Sonja Jacob, the Founder and Chief Cultivator at The Cultivated Word LLC, and the creator of the Grasshopper 'Entrepreneurs Can Change the World' video, gives us some insight into the video and re-branding strategy.
Just because you make an online video doesn’t mean anyone’s going to watch it. And it certainly won’t go viral just because you call it a “viral video.”
That’s because a video isn’t a marketing strategy in and of itself.
In May 2009, the video that I wrote and produced for the Grasshopper 5000 campaign, “Entrepreneurs Can Change the World,” generated lots of buzz. It was an inspiring video and touched a lot of people, but was the success of the campaign—and the company’s re-branding effort—due to the video alone? Quite frankly, no.
As of today, “Entrepreneurs Can Change the World,” has garnered over 250,000 views on YouTube. Despite the authenticity of the message, the campaign’s success wasn’t due solely to the video.
Despite this, I get tons of requests from individuals and organizations interested in making their own “Grasshopper video” without coming up with any supporting strategic efforts (no direct mail or serious social media components, for example). They’re convinced that if they just put together a video, and post it on YouTube, it will immediately cause their desired demographic to buy whatever they’re selling.
But that’s simply not enough these days. People need to feel like the message being conveyed relates to what you do as a company, who you serve, and what you believe in. Otherwise, it’s false, and people see right through it.
What made the Grasshopper campaign a success?
A fun direct mail component (sending chocolate covered grasshoppers to 5,000 influential technology junkies and pop culture figures)
Solid research (to discover who those 5,000 influential people were)
A well-executed and inspirational creative component (the video)
An authentic message (you are capable of making your dreams happen).
The elements I outlined above are pretty similar to what Edward Boches, Chief Creative Officer at Mullen, an ad agency in Boston, says are part of a successful viral marketing campaign. In a great post on his blog in June 2009, Boches stated that making a video successful means doing three things:
Making the video as funny and entertaining as possible
Having a distribution plan
Building in a meme, or “a way by which the consumer can add to, customize, or incorporate him or herself into a modified version of the original concept and pass it on.”
I agree with his points, especially about the meme, though I think an inspirational message can be just as inclusive and participatory as a customization component because it captivates the viewer emotionally.
These are some pretty solid guidelines to start out with, but how else can you determine if a video is right for your organization?
More in my next post.
Sonja Jacob is the Founder and Chief Cultivator at The Cultivated Word LLC, a copywriting and creative strategy firm located in Boston. www.thecultivatedword.com.