Viral Marketing Initiatives

Viral marketing refers to advertising methods that spread spontaneously through word-of-mouth and internet buzz. It naturally piques people’s interest and swiftly travels over the internet. Social media platforms are usually the source of viral marketing efforts since they are built for content sharing. The distribution of information, in essence, draws attention and generates debate. It is not certain that viral marketing will produce viral results. Many firms make an attempt, but only a few are successful in achieving the required level of international awareness.

When extending your brand’s wings and becoming viral, there are a few crucial elements to keep in mind, much like any other marketing strategy:

  1. Properly use the appropriate platform.

Successful viral marketing requires selecting the right platform for your campaign, even if you have to cross over to other platforms..

2. It connects with the audience

A good viral marketing campaign considers the target demographic. For a campaign to go viral, it must resonate with the target audience and make them feel passionately enough about your content that they decide to share it with their family, friends, and other social media followers. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/viral-campaigns

Doves project #showus is a perfect example of connecting with your audience. Dove worked with Girlgaze, Getty Images, and women worldwide to develop a photo collection to bust beauty clichés after learning that 70% of women do not feel represented in media and advertising.

Dove Project #ShowUs

3. It is easy to share and promote

Allow your visitors to share, embed, and download all of your content so that they can instantly tag their parents on Facebook, contact their best friends on Instagram, or download your video to simply turn it to a memorable GIF. Create calls-to-action or other elements that encourage users to share your material with their friends. One outstanding example of a call-to-action is from Amazon. Customers abandon their shopping carts for a variety of reasons, one of which is a time-consuming checkout procedure. Their well-known “Buy now with 1-Click” option significantly speeds up the sales procedure.

amazon call-to-action

4. It should be creative and unique

Do something unexpected, Originality is required. The most effective viral campaigns are developed by thinking outside the box. Take for example the Dumb Ways to Die railway safety public service announcement campaign developed by Metro Trains in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. With 200 million app downloads, a quarter-billion video views, and 3 billion individual game plays, what began as a humorous message about keeping safe around Melbourne, Australia’s commuter system trains has transformed into an entertainment property. The ad video became viral as a result of social media sharing. The campaign was unique due to its its black-humored list of reckless ways to die video. “The clip employs an insanely catchy tune and colorful blobs which die in a variety of ways, including “keeping a rattlesnake as a pet” and “selling both kidneys on the Internet,” before culminating in train-related deaths that are described as “the dumbest way to die”.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-advertising-die/quirky-dumb-ways-to-die-campaign-sweeps-advertising-awards-idUSBRE95N03L20130624

5. Visual Consistency

Homewares, for example, might be viewed as monotonous and uninteresting. Using characters to bring them to life can add a lot of personality to your brand messaging, and it’s a great way to make something that was previously dull relevant on social media. Color association alone may instantly identify some of the world’s most well-known businesses. Consider the green of Starbucks versus the blue of Tiffany’s. With some brands its characters, take for instance the cuddly bear Charmin utilizes.  Their ability to remain constant means that you’ll recognize them as soon as you see the bear faces, and their white and blue brand backdrops provide a visual brand consistency .Every time they begin a campaign, their hashtag, unsurprisingly, becomes a trending topic on Twitter.

Differentiation

I Love Shoes. I’m a shoe and bag connoisseur. My fascination with online shopping has almost exceeded my passion for shoes. So it’s no surprise that Zappos.com is my go-to shoe shop. Zappos is a Los Vegas, Nevada-based online shoe and apparel retailer. Amazon purchased it in 2009. Zappos owns over 4 million products and has been praised for its excellent customer support, which is based on one of the company’s core values of “delivering wow through service”. Its website is simple to use, has outstanding product photography, and each product page contains a wealth of details.

Zappos.com is active on several social media platforms. They have profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. They were one of the first companies to use social media in their marketing strategies. But it was not just that the organization was an early adopter of social media that set them apart; it was also how they used it from the beginning.  Zappos realized early on in its social media journey that social media is more about building relationships than marketing.

Its postings on Facebook and Twitter are primarily visuals, stunning visuals of people wearing shoes. Those images drew the audience’s attention.

They wanted to buy those shoes; where can they find them? Zappos.com of course. When the person clicks their Like button, the custom tab changes, and they can sign up for their email list and interact with its products. They will also gain immediate access to exclusive content, videos, and special promotions. Zappos demonstrates that they care about building relationships with their customers by waiting until they click the “Like” button.  Another way Zappos build relationships with their customers by encouraging customers to post images of themselves holding the Zappos box on Facebook, and other customers vote on the best picture of the week. Zappos took a lighthearted approach on YouTube. They posted videos of what one can do with their empty Zappos boxes, such as “how to make a cat bed out of a cardboard box.” They also have a series of mini webisodes, such as Zappos’ True Customer Story, which tells the true story of a customer’s purchasing experience from Zappos. The episodes were not only entertaining, but they also complemented Zappos’ customer service.

