The power of a great creative idea can be, in theory, limitless. Imagine a brand campaign that’s still popular nearly a decade after it first launched, experiencing spikes of engagement whenever a new campaign is released. Or a campaign that globalises a local story, spreading a message beyond borders to reach communities far and wide.
That’s virality, and it’s not by accident. The most memorable viral campaigns travel beyond regular KPIs and traditional media and are able to take on a life of their own and become part of a shared universal conversation. Of course, since this is the internet we’re talking about, it’s almost impossible to control where conversations go - but with the right mix of excellent creative and a plan to unleash it and measure it in the most effective ways possible, there are no boundaries for how big your reach can get.
Evolving from moment to movement
If there’s an audience, there’s a conversation. The trick for brands is finding the right ones to connect with a piece of content. By targeting early adopters, opinion makers and influencers, brands lay the right foundation to build to critical mass whether your strategy involves paid, earned, owned or a combination of the three.
The most classic example of an idea taking on a life of its own as a result of careful planning is Volvo Trucks’ Epic Split campaign, which debuted in 2013 and has consistently seen spikes in engagement since (18 million views in the first three months of 2021 alone). What started as a viral video idea ended up in the Louvre, and it was all by design.
Campaigns like Volvo, as well as other recent examples like SK-II, work because they’re keenly aware of three keys to success when working with viral content:
- Online behavior and trends are global
- 30% of internet browsing is on non-domestic sites
- A global news story tends to spread to local markets
With this knowledge, brands can carefully manage and deliver relevant messages by working together with different markets, agencies and stakeholders to synergistically orchestrate a viral idea. Instead of pushing creative onto the consumer through traditional tactics like billboards or TV, your goal should be to create long-living, self-sustaining campaigns that make an impact around conversations, not simply impressions.
Measuring what matters
Of course, all brands want to create globally relevant campaigns with long shelf lives. The select few who are successful in setting their ideas free beyond their original platforms are the ones who understand data as it relates to real people. If your goal is to deliver creative that will ultimately be repurposed into popular culture and media organically, you need to understand why people actually care about a given brand or campaign.
Sometimes a surface-level audience report isn’t enough to give you actionable data. There are often passionate and dedicated groups within a larger dataset, and reaching these nuanced audiences first though the language and message they speak is key. By focusing on emotional and behavioral data, you can start to paint a more complete picture of your core audience’s passions in order to activate the right people and publications - no matter how niche.
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