If inbound marketing has taught us anything it's that people don't care about the product as much as they care about the solution. It's not about what you are selling, but what you can do for them.
This type of mentality has had a big effect on how we market to consumers now. It's not so much about pushing a product as it is about creating a level of trust with your customers. They want to be part of a conversation; they crave personal interactions.
This shift is has surely contributed to the rise of video marketing one way or another. In the age of information overload, video content is naturally engaging and easily digestible. But the secret to success isn't just in the videos themselves, it's in the strategy you implement too.
For the sake of inspiration (who doesn't need a video break every now then), here are a few examples of some of the best viral marketing campaigns we have ever seen:
Chipotle's "Food With Integrity" campaign is a great example of viral marketing. Not only are these ads beautifully done and emotionally engaging, they do a great job of educating consumers.
The Scarecrow is an animated short film that portrays a dystopian world in which a ficitonal food corporation dominates the industry. It features depictions of animal confinement, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides, and other problems that plague the food industry. There was even an accompanying mobile game where players could wage battle against the evil food corporation by taking animals out of confinement and placing them into open fields.
In less than two weeks, the short film had over 6.5 million views while the mobile game surpassed 500,000 downloads in about six weeks. I'd call that a success.
In this ad, Reebok wants to remind us how long the average human lives: 25,915 days. They aren't just trying to sell us shoes (although they do that too), they want to encourage us to make the most of those days and explore our physical limits. What makes it so powerful is that there are no spoken words, yet we get the message as clear as can be.
The video shows us how one woman has experienced fitness throughout her life, starting with her older self and working backward to her day of birth. We see her running in a Reebok-sponsored event as a middle-aged woman, competing in highschool, and racing a younger boy as a child. The video ends with her in a nursery on the day of her birth.
The reason this is one of the best viral marketing campaigns is because it communicates the brand's mission in a way that appeals to our emotions without overdoing it. It also tells viewers that Reebok will be there to provide athletic gear throughout their entire life journey. There is even a clickable CTA at the end where you can "calculate your days" after watching the video.
In Homeword Bound, Saroo Brierley tells us an emotional story about his tragic separation from his family and how he was able to reconnect with them thanks to Google Earth.
One of the reasons why this ad is so effective is because Google doesn't put themselves at the center of it. Instead, they show us how their product can actually change lives without coming off as contrived or overly calculated. We don't feel as though we are being marketed too. We feel as if we are being told a real story about how their products can truly improve people's lives.
Do Us a Flavor
While not strictly a video campaign, the Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" challenge is still a great example of viral marketing. The company asked customers to suggest potato chip flavors and offered to give the winner $1 million or 1 percent of the profits.
The campaign generated about 4 million flavor ideas through social media while a panel of chefs and food experts chose three finalists. After the flavors were launched, consumers were given the chance to vote on their favorite. Over 1 million people used Facebook, Twitter, and SMS to cast their votes.
"Do Us a Flavor" was successful for two main reasons: it let customers know that there opinions were being heard, and it gave them a chance to participate in product development. By allowing customers to interact with and contribute to their brand, Lay's was able to triple their Facebook following and boost sales by 12 percent.
So now that you are familiar with some of the best viral marketing campaigns, you are probably asking yourself "what can I do to increase engagement with my content?" The answer is common sense, really. You have to show the value, not tell. The landscape is cluttered with meaningless slogans and pushy sales pitches. We simply need to give our customers something they can feel and offer a compelling reason why they should choose us over the other guy.