s main capability is to spread. When something goes viral, it means that it is visible on the social media feed of majority of the users which the awareness of these people have already been heightened. This is actually a strategy that leverage on social media massively to promote awareness of content that usually strikes a resonance in people is commonly spread widely via word of mouth which they are motivated to share.
Not only viral marketing can also offer spectacular exposure for news & information, it can also spread a brand’s name quickly by fully utilizing the internet which does not cost much at all in terms of finances budgeting.
Case Study (ALS Ice Bucket Challenge)
A successful viral marketing campaign that took the world by storm was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign. Started out in 2014, the purpose behind it was to raise awareness for a disease known as with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) disease and just within two months, the campaign was so successful and it has raised over $100 Million in funding for research to combat the disease. This campaign has also involved globally known celebrities such as singer, Taylor Swift and Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg who have also participated in this challenge as well.
See how powerful viral marketing is?
So why do people and businesses continue to leverage on viral marketing to build awareness on a local & international scale?
Viral marketing enables personnel & businesses to promote their brand or content easily to their target audience with a low cost that excludes advertising costs as advertising is usually done by the target audience who shares it around with other people to raise awareness.
Increased credibility and building of brand image
When a brand goes viral, generally more people will be discussing about the brand which instantly helps to boost brand recognition and increase the credibility if it’s good. Thus, developing the trust factor that people have towards that particular brand and it will motivate more people to discuss and talk about it with even more people.
Exponential growth and reach
When one person spreads the word about a particular brand or content to another person, it can spread to two personnel and from there, the number of personnel spreading the particular brand or content multiplies and the reach can be compounded and grow exponentially at an alarming rate. This is also known as the marketing multiplier effect and this effect further speeds up the reach to even more people and thus capturing the attention of these people as well.
Is there a downside of viral marketing? Definitely!
Businesses have to pay extra attention and caution when creating content that leverages on viral marketing to avoid receiving backlash and negative feedback from the public. Hence, more time should be spent on research and consideration so as to avoid these negativities from the public. The Dolce & Gabbana is a clear example of being at the wrong end of viral marketing as it’s brand recognition and credibility has certainly diminished.
In conclusion, coming up with a creative marketing campaign that can arouse curiosity and motivate a person to share it with even more people is considered successful as it can help to build brand awareness at a high growth rate. This results in a widespread to even more people which works similarly like a virus.
Let me know how you feel about viral marketing in the comments below!
Looking forward to exchanging ideas and comments!
14 thoughts on “Why leveraging on viral marketing is important for you”
Hey Bernard! Excellent content on viral marketing, really enjoyed it. The ASL campaign made me even take up the challenge whereby I complete it and then share it with my friends creating a multiplier effect to create an awareness. However, was wondering for businesses, usually that sell a product or service. How are they able to use viral marketing to distinguish themselves from other viral marketing efforts from other companies? Looking to hear from you soon! =)
Indeed! The multiplier effect helps to make a campaign more viral easily!
In order to distinguish themselves from others, businesses should be analyzing what exactly captures a consumer’s attention easily? How should I appeal to their emotions? Will my viral marketing strategy be etched in the memory of my consumer’s mind?
While also, using unconventional methods will help to boost your business to distinguish from others even more effectively.
Here is an example of Circle’s Life unconventional marketing method, cash-dispensing vending machines!
In my opinion, this is a successful example of viral marketing that is done unconventionally.
It certainly made me remember clearly of Circle’s Life utilizing this marketing strategy because it is not commonly done in the world of marketing!
Hi Bernard! Insightful read on how viral marketing in so useful for brands! The ALS challenge is indeed a great example of how viral marketing can be used to raise awareness for a good cause! However, in event that brands land themselves on the wrong end of viral marketing as you have mentioned, can you advise on what are some ways that brands can minimise the damage to the brands’ credibility and recognition? Hope to hear from you soon! Cheers!
Yes indeed! The ALS challenge was a massive success and I’m definitely sure that we can learn a point or two from them easily.
This might not be an easy thing to do as a matter of fact as it will take time to rebuild the credibility that was lost.
Nevertheless, here are some of the tips to rebuild the brand’s credibility and recognition.
1)Understand the complaints the brand received and analyze what has gone wrong, from there strategize a plan to address the complaints so that it won’t happen again in the future
2)Using testimonials from credible personnel such as celebrities and social media influencers will slowly help to rebuild the brand’s credibility and recognition.
3)Be patient. It will take time to rebuild a brand’s credibility and recognition as immediate results are not guaranteed.
Eventually, you will be able to restore it. It is only a matter of when.
Hope this helps!
