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Think value, not viral

It’s easy in marketing communications to get caught up in the ‘cleverness’ factor when developing a campaign – it’s usually quicker to get to market since it’s not usually targeted & multi-layered, it’s sexy, it can be distilled into a soundbite, and it’s, well, clever (who doesn’t like cleverness or wit?). With the downturn in the economy the pressure will start to mount to deliver quick results & many clients will opt to go with a ‘catchy’ campaign in the hopes of standing out and driving fast returns to justify their marketing budgets. It may not be a bad approach if the campaign is dead on with the strategy and insights (usually the type of campaign that *goes* viral), but too often that just isn’t the case. The problem with this type of approach is that it tries to force cultural reaction with little chance of, or planning for, long-term success.  The mistake of cultural reaction-baiting becomes amplified in the social media space, even while the potential for pick-up & viral distribution is hard to resist.

Over the long-term the brands that will succeed in our new multi-layered marketplace are the ones that think value and relevance first and ‘hook’ second. Part and parcel of trust is history… is your history one that the customer remembers for it’s intrinsic value, or as a day at the carnival (if they remember it at all)? At the outset of planning shift your mindset to think of why your product is of value to an individual, or how it can be used that adds value.

When you try to create a “viral” program what you are ultimately doing is adding further noise to your customers life. Sometimes they’ll appreciate the tune you are playing, but most times they won’t. However, when you set out to provide something valuable vs. noisy your chances of making it onto a regular playlist increase. Being “of value” doesn’t have to mean being boring, it should mean being creative *and* relevant.

[photo credit: Supercapacity on Flickr]

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