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Awaiting for Share worthy Viral Content Made in Sri Lanka

Creating emotion filled share worthy content with a local touch

Awaiting for Share worthy Viral Content Made in Sri Lanka

Content Marketing is one of digital media’s most used methods to generate inbound traffic, user engagements and to boost brand presence online. However creating unique content that are share worthy reaches beyond a simple recipe.

While many digital marketers burn the mid night oil trying to crack the secret behind share worthy content, application of four rights in advertising and understanding the science of emotions behind content sharing can make the job of a content marketer’s a job less an uphill task.

According to a long term research on viral marketing done by Jonah Berger, a Professor at the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, more positive the message delivered by a content is more likely the content to be shared by a larger group of people.

During his research Berger studied nearly 7000 articles on New York Times and in his publication titled, ‘Contagious; Why things Catch On’ he speaks of this trend as a practice of sharing positive energy. The practice of sharing a news and ideas that enliven us predates that digital age and the thought of sharing positive energy and effervescence enhances our positive feelings.

According to Berger and Milkman who analyzed the pattern of New York Times articles that got emailed within a given period, emotionality of the content and the length of the content were the main factors that decided its online share worthiness.

The research further highlighted three more types of feelings that makes us reach to our fellow beings physically or through digital media including anger, awe and anxiety. In an analysis of 1400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns done by Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), it was found that advertisements with purely emotional content performed almost twice as well as advertisements with rational contents or with a mixture of emotions and rationale.

However creating content that speaks to our core human emotions itself would not assure the success of a content marketing campaign. No matter how good your content is it would not be shared by your focus group if the content is not relatable.

As inbound content marketing campaigns works partially through a supply and demand system, recognizing the right content for your target can be a decisive in scoring a high level of success. As per the four rights theory in advertising of ‘Delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time on right place’ creating content that relates to the different segments of your audience can be a crucial factor in deciding your content marketing campaign’s success.

One of the advertising campaigns that ticked all the requirements for a successful viral marketing campaign is Coca Cola’s Dispensing Happiness and Happiness Truck Campaign.

The campaign’s ultimate goal was to connect and engage with teenagers and young consumers worldwide through social media creating a wave of content sharing among teenagers.

A regular Coca Cola vending machine was fashioned into a happiness machine and was positioned at St. John’s University at Queens New York during the school’s final exam period. For two days a hidden camera recorded the reaction of the students receiving unexpected gifts like a free coke, t shirts, roses and giant sandwiches through the happiness machine.

On January 2010, Coca Cola uploaded the video to their YouTube channel while announcing the upload on Facebook and the scenes of St. John’s students reacting to their surprises and sharing them among friends caught on like wild fire. Within just 10 days the video gained 1 million views with a share rate of 40%. The video was later developed into a 30 second television ad, which aired during the American Idol final performance episode, creating a rare instance when online media content was adopted for a conventional TV advertisement.

Following its American success, Coca Cola expanded its happiness campaign worldwide in 2013 with the Happiness truck. Having turned a Coca Cola delivery truck in to the Happiness truck which drew to city centers and invited people to press a button to receive surprise gifts. Their reactions too were shared on YouTube and on Facebook hub with the hashtag #WWHSN for Where Will Happiness Strike Next, creating a second wave of heavy user engagement.

While Coca Cola gained global success by using viral marketing methods on Digital Media as a main advertising medium nearly six years back, Sri Lankan brands are yet to consider Digital Media advertisements beyond PPC and social media advertising as viable promotional medium. Especially the Local Food and Consumer good brands with a heavy following among youth are yet to harness the full potential of social media and internet.

Although few industries including hospitality and fashion have adopted online marketing methods, many Sri Lankan advertisers are still restricting themselves to conventional media and outbound marketing to gain consumer attention, failing to recognize inbound digital marketing campaigns as a way to bypass viewers browsing through channels to avoid advertisements.

But can we replicate Coca Cola’s success in Sri Lanka? I am sure we can. As per an early blog on Social media usage in Sri Lanka, local consumers are a heavily engaged lot on Facebook and You Tube, but local Digital Marketers and advertisers are yet to take the leap of faith and invest in creating content with the right formula to go viral. With a little investment and ingenuity Sri Lanka too might see a successful viral campaign that speaks to our hearts and take the internet by storm.