Hi Bernard! That was such an insightful post, i remembered how ALS bucket challenge were all over the internet back then. In your opinion, what are the ways to ensure that a marketer has a headstart in their viral marketing campaign? Is there any tips for the advertisements to be viral?
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Yes I did the ALS challenge myself too even though back then I didn’t understand it fully what was it about because my friends were all doing it as well so I just followed along!
Firstly, markets must identify the goals on why do they want to go viral in the first place and what do they seek to achieve?
Secondly, marketers must understand what kind of emotions that you should use that will capture the attention of consumers? Because if the consumers can’t resonate their emotions with your campaign, I do not think they would share it to make it viral as it lacks the motivating factor for them to do so.
Hope this helps!
Hi Bernard, I totally agree with you on how viral marketing is so important for businesses, it gives the business a reach that no other marketing strategy can achieve.
ALS ice bucket challenge was indeed outstanding viral marketing, every social media platform back then was filled with #ALSicebucketchallenge videos.
Viral marketing content is something every business would love to achieve however it is not easy to do so, in your opinion what are some frameworks or guidelines businesses can follow when publishing their content that would help them in making their content go viral?
Great post overall, loved it hope to see more blogposts from you soon.
Hi Yi Ta!
Definitely! The ALS challenge was a massive success!
I agree with you that viral marketing content is not easy to do so because it is highly competitive.
Some of the basic guidelines businesses should follow are
1) Creativity is a crucial factor and this should capture the attention of your viewers
2) Resonating the emotions of your viewers through your content
3) Understanding social transmission, what prompts viewers to share your content with someone else?
Hope this helps!
Hi benard!! I really like the content you have here, and the ice bucket challenge example you gave was so relatable! Personally, I feel that viral marketing is like a double-edged sword where it can either be a huge success or a terrible failure. Do you know of any ways to minimise the failures of viral marketing then?
I look forward to hear from you!
Hi Zhi Yu!
Yes the ALS challenge was a massive success and I was one of them who participated in it as well! Even though back then I did not understand fully what this was all about but I saw my friends were all involved in it so I followed along!
Definitely! Viral marketing can either be a huge success or a huge failure! So marketers must definitely be careful to not fall into the wrong side of the coin.
They should also assess the disadvantages of viral marketing first to avoid any potential mistakes as well.
Here is one of the ways to minimize the failures of viral marketing.
1) Always double check your content before you make it ‘LIVE’ and visible for everybody to see to prevent any hiccups. Also, you can ask some questions to yourself regarding about your content,
“Will the public perceive my content as positively/negatively?”
“Will it spark any public backlash when the public views my content?”
Failing to do so might tarnish the brand’s credibility and reputation and rebuilding that credibility will be no easy feat which will take time to do so.
Hope this helps!
Hi Bernard! That was such an insightful post. The ALS bucket challenge is really a great example that you’ve used. Now, more and more companies are trying to come out with marketing efforts that make them viral do you think that through time as people are exposed to more of this type of marketing, will they be slowly immune to it? And also what can companies do to keep their brand fresh and exciting for the public?
Personally I do not think that this immunity will occur actually due to the fact that our emotions are always changing around and we do not know exactly when our emotions will resonate with the marketing efforts done by the marketers who aim to capture our attention.
Therefore, being able to capture the attention and resonating the emotions of your target audience are two key factors in creating a successful marketing campaign and not just viral marketing.
To answer your second question, creativity is key! While I feel that coming out with a unconventional marketing campaign will definitely keep your brand fresh and exciting for the public.
Take a look at Circle’s Life unconventional marketing method, Cash-dispensing vending machines!
In my opinion, this is a successful example of a marketing campaign that is done unconventionally and has definitely etched into the consumers mind on what Circle’s Life have done. Definitely, through unconventional methods can also help your brand to stay fresh and exciting for the public.
Hope this helps!
Hey Bernard, I really enjoyed your writing!! The ALS Bucket Challenge seemed like it was a recent thing, forgot that it’s actually been quite a few years, guess that’s the power of viral marketing!! Given the fair share of poor viral campaigns out there, do you think these companies can recover from their failures? Would love to know how you think!
Thank you for your compliment!
Definitely they should look at the feedback that they have gotten from the public and understand why their campaigns did not work/resonate with their target audience in the first place.
Analyzing and understanding what went wrong and knowing the mistakes is crucial to avoid making in the future will propel your campaigns to success more easily in the future!
Some of the key factors in to create a successful campaign is marketers must understand what kind of emotions that you should use that will capture the attention of consumers.
Because if the consumers can’t resonate their emotions with your campaign, they would not share it with others to make your campaign viral as it lacks the motivating factor for them to do so.
Hope this helps!