In the example of Roto-Rooter I posted earlier, they used this tactic. Branding is a more global term for creating a personality or set of meanings for a brand. In Roto-Rooter’s situation, their viral strategy was designed to impact their brand — to let people know they also did plumbing. In the case of Apple, the stunt — whether perpetrated by Apple or not — didn’t contribute to the brand — we already knew about how cool and trendy Apple’s were — it created a hype to make people curious about what the new phone did, how it was different than its earlier phone. Hence, it was extremely valuable, but didn’t impact its brand.
What is Buzz Marketing? Viral Marketing?
Hence, Buzz (or viral) is a tool used to accomplish multiple things for an organization.
Uses for Buzz Marketing, Viral Marketing?
- Build your brand — give it a brand personality
- Advertise a sale
- Promote a distributor
- Show customers how to use your product
- Tell customers about problems they can solve using your product
- Remind consumers to use your product – build brand loyalty
- Get customers to recommend it to their friend
Why does Buzz Marketing work?
Having good relationships with people is a key element of our make-up. Mazlow calls this our social needs, which figure high in his hierarchy of needs.We all want to be like our friends (colleagues, family, neighbors, etc), we want them to like us, we want to be able to share things with them.
Thus we see and hear with they tell us (rather than tuning it out like we do commercials). This is called selective attention.
We remember what our friends tell us since it is linked to enjoyable conversations and surrounded by the halo of our affection for our friends. This is called selective retention. Another name (related, but not exactly the same) for this is selective recall.
We like to take their recommendations. In part, this is because we believe them more than we do advertisers. In part, its because we trust them more and think they wouldn’t recommend something with an outside motive, like profit. We feel they know us and are looking out for our best interest.
Sometimes our friends know more about a product than we do — these are often called mavens. This may be a function of their active engagement with the product — or involvement.
How do you generate Buzz Marketing or get something to go Viral?
- Build relationships – people are more willing to pass on what you tell them if they know you
- Build trust -if you don’t act in a responsible manner, people won’t trust you and they’ll be afraid to pass along your information
- Provide value – this can be interesting content or it can be something unique, interesting, fun …
- Don’t waste time – people are busy. Make it easy for them to pass along your information. For instance, LivingSocial provides a simple means to share their daily deals via Facebook, email, etc.
- Also, don’t waste time with long, boring content. It should be short, to the point, readable, etc. Graphics and images help capture attention.
A case study
A good example of this comes from Roto-Rooter. In an effort to bring attention to their plumbing services (people thought of them as a septic company) the created a contest to give away a “Pimped Out John” in honor of the birth of John Crapper, who invested the modern toilet. The contraption had a toilet complete with everything the modern man needed — a computer, an MP3 and docking station, a magazine rack, a telephone, a TV with remote. When you logged on to their website, most of the screen was taken up with the image of this contraption. Needless to say, everyone who saw it had to send it to everyone they knew. Then, the media got a hold of the story and company representatives were asked to be on morning talk shows, like Good Morning America and asked for interviews in papers like the Wall Street Journal. This media attention was easily worth a million dollars or more