Shoes.com, based in Seattle, Washington, was an American online retailer of footwear and clothing founded in 1999. (Not to be confused with the current Shoe.com, which was formerly known as Shoebuy.com). Shoes.com’s first mistake was underestimating Zappos and not thinking that it was competition (but that is another story). What happened to cause the company to declare bankruptcy?

A business’s brand must have a story before launching a marketing campaign. The brand story helps to build confidence and reinforce bonds with its target audience. A brand story that illustrates why customers should care about you and put their faith in you. If a company does not have a story, how does it know whom to sell to?

Successful brands create a narrative that positions them as unique and creates an emotional connection with the customers. Good storytelling is all about forging an emotional connection.” (Dr. Agarwal, 2018)

Shoes.com never established a relationship with its customers because they had no idea who they were. As a result, it was easy for the company to ignore consumer complaints. Shoes.com overlooked the importance of proper consumer engagement in putting things right.

Resources:

Adams, Scott (March 17, 2017). Seven Lessons From The Failure Of Shoe.com. Forbes.com.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2017/03/17/seven-lessons-from-the-failure-of-shoes-com/?sh=bf5e59b40099

Agarwal, Pragya  (August 15, 2018). Why Brand Stories Matter and Simple Steps Creating a Unique Story. Forbes.com. https://www.forbes.com/sites/pragyaagarwaleurope/2018/08/15/why-brand-stories-matter nd-simple-steps-to-create-a-unique-brand-story/?sh=bb88bffc907d

ORKURT Reminds Me of My Exūü§≥

When we think of Google, we think of success. However, did you know that Google failed in its first attempt (and there have been several attempts) died after only ten years? Orkut was a social service developed by Orkut Bugukkoten and launched in 2004 by Google. In 2005 a year after its debut, Orkut had over 1,500,000 established communities. What started as an independent project became the market leader. So what happened that caused Orkut’s demise in 2014.

Orkut’s early success can be credited due to its marketing action plan. A marketing action plan has several vital steps, which are:

  1. Goals
  2. Target Audience
  3. Social Media Choice
  4. Resources
  5. Policies
  6. Monitoring
  7. Activity Plan

For this blog, I am focusing on the #2 Target Audience. 

Although Orkut never did take off in the United States, it was a huge success in Brazil. Many Brazilians accessed the Internet from Internet Cafes‚ÄĒOrkut popularity grew due to its mobility factor.

One can access their accounts from anywhere. In Brazil, it was one of the most visited sites. At one point, “about 11 million of Orkut’s more than 15 million users are registered as living in Brazil — a remarkable figure is given that studies have estimated that only about 12 million Brazilians use the Internet from home” (Kugel 2006).¬†Not only did Orkut felt prestigious due to its invite-only membership, but it was also easy for people to navigate.¬† In the beginning, it seemed as if Orkut knew what their target audience wanted.¬† It was a strong presence in Brazil for ten years.

In 2007 Brazil introduced the Clean City Law, which banned billboards, digital signs, and advertising on buses. Brands turned to the internet.  Brazil emerged as one of the strongest markets for online retailers, ranking the fifth-largest online market globally. Advertising and marketing online was a plus for Brazilian social media users.  They eagerly researched products and shopped online. On other social media platforms, Brazilians watched videos and photos of other online users making their recommendations of products and services. But what about Orkut?  As other platforms advanced, Orkut stood behind. They had issues with functionality problems with the website, including blockages, limiting the number of friends, and difficulty loading and sharing photos (Translate Media, 2015).  All of those issues led to the failure of Orkut.

The Platform that was so eager to please in the beginning fell short when it was essential to step up.¬† That reminds me of my first boyfriend.¬† He did everything he can to get me, but once we became exclusive, he didn’t know how to keep me‚Ķ.

Weixin (pronounced “way-shin)

Weixin (rebranded name WeChat) created an all-in-one platform where their target audiences didn’t have to change apps for different purposes. It was like having Youtube , Facebook, Tweeter, Instagram, and eBay, all in one app. Its functions are designed to be straightforward and convenient to users (Mahoney & Tan, 2017). With total accessibility in the palm of their hands, Weixin engaged its customers with its various functions. It was first introduced to China in 2011. By 2014 it had over 300 million users in China, Southwest Asia, and Europe. What did Weixin do in those three years to gain such a large audience?

All marketing should begin with thorough audience analysis (Mahoney & Tan, 2017)

Weixin’s success came from knowing who was their target audience.¬† The platform targeted young urban smartphone owners‚ÄĒpeople who held their mobile devices as their prize possession. They do not have the time to jump from a browser to browse for their daily online activities.¬† It was now possible for their audiences to read the news or make a purchase all on Weixin.

