Recently, the Hive read Jonah Berger’s Contagious: Why Things Catch On. In a world of cat videos and gold vs. blue dress wars, what goes viral can often seem random. Contagious takes a closer look at the trends and stories that catch fire and explores their common traits. The final product is the six principles listed below. As we continue to ideate within this framework, we’ve dog-eared some of the most shareable approaches we’ve seen recently:
1. Social Currency
Create remarkable experiences that make others looks good, while promoting products and ideas. Your acceptance letter—and then some. Gone are the days of the plain, sealed envelope holding an acceptance letter. Wheaton College — among other colleges in the nation — opted for surprising their future students with in-person offers. Cue the mascots, oversized white envelopes and even marching bands: the result is feel-good content shared across every social channel.
Top-of-mind=tip-of-tongue: link brand to triggers and associations that are relevant, frequent and contextual. With the push of a button. Getting consumers to add products to their shopping lists is a forever-evolving puzzle. Amazon ditched the shopping list altogether by allowing consumers to buy staple household items instantly from their home. Amazon Dash Buttons are small Wi-Fi-enabled push buttons linked to the consumer’s Amazon account that allow an item to be instantly reordered with the simple push of a button. Adhesive backing allows buttons to be put in pantries and drawers, triggering consumers to remember to reorder.
When we care, we share. Create messages that activate emotions — like awe — to spark arousal and action. More than a banking partner. Last summer, TD Bank set out to thank customers for their loyalty through a campaign that earned more than a few tears, and was shared more than a few times (four million views in five days). Surprising customers with a gallery full of photos of their important life moments, along with narration from their family members, went beyond shareable content — it sent an unforgettable brand message.
4. Public Visibility
Create ways to spread awareness through visible behaviors that influence others. True (snap) story. Snapchat is a cultural force; users all together view more than 7 million videos a day and each user averages 25-30 minutes a day on the app. The app is built on this private-made-public principle: photos and videos disappear after they are viewed, encouraging users to share moments they otherwise wouldn’t want living permanently on a social platform. Expect the marketing presence to grow triple-fold with the platform’s new on-demand geofilters, a feature allowing businesses to create locally targeted filters that provide major visibility with one swipe.
5. Practical Value
Make content practical, and package it in a way that makes it easy to share. 45 seconds to your next nosh. If you’re hungry, don’t cruise Facebook. Tasty’s 45-second fast-motion videos have taken over feeds by guiding users to make everything from cinnamon sugar cheesecake bars to cheese-stuffed pretzels using common pantry ingredients. The pretzel post was viewed 37 million times and was shared 750,000 times in just its first 24 hours. Why? It’s easy, practical and invites action.
Wrap brand stories around ideas that people are already talking about and care about. Real names, real experiences. There are only so many ways a hospital can share their service offerings and promise with prospective patients; that’s why New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP) decided not to tell their patient stories, but have their patients tell them directly instead. With a campaign titled “Amazing Things Are Happening Here,” NYP offers more than 20 one-minute vignettes of patients telling their story — and within that story, authentic brand testimony for the hospital.