In answering the question, we need to establish precisely what a viral video is, or at least agree a metric for measuring the viral rating.
In past years the prospect of a video (corporate or otherwise) getting a million views was considered ‘viral’; however, the landscape has changed somewhat since then to a point where respected bloggers and so called experts now claim that to go viral it requires “more than five million views in a 3-7 day period”.
The big players
In 2012, the Kony 2012 video achieved a staggering 34,000,000 views within three days after going live. It currently has over 100 million views. This, therefore, is the ultimate viral video. But it’s not a corporate film.
The chance timing
When Charlie bit his brother’s finger, few could probably predict quite how many people would watch the content and share it – similarly when a baby panda sneezed next to its mum and scared the life out of her, it probably seemed far-fetched to imagine these films having hundreds of millions of hits apiece.
The big corporate players
T-Mobile capitalised on a huge public event to stage a parody royal wedding. Content was topical and humorous and therefore resonated strongly and earned them close to 30 million views.
Similarly, when Cadbury’s decided that they would have a gorilla playing the drums to Phil Collins, or when mobile giant, Three, decided to make a pony moonwalk, few could understand the link to the brand, but moreover it made people laugh, share, and it was memorable. Very memorable.
Let’s face it, these guys have a head start by already being famous and therefore make up the bulk of the most played YouTube videos. However, when a really catchy (and annoying) song such as Gangnam Style comes along, few people were predicting the content would receive over 2 billion hits!
So a look at corporate videos that have hit the big time with viral audiences shows the criteria that a viral film requires if it is to succeed.
Viral films need a strong and compelling hook – reasons to make you watch them, to make them relevant, and, most importantly, to encourage you to share.
Buzz, parody and longevity
It was suggested by YouTube guru, Kevin Nalty, that there are three other considerations to developing the popularity of corporate viral videos, these being ‘buzz, parody and longevity’.
The higher the buzz, the more views and shares the video will get – and this ‘buzz’ could be caused by a celebrity sharing the content, endorsing or a sustained PR campaign behind it.
Parodies and spin-offs can achieve excellent viewing figures with a relatively small budget due to their share potential and ability to resonate strongly.
Create a strong emotional response
It is argued by psychologist Rosanna Guadagno that a share of a video will occur when the viewer has a strong emotional response to the content.
It seems pretty clear then…use a big name in your corporate film, create a parody, make it timeless and get a lot of celebrities to endorse it massively in the first three days of launch. Couple this work with a planned and sustained large budget PR and advertising campaign, and there you have it – a guaranteed viral corporate film.
And if by chance you happen to see a panda sneeze or a child bite his brother’s finger, then be sure to capture it – you never know when it might create the buzz you require and the traffic to your business!
Martin Newton is a Director at Energise Media – a corporate video company located in St Albans, Hertfordshire.
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