Weixin ultimately evolved the way Chinese people communicate and socialize online.  The application had a record feature that would allow the user to record their messages, which saved typing Chinese characters into their phone. It is a tradition to give monetary gifts to family and friends during the holidays in Chinese culture. It is called Red Envelope.  Weixin also launched a unique feature where users can send money to family, sort of like a cash app.  It was named the Red Envelope campaign. The feature was launched just before the Chinese New Year of 2014.

Another feature introduced in 2014 was the “Didi Taxi.”¬† The function worked with 350,000 taxi drivers in more than 30 Cities in China. ¬†Its users can book a taxi and pay through the Weixin app. ¬†By Weixin introducing new functions that satisfy their audiences’ changing needs made them a part of Chinese people’s day-to-day routine.¬†

I am not as young as I look..LOL! I remember when I had a flip phone for calls and an iPod for my music.¬† So when the iPhone was introduced, I was so happy to have both plus internet all on one gadget. Looking back, who would have thought that was the beginning of something huge. Currently, I can do everything and anything on my mobile device. From paying my bills to ordering a cab, all can be done with one touch. So I understand how and why Weixin became so popular. It made its users’ lives a bit easier.

Warby Parker and my Pierre Cardin glasses

To say that I am an eyewear expert is an understatement. I have been wearing glasses since I was six. I am currently 51 years old, so you do the math. I remember my trips with my Mom to Cohen Optical and having lunch afterward at Roy Rogers. Those memories I will cherish forever. And I also can not forget having to chose the cheapest pair of glasses at the store because my mom couldn’t afford the cute, hip pair everyone was wearing and I wanted. Bless her heart, she really did try her best, she would do without to make sure I can see. When I started to make my own money, one of my first purchases was eye glasses. It took all of my summer job money to pay $539.00, yes you read right $539.00 dollars. I remember the Pierre Cardin frames’ cost because it was my first big purchase of something I thought of as a luxury not a necessity.¬†

I thought I was the last Coca-Cola in the desert wearing those frames and with my hair teased to high heaven. As time went by and my eyesight got worse, I dreaded going to any eyeglasses store.¬† It took too much of my time, and I had to wait 2-3 weeks for the complete pair of glasses. ¬†Then the internet happened, and God created online shopping.¬†Now at my fingertips, I can shop for everything and anything…even eyewear!¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

Today there are many online eyewear stores, but the one who started it all was Warby Parker.¬†Warby Parker was created in 2010 by 4 classmates; some are actual eyeglass wearers.¬† Being a college student, they must have suffered the same pain as I; why are quality eyeglasses so expensive?! We were already eating ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. How can a college student on a budget afford quality eyewear?¬† Warby Parker’s answer was cutting out the middle man, designing glasses in-house. and selling directly to the consumers.¬† They not only have a wide variety of eyewear, but the cost is drastically lower than if you went into a brick-and-mortar store.¬†

Now some may ask how I can trust an online store to handle something so important. Trust me, I felt the same way. I am already blind as a bat, and I am putting my vision in the hands of someone I can’t even see (see what I did there.. LOL).¬† Warby Parker gained the trust and dollars of consumers like me with their excellent social media marketing.¬†

They optimized their social media efforts by creating a transactional environment with their customers instead of using more linear advertising. Through their social media account, Warby Parker encouraged consumers to communicate directly to them. There isn’t a number to call or an annoying customer service rep on the line. ¬†Their social media accounts make consumers feel like they are really being heard. ¬†I have been a loyal customer to them because of this factor. ¬†They make me feel special, and I like it.

Another significant factor that Warby Parker encourages is user-generated content. Watching real people wearing Warby Parker glasses on my social media feed beats some tall, lanky model wearing glasses while running through the beach in a bikini type of tv commercial any day.  These are real people posting about Warby Parker.  People who have a story to tell and are willing to answer questions of their experience buying glasses online from Warby Parker. Warby Parker’s idea of creating a community atmosphere is excellent. It makes the consumer feel included and part of something great.

If I haven’t made you interested in Warby Parker social media marketing strategy let me tell you about their “home try-on” campaign.  Potential customers who are a bit worried about ordering eyewear through the internet for fear of not getting the product they ordered can try on frames in the comfort of their home. That’s right all you have to do is pick 5 frames that catch your fancy, and Warby Parker will mail them to you for free five day trial. Now consumers will not fear as if they are taking a risk.  Pick the one you like, submit your order online and send the five frames back on their dime! Easy as that. With the “home try-on” campaign, Warby Parker is gaining the trust of their consumers.  Another important detail that may reduce a consumers doubt is that Warby Parker is a socially conscious business.  They are partnered with VisionSpring, which allows Warby Parker to donate a pair of glasses to a  person in need for every pair they sell.  Consumers tend to be a loyal to a company who are socially conscious.

Online eyewear stores are popping up by the day, some even cheaper than Warby Parker. It will be interesting to see what they can pull out of the marketing bag of tricks to convince their customers to stay loyal to them all while trying to attract new ones.