Viral Video Machine

Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in blog | No Comments

A few months ago I asked this same question and I think it’s worth repeating: Are you building your online (content) empire?

Why do this?

I’ve been having an ongoing debate with a good friend whose company is doing exceptionally well. He’s smart and understands his business.

However, I’ve been telling him that his problem is that he doesn’t have a problem-at least not yet. My advice to him has been to start some small (inexpensive, low-risk) experiments with creating (sticky) content.

I’m highly biased ( ) but I’m a huge believer in a content strategy-especially video content. That is, pulling people in as opposed to pushing messages, promotions (ads) and media out as a way to build brand awareness and a community.

Btw, this is one of the reasons Linked Orange County has grown to 15,000+ members in 2 years.

My friend pointed to Dollar Shave Club ( ) and suggested that all he needed to do was create a “viral” video to promote his product. If you saw their latest video you know they just introduced a new product.

My reply was that there is no such thing as making a viral video. He argued that he could…

I had 2 reactions when I saw the new Dollar Shave Club video and told my friend the following:

1. Good for them for knowing their (now big) audience and speaking their language-Just like those Carl’s Jr ads that actually said “we know who you are and what you like” -then showed chicks in bikini’s washing cars with extra foam, super models in sexy poses on a sandy beach or spilling BBQ sauce down their blouse-as a result they will probably sell more stuff.


2. For me and probably the rest of us with half a brain it was far too predictable and I wasn’t amused this time. First time, yes. This time no.

Can a brand make a “viral” video? They can try. Will this type of humor in an ad work for another brand? Maybe. We’ve been seeing some variation or iteration of an unexpected shot to the private parts since the Key Stone Cops or The Three Stooges.

But now that Dollar Shave Club is known for these kind of wacky ads anyone else who tries this runs the risk of looking like a copycat. Same goes for anything like Old Spice, Geico Insurance etc.

Story-based content is powerful. You don’t have to look very far to see that there’s a huge trend in original content. From personal blogs to branded video channels ( ), it works.

I believe the strategy is to build a brand with name recognition. In a world where people have lots of choices, I would want to stand out from the crowd and become a destination purchase.

My guess is that it’s going to be harder and harder for my friend to compete on price, cool design and even innovation going forward without storytelling that connects us to his brand.

My $0.02

I’d love to hear from you. Are you building your online (content) empire?

You can Tweet your comments to me , post to FB or leave a comment here.

-Bryan Elliott
Founder, Linked Orange County

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