I was reading The Viral Marketing Cheat Sheet from KISSmetrics, which turns out to be not a bad guide to viral campaigns. Analyzing as I read, I came to the graph of the top ten viral campaigns of 2010, and noticed that the list consists of generally well-known brands. Ones who can afford to drop some coin on a campaign that doesn’t adhere to an age-old formula, and have it flop. They can afford to experiment.
What about the rest of us, the smaller brands with less name recognition? When those brands spend money, they want some assurance of return. They want something tried-and-true, and don’t want to pay the cost of experimentation. As a result, it’s pretty hard to hit it out of the park. It just doesn’t happen.
There’s a simple rule about rules for creating viral anything, whether it’s viral video or tweets or photos or whatnot. The rule is this: anyone who tells you how to do it in a step-by-step way is just blowing smoke. If they could do it that easily, they wouldn’t be talking to you about it, they’d be off using their pixie dust to command obscene amounts of consulting fees — and there’s no way they’d give away the secret sauce for free.
Jian Ghomeshi’s Q on CBC is running with guest hosts during the summer, and the August 3rd show was hosted by Terry O’Reilly of Age of Persuasion fame. (listen online) The first 20 minutes are Terry’s exploration of the Old Spice campaign with Isaiah Mustafa that’s getting a lot of press after going viral and running a hugely successful real-time social media dialogue with their spokesperson.. Amid the interviews, Terry talks with the pair responsible for the creative on this project and considers how the campaign is out of character for parent company P&G — the whole segment is worth a listen.
I’m currently redesigning my business card, because I’ve always hated the one I have. During my entire career I’ve had only one or two cards that I thought were really well-executed, but I’m picky. And the next one will blow them all away to atone for past mediocre cards. I’ve been handed a lot of business cards over the years, and it’s a regular occurrence that you can size up the business right away by the card you are presented. And sometimes it’s a pass/fail test. Consider what some of the cards you’ve been handed might say:
- Light stock, rough edges: Office Depot template meets home inkjet printer. Not a serious contender.