Important Tips for Making Viral Videos

Within the last 30 days, the world witnessed Candace Payne (the Chewbacca Mom) become an Internet sensation because of a short video she recorded while trying on a Chewbacca mask she purchased at Kohl’s. In addition to Internet and TV exposure, the Chewbacca Mom also has earned almost $500,000 in gifts and scholarships for her entire family, and her video has been viewed by 156 million people!

Kohl’s perfectly took advantage of this rare opportunity to build positive exposure for the company’s brand. A company representative traveled to Chewbacca Mom’s hometown to surprise her with $2,500 in Kohl’s gift cards and 10,000 rewards points; a win-win for both sides, especially for Kohl’s.

While all businesses would like to find their own version of Chewbacca Mom, the truth of the matter is that such opportunities are rare. Viral videos are seldom effortless and spontaneous. Most viral videos are carefully planned, and require a lot of hard work.

Here are some very important tips to consider for making viral videos:

  1. Carefully plan the main purpose of the video and its fit with the brand message.
  2. Make sure that the video evokes an emotional response from the viewer.
  3. The video must cater to the characteristics of the target audience.
  4. Essential truth about the company’s brand must be incorporated into the video. The video will flop if it does not truthfully depict what the company stands for.
  5. Avoid humor, if it is forced. Not all viral videos are funny. Some focus on the most basic human emotions, such as love and sadness.
  6. Viral videos must be accompanied by ads and public relations efforts to “get them out there”.

Here is a powerful quote from Steven Leeds of Systemax, Inc. that beautifully sums up the power of viral videos and why businesses should consider them as an essential part of their marketing mix: “When you advertise in the newspaper, that paper ends up in the recycling bin the day your ad runs. When you run a commercial on TV, your ad only lives as long as you’re paying for the spots. But a video can live forever online.”

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