"We all debate whether you can intentionally create something that "goes viral". Drew was asking the same question earlier.
My view, for what it is worth, is that we can (and probably should) design our marketing to be virally-enabled. That is, we should make it easy for others to pick up our idea and make it their own -- via links, embedding options, voting/ranking and send-to-friend options etc. BUT it is important to remember that "viral" is not about the brand ... it is actually about the users -- about me and you. If I forward a "viral" piece I will do so, because it says something to you about ME. It provides me with SOCIAL CURRENCY."
I really like these thoughts on viral-enabled branding and in fact talked about this some myself back in June when I spoke at ALA with Michael Stephens and Steven Bell. Providing your customers with opportunities to promote your brand via all the options that Gavin hits upon above, not only creates a personalized bond between your customers and your brand, it also allows them to celebrate themselves.
SHAMELESS PLUG: BTW I'll be speaking on this subject again next week at CIL with Michael Porter in both a pre-conference and regular session:
- From Avatars to Advocacy: Innovation through Un-marketing (pre-conference, Sunday, April 6th 1:30-4:30pm)
- Innovative Marketing Using 2.0 Tools (Track E - Wed, April 9 11:30am-12:15).