Everyone is always looking for the next big hit, especially in our always-on world of constant content. Marketers try to break through the clutter with videos that can be shared via email (the old way) and social networking sites (the new way). B2B companies also want to join the party and “make viral videos.”
There’s one problem with this strategy. You can’t make a viral video. Viral is what happens after a video, or other content, is sent free, and it gets spread wildly, like a virus. While there are certainly many things that can be done to help the spread of the video, you cannot guarantee that it will go viral.
One of the most important steps in content creation is to understand that it needs to be part of a larger marketing plan with a set of objectives. The greatest video in the world does not succeed if it doesn’t generate more brand awareness, and ultimately sales. David Scott Meerman, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR and the newly released World Wide Rave, cites the following as a B2B viral video, produced for German company CWS.
While I would certainly not argue that the video is more entertaining, more engaging and visually creates a more memorable message than this copy on their web site: “frequently-used toilets often fail to fulfill hygiene standards. The comfortable solution: CWS BestCleanSeat, the self-cleaning toilet seat powered by batteries.” But I question its value to the company.
Just because they have 2.25 millions views on YouTube does not mean they sold more toilets. Many people watched the video due to the music and the European model sitting on the floor of a bathroom stall and made no connect to the company or its brand. Are the facilities managers who spec and buy washroom fixtures searching online video sites for amusing toilet videos to better inform their purchasing decisions?
And just to show how out of step with corporate branding many of these types of videos are, companies usually have a hard time finding the right place for them on their web site. In the case of CWS, the video appears on their about page, right next to their brand promise. “To ensure you feel at home wherever you are … we make certain everything is as clean as it should be.” That is a pretty big disconnect with their video that went viral.