Creating viral content is a goal shared by many brands because it exponentially increases marketing reach at minimal cost. It isn’t a realistic goal because the whimsy of the general population creates viral messages. A better goal is to create videos that speak directly to customers and prospects. Good content and a little luck can turn marketing messages into customer centric viral videos that generate revenue.
There are three steps to creating customer centric videos. They are:
- Identify a problem that your company’s products or services solve.
- Find a creative and entertaining way to show the problem being solved.
- Create a message that makes your customers and prospects say, “wow!”
Two companies recently provided examples of doing this very well. In fact, they did it so well they’ve received coverage all major media channels generating millions of dollars of free publicity. The first company, Volvo Trucks, features Jean-Claude Van Damme in an epic split. Everything about the video is carefully crafted to show the trucks’ steering stability while entertaining the audience.
The only marketing message in the video is posted at the end. It simply reads, “This test was set to demonstrate the stability of Volvo Dynamic Steering.” Anyone who has driven for long periods understands the need for better control with minimal effort. Truck drivers especially understand this because they drive for hours on end. If you’ve ever spent any time riding in a big rig, you know that after a few hours your body can feel like it’s been beaten.
The Epic Split video is not Volvo’s first attempt at communicating the benefits of dynamic steering. Ten months ago, the company published a video that explained their dynamic steering technology. The video tells viewers what the system does and how it does it.
And, almost a year later, the video has received approximately 83,000 views. Two-thirds of the views came after the release of the Epic Split video as shown in the chart below:
Prior to releasing the Epic Split video, Volvo published a teaser that gives insight to the planning process and credibility to the final product.
Jean-Claude Van Damme’s video received over 40 million views in one week and generated interest in other videos. There is one primary difference between the two dynamic steering videos. The Epic Split video shows viewers what the system does in a dramatic way instead of telling them. The marketing message doesn’t have to be spoken because people cannot look away from the screen. It is a commercial that entrances viewers.
The second example is from GoldieBlox. The company’s mission is to “inspire the next generation of female engineers.” Before discussing the viral video, I have to say that as a female engineer, I love the concept of letting girls be girls while building things. I fit their customer profile as a girl who likes engineering activities and as a mother. I could rave about how the video speaks directly to me but let’s just say that it gripped me at the beginning and left me wanting more.
Most likely anyone with a digital footprint has seen or heard about this video because it is the new media darling. The video isn’t as viral as Volvo’s Epic Split but it has a solid growth line since being launched a few days ago.
The video is clearly designed for girls and their parents. It taps into the social consciousness that questions the minimal number of females in engineering. The “before and after” storyline shows that the world is changing:
There’s a powerful message in the video but mostly, it is just fun to watch.
GoldieBlox also provided behind-the-scenes videos featuring the stars. The girls are delightful. The video is fun. And the press can’t stop talking about it. Oh, there’s one more thing. This video is a commercial too.
Both companies created videos that identified problems, provided solutions, and had a “wow!” factor. Online communities and traditional media have rewarded them well. They are reaching their customer base and can reasonably expect a return on investment. Here are some details to keep in mind when creating your videos:
Pay attention to the length of the video. Limiting the videos to around two minutes or less increases opportunities for viewing and exposure.
Consider different angles. Both companies created videos of the video being made and added commentary to tell the story.
Don’t forget the text. Search bots cannot read videos. Adding details in the about section improves natural search results.
Put a link to your website at the top of the about tab. If you bury the link in your description, people have to click to see it. GoldieBlox made it easy for viewers to go to their website. Volvo didn’t.
Ride the wave. If your video goes viral, be available for interviews and respond to online communities.
Keep your eye on the ball. The objective is to build a connection with the people most likely to buy your products or services. Commentary by others shouldn’t derail the process.