Emotions to Channel for Viral Potential

By: Karina Rocha

May 2,  2016

-POP-2

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Viral Content- How does it happen? 

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Most campaigns and content are built with the intention of generating buzz for product or brand, and with the further reaching dream goal of becoming viral.

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While there is no secret formula to creating a viral campaign, we as marketers can only learn lessons from past successful campaigns and look for similar characteristics to apply to our own marketing strategies.

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The most striking similarity we found from all viral content, is that they all made people feel something. Researchers and marketers alike will answer the same when you ask them this question: why do people share content? Because they are motivated enough by their emotions to want to share the content with others. The emotion that they will feel though, is completely up to you, and the message that you are trying to communicate with your audience in connection with your brand.

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So in order to get you started, we’ve compiled a list of emotions and related campaigns that have had that special viral charm.

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  1. Happiness and General “Feel-Good” Emotions 

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The most ‘feel good’ of campaigns, eliciting happiness in your campaigns and content is the most well received by all. Eliciting humor and adding a dosage of ‘cuteness’ in your potentially viral content is great strategy to apply to receive the best feedback.

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That’s exactly what Evian did in their campaign “Roller Babies” which is referred to by many as the most successful viral ad campaign. This video has been viewed over 123 million times, a response that definitely must have generated buzz for the brand

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So, what you learn from applying a positive mood in your campaigns, is that will be shared most likely because the audience finds it entertaining, cute, and or humorous.

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2. Sadness 

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At first you might think that channeling sadness may not have a positive outcome, but the truth is as with all things, when executed properly the payoff is worth it. The key is to center your product or brand in the best light possible.

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A brand that is notable for executing this successfully time and time again is Budweiser. Their “Best Bud” puppy commercials have had an overwhelmingly positive viral response. In this ad shown below, they advocate a strong message to avoid drinking and driving, that although does not illicit complete sadness in the end, it does make the audience pause to consider dire consequences of poor decisions.

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Lesson here is to apply this emotion to positively advocate for a greater message in relation with your product, and of course adding a puppy never hurts either.

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3. Inspire 

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Inspiring your audience with your product or brand is perhaps the most challenging but the payoff for this emotion is worth the effort. Associating viral content with your brand that inspires creates more than just buzz, it can have more lasting effects of creating positive correlations with the message you send in the content.

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The following ad campaign “Like a Girl” by Always generated a lot of talk and a lot of shares fro the message it told the audience. Viewed over 60 million times, it most certainly made an impact and reinforced positive perceptions of the brand as an ambassador for female empowerment.

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If you inspire your audience with your product, you will not only reap the benefits of social shares, but also great public image.

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4. Don’t make people angry

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We’re going to include the emotion of anger because sometimes campaigns go viral for all the wrong reasons. So avoid causing controversy in your ads, and while that may sound obvious it’s important to stress caution and consciousness at all times when producing content that will represent your brand or product. Negative publicity that is drawn to your campaign can create backlash and perhaps even legal repercussions.

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One such controversial commercial was produced by Coca-Cola. It was an ad featuring a group of young Americans sending ‘help and aid’ to a group of Indigenous people in Mexico. It was perceived as racist and culturally insensitive to many . In fact the ad received so much backlash, that it had to be removed from airtime and Coca-Cola even made a public apology.

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That’s why it’s important, should it turn that content you created may not be received as intended, you must remove it immediately and have you Public Relations team in place to remedy the situation as quickly as possible.

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What did we learn? 

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There are many approaches that one can take when striving for viral, but one thing is clear: you have to make you audience feel. Your particular brand and audience should help help you determine which emotion will resonate best with them. So get to your drawing board and also let us know in the comments below, what is your favorite ad campaign of all time?

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