Story Telling: The Art of the Viral Video.

Posted on Friday, June 27th, 2014 by

Brands now expect to be able to engage and connect with consumers in a more social way than ever. What were once the traditional brands: reliable and consistent are now becoming the maverick story tellers that everyone tries to compete with.

The importance of online engagement is particularly relevant considering there is now a plethora of marketing channels, and brands don’t automatically opt for a TV campaign.

The growth in access and popularity to apps such as YouTube, Vine, Instagram or even Snapchat has meant that the viral video, along with the selfie and other social media zeitgeists are now what are becoming known as marketing’s ‘new frontier’, untrodden ground for brands to walk at their own risk. YouTube alone has more than 4 billion views per day, and it’s the second-largest search engine, right after Google. 78 percent of people watch at least once a week and 55 percent watch every day. But to create a successful viral video is not a studied science, it is an art, that not many have as of yet mastered.

Online videos should prompt and ensure people are engaging with a brand in an authentic and genuine way. Essentially people share videos for the same reason that people stand at the water cooler talking about the latest Asda Advert featuring a gnome in a thong. It is shareable, it is worth talking about – if you like that kind of thing.

viral2

If done well a brand can essentially sit back, relax and watch the views rack up. In reality branded videos and viral videos spread across the digital world because of the same motivation TV advertisement is carried through word of mouth: compelling and shareable content.

And that is the key. Video is shared so easily and frequently that the advantage of creating a viral video is huge. More than 500 years’ worth of YouTube videos are watched daily on Facebook. More than 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute. The more shares that a video can garner, the wider the reach and the more views, which should equal more engagement and awareness that a brand will receive. But what makes a successful viral? Marketers must consider multiple issues, including distribution and timing but remembering that like all media, old and new, content is king.

The reason videos are so much more ‘shareable’ than your average picture or meme is that, if done right they can more successfully evoke some form of emotion from the viewer. Be it heartfelt emotion or humour, the spectrum is large which makes relevance even more of an issue for brands. One of the biggest obstacles for brands to overcome is recognising that a video must not only be relevant to their brand identity but resonate with their consumer on an emotional level.

Some of the most exceptional content that brands advertise leans more toward lightly branded videos, Evian and Dove are two brands who excel at achieving this. Videos that conjure deeper emotions generate greater engagement, but let’s face it their purpose is lost if your audience remembers the content and forgets the brand. Consumer memorability reports regularly find that whilst consumers remember engaging content, they can’t always remember the brand that created it. If brand recognition is achieved than the goal is that brand recall will last, hopefully longer than the images of furry kittens playing with string.

There are a number of strategies brands can utilise when it comes to approaching the mine-field that is branded viral videos. Yes, forking out to make a video can potentially be costly and there is always the risk that even after all those hours spent on pre-production and editing, a viral video will in the end just be a video. Or it may go viral, but those views won’t quite convert into the results the brand was hoping for, but at the very least video allows for real-time feedback and interaction between consumers and a brand.

Visual storytelling can help an organisation stay relevant to their consumers in so many more ways that can’t be measured, and like many of the social trends that people dismissed to be fads, the viral video isn’t going anywhere soon.

Take a look at some of our videos here! For more information on our video work contact john@outlook.co.uk