I remember reading in your column before, that viral marketing is digitally useful, that ideas can be spread wider and faster. You’ve talked about videos becoming viral because of its “virality”, but how would you know that the material we’ve created is viral enough? – Mike of Pasay City

We’ve seen a large number of brands telling us they want to launch a viral video or a viral campaign. But technically, you can’t launch a viral video. You just launch a video and hope it goes viral. In my experience observing the digital landscape, I’ve seen certain commonalities on videos that became viral, from the Mentos Diet Coke experiments, to our very own MoymoyPalaboy lip-sync videos, to the Cebu Pacific dancing flight attendants.
 
I think there are four basic components for a video or a campaign to become viral. One is that it should be Credible. The video or campaign has to come from a credible source or look credible. If it is not believable, people will not find the time to pass it on, because they will also lose their credibility. This means that people who are watching the video should believe it is possible and probably true. When Cebu Pacific launched their dancing flight attendants video, people believed it because one way or the other, they’ve experienced Cebu Pacific’s innovative ways of engaging their passengers during flight, from conducting in-flight games and prizes to wearing non-traditional flight attendant uniforms. The positioning of Cebu Pacific lent credibility to the dancing flight attendants video, and that is why they were able to experience seven million views in seven days, a record in Philippine viral history.
 
The second is that it should be Unexpected. When people pass on videos, they also want to elicit a surprise reaction from their friends. That is why the video has to take a certain turn that will catch the viewer by surprise. Blendtech’s (willitblend.com) viral campaign of blending an iPad or an iPhone is totally unexpected for a blender company. Even when they are priced ten times the amount of a normal blender, they still got awareness and interest for their videos because their execution is totally Unexpected. And because it is Unexpected, the propensity to pass it on is much higher.
 
The third is that it should be Emotional. Emotional videos strike a chord and tend to leave a lasting impression because viewers feel different after watching the video. They may get angry, frightened, or happy, but the important thing is to evoke emotions from them. I remember a clip from youtube and facebook showing teenage girls playing with furry animals like hamsters and rabbits, then maltreating them. This got the entire virtual community angry and lashed back at them. Youtube and facebook also brought down the videos. Another Emotional execution is the Singapore’s Raffle’s Place ghost execution. Two people working late around midnight, when out and coming back to work. They walked into an elevator, and after reaching their floor and walked out, a ghost was seen in the CCTV camera. That video became viral because people got scared and started thinking what will happen if they encounter a similar thing when they are alone in the elevator. Of course, the proponent, an HR consulting company, has to come out and say that it is just a viral marketing play and what they want to communicate is that they look after their employees and do not allow them to work late, because if they work too late, they might see office ghosts.
 
The fourth is that the video should tell a Story. People do not remember experiences or facts, but they remember stories that are told to them. We are trained when we are small to listen and retell stories. As people do not remember details, they remember stories because the flow of it allows them to remember the entire essence piece by piece. All of the videos executed above are all stories: a gadget blending blender, flight attendants that dance during flight preparations, a ghost on an elevator. These are story titles that can sink in the minds of people.
 
Four simple components that makes a video, or a campaign viral, using the acronym CUES: Credible, Unexpected, Emotional, and tells a Story. Four basic components that if the four are checked, will surely make any video, email, or campaign spread like wildfire.
 
 
Donald Lim is the Chief e-Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (www.mansmith.net), the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines.  Donald will conduct a seminar-workshop entitled Viral Marketing on October 18, 2011.  Please email info@mansmith.net, call (+63-2) 584-5858 / 412-0034 or text (+63) 918-81-168-88.  Please also send your marketing, sales and strategy questions to mentors@mansmith.net.
 
 
Total number of words: 798I remember reading in your column before, that viral marketing is digitally useful, that ideas can be spread wider and faster. You’ve talked about videos becoming viral because of its “virality”, but how would you know that the material we’ve created is viral enough? – Mike of Pasay City

We’ve seen a large number of brands telling us they want to launch a viral video or a viral campaign. But technically, you can’t launch a viral video. You just launch a video and hope it goes viral. In my experience observing the digital landscape, I’ve seen certain commonalities on videos that became viral, from the Mentos Diet Coke experiments, to our very own MoymoyPalaboy lip-sync videos, to the Cebu Pacific dancing flight attendants.
 
I think there are four basic components for a video or a campaign to become viral. One is that it should be Credible. The video or campaign has to come from a credible source or look credible. If it is not believable, people will not find the time to pass it on, because they will also lose their credibility. This means that people who are watching the video should believe it is possible and probably true. When Cebu Pacific launched their dancing flight attendants video, people believed it because one way or the other, they’ve experienced Cebu Pacific’s innovative ways of engaging their passengers during flight, from conducting in-flight games and prizes to wearing non-traditional flight attendant uniforms. The positioning of Cebu Pacific lent credibility to the dancing flight attendants video, and that is why they were able to experience seven million views in seven days, a record in Philippine viral history.
 
The second is that it should be Unexpected. When people pass on videos, they also want to elicit a surprise reaction from their friends. That is why the video has to take a certain turn that will catch the viewer by surprise. Blendtech’s (willitblend.com) viral campaign of blending an iPad or an iPhone is totally unexpected for a blender company. Even when they are priced ten times the amount of a normal blender, they still got awareness and interest for their videos because their execution is totally Unexpected. And because it is Unexpected, the propensity to pass it on is much higher.
 
The third is that it should be Emotional. Emotional videos strike a chord and tend to leave a lasting impression because viewers feel different after watching the video. They may get angry, frightened, or happy, but the important thing is to evoke emotions from them. I remember a clip from youtube and facebook showing teenage girls playing with furry animals like hamsters and rabbits, then maltreating them. This got the entire virtual community angry and lashed back at them. Youtube and facebook also brought down the videos. Another Emotional execution is the Singapore’s Raffle’s Place ghost execution. Two people working late around midnight, when out and coming back to work. They walked into an elevator, and after reaching their floor and walked out, a ghost was seen in the CCTV camera. That video became viral because people got scared and started thinking what will happen if they encounter a similar thing when they are alone in the elevator. Of course, the proponent, an HR consulting company, has to come out and say that it is just a viral marketing play and what they want to communicate is that they look after their employees and do not allow them to work late, because if they work too late, they might see office ghosts.
 
The fourth is that the video should tell a Story. People do not remember experiences or facts, but they remember stories that are told to them. We are trained when we are small to listen and retell stories. As people do not remember details, they remember stories because the flow of it allows them to remember the entire essence piece by piece. All of the videos executed above are all stories: a gadget blending blender, flight attendants that dance during flight preparations, a ghost on an elevator. These are story titles that can sink in the minds of people.
 
Four simple components that makes a video, or a campaign viral, using the acronym CUES: Credible, Unexpected, Emotional, and tells a Story. Four basic components that if the four are checked, will surely make any video, email, or campaign spread like wildfire.
 
 
Donald Lim is the Chief e-Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. (www.mansmith.net), the leading marketing and sales training company in the Philippines. Please email info@mansmith.net, call (+63-2) 584-5858 / 412-0034 or text (+63) 918-81-168-88.  Please also send your marketing, sales and strategy questions to mentors@mansmith.net.