"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).
I think that we can design marketing ideas and activities that are more likely to go viral by recognizing that social media is out there and what usually spreads quickly. Libraries can tap into that well to spread our message. It's definitely about me (and the receiver) when I pass something, but it's also about the Library too - the library being "remarkable". Make your library a "Purple Cow" ( title of a book on viral marketing by Seth Godin).
Thanks Helene ... social media provides plenty of opportunities for libraries. It seems there is a clear opportunity to transform their role in the community into one which is also digitally enabled.
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