Posts Tagged ‘viral’

Generosity of brands

In a way this is a follow up on my last blog on the subject of what kind of content is typically shared, by my friends and those who I follow.

But today this was sparked off by a series of unrelated stuff, but around a common theme.


Apparently the French parliament has passed a law allowing employees to donate their leave to a colleague with a seriously ill child. How amazing is that. You have something the other person needs and you give it with no expectation of anything in return. Just the hope that one day should you need it, others will come to your aid.

Then this morning I read about this book Image ‘Congratulations by the way’ by George Saunders.

Saunders says that the greatest gift we can give each other, is the gift of kindness. There’s a tale about a girl in his school, 40 years ago, who no one really liked and people made fun of. He himself was not unkind but wasn’t overly friendly either. He wished he was nicer.

In our life we remember people who are nice to us. Those who show compassion in an ocean of impersonality. We all want to be like them, but it is hard. Our own prejudices, pre occupations and egos come in the way.

I am really lucky to have a large number of people in my life who are generous with their time, advice, affection and just kindness. And to balance it out I do have a fair number of the self obsessed, win at all costs, will let you down type of people as well.

I mention this because if we, as marketers, are trying to build relationships with consumers and believe brands are like living organisms then shouldn’t this much cherished value of generosity be present in brands as well?

Many corporations have Corporate Social Responsibility programs which is their way of giving back to society. While I don’t decry that a teenie bit, it smells a bit of schizophrenia to me. Especially, if it is run as a whole separate operation from the brand organisation.

What if brands were generous with something. Wearing my communications hat on..I would say be generous with content.

Share content that will help your consumers get bigger, better, stronger, healthier, wiser..whatever it is that is at the centre of the brand. Share selflessly. Let consumers see that every contact is not a business transaction.

I understand that new content is hard to come by. Share existing content. Or repackage relevant content. After all how many articles have we all read about losing weight, productivity, managing email, being happy and so on. Yet there’s more and more being generated in this space as consumers seemingly like them.

This, to my mind does two things.

1. It builds a trusted relationship between brand and consumer. The brand becomes a trusted advisor. With the growth of social media the opportunity to build interactions based on this content becomes possible thereby strengthening, and even measuring, the relationship.

2. It generates a ripple effect in the consumer’s life. If she finds it useful and relevant, she will share it with her friends. And there’s no greater credibility than ‘word of mouth’ As the story spreads, so will that of the brand that shared the content in the first place.

If brands can be generous, like we expect humans to, i believe we will value and cherish them as much as we do our family and dear friends.

And it really costs nothing to be generous, does it?



Create talkability in your communications

April 22, 2013 2 comments

A friend of mine called it a ‘snoozefest’ but far more people had referred to it as a ‘must see’. I even have 2 copies of the book as a ‘must read’. Finally last evening, I settled down down to watch ‘The life of Pi’.Image

And yes it was a snoozefest. Very beautiful looking snoozefest. This is not the place for a debate on my view. I merely state this here to make a point, which I will come to shortly.

Yesterday, I also read that that fellow, Psy’s second video called Gentleman had already racked some 100 Mn views on YouTube. Image No I have not been tempted to watch it yet, though one day, no doubt, I will succumb. I have no doubt that much of the viewing is because you read about it. I think he got 10 mn views in a week and the media was abuzz with that fact. Then, I think I read someplace about the meaning of ‘Gentleman’.

I mention the above 2 instances because it reinforces a basic point that is of great relevance to marketers today. Talkability.

If people talk about your brand, or your communications it gets more people interested and thereon engaged with what you have to say.

While quite a few marketers have latched on to it and I think Coke refers to it as ‘Liquid and Linked’ most are still stuck on ‘let’s create a great ad’ and put a lot of money behind it.

Not for a second do I decry the value of a great piece of communication. I think if you have something interesting to say, people will reach out to know more or at worst, remember it.

However, the important and smart thing to do is to get people to talk about what you’re doing. To my mind this is not the same as ‘viral it’ on social media. Of course social media has a role to play but there needs to be a strategy that encompasses all media.

When creating your brand story make sure you’ve thought of interesting titbits about it that you believe you can then sprinkle into media channels that creates talkability. The ‘titbit’ thinking needs to happen upfront making it easier than trying to do it post everything being done.

I was having a conversation with a research agency that does brand tracking. Among the various aspects they research advertising is one section, and they do the ‘noting and liking’ testing as usual. My advice to them was to also include a ‘talkability’ score.

It’s not enough for your consumers to notice and like your communications. They should talk about it too.

Talkability achieves 3 things.

1. Greater engagement from those who talk about it.

2. Greater credibility for those who hear about it from their friends.

3. Lower media spends as reach is achieved through your consumers.

So the next time a client briefs an agency or an agency creates a piece of communication, apart from all other measures, also check for talkability.

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Why things go viral

Creating a viral program seems to be top of many communication professional’s lists.

Came across this post by Dan Zarrella where his analysis of data shows why people pass things along.

Interestingly his analysis separates out those who send one to one v/s those who send one to many.

Summary below:

Top reasons in order of priority

One to One :

Personal Relevance



Relationship building

Common interest

They might miss it



One to Many

Audience Relevance

Increased Reach

Further a specific cause/message

Utility and usefulness


Networking and meeting people

No surprises there.

While there are some differences between the two sets, Relevance tops the list. So if we want something to go viral create something of relevance and let it loose amongst the audience.

Humour always tends to work. I wouldn’t be surprised that the most shared material on any electronic means of communication, be it email Facebook or Twitter wasn’t a joke of some sort.

The findings above could be useful to serve as a checklist/ help define a clear goal for content creation.

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Got time to spare

Here is a list of the top 100 viral videos of all time. (According to the site.)

Looks like fun, if you have the time.

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