Going viral is something that many claim to understand, but few have been able to master. The fact is no one can ever really be sure what is going to catch on and light up the social graph. There are just too many variables.
Kids and kittens seem to work well, and there is something to be said for outright shock value. There are also seeding companies that will get the numbers moving – somewhat artificially and very expensively.
Lately, so many things are going viral that the whole concept seems to need a new definition. The last week is no exception.
Kony2012 took the Internet by storm, skyrocketing to the 100-million views mark in just six days, faster than any other video. Chart-topping mobile game series Angry Birds took to the International Space Station for an innovative promotional video, garnering more than 4.2- million views, and startup Dollar Shave Club also made big waves.
Since launching its much-talked-about YouTube video on March 5, razor-of-the-month company Dollar Shave Club has attracted more than three million views, and the attention of millions more through stories in top news sources around the world.
Its video, featuring founder Michael Dubin, is funny, honest and entertaining. It does a great job of describing Dollar Shave Club’s products and services, and has just the right amount of the Old Spice vibe that it pays homage to without copycatting.
Traditional thinking has it that video is inaccessible and expensive. People often have visions of expensive advertising agencies, television commercials and media buys. But that’s not always the case.
For entrepreneurs looking to make a big splash with a small budget, video offers an excellent way to tell your story, if done correctly.
Tell a great story
Dollar Shave Club isn’t a revolutionary new service nor an exciting invention; it’s just another entry in the “of the month club.” It has what appears to be a quality product, but the real difference is the way it tells its story. Don’t worry if it’s not amazing high-definition quality or if you can’t get the special effects you’re looking for. Put a spin on it, be creative and be authentic.
As a small player or a newcomer to an established sector, it’s not necessarily a bad idea to take a well-calculated (and fun) shot at a market leader, as Dollar Shave Club has done. One of your goals is to be seen as a major competitor. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Take the middle step out of the equation and put your company in the story.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
Entrepreneurs often think that being serious is the only way to be taken seriously. It’s not entirely unfounded. Banks are serious, investors are serious and your competitors are serious.
But if you’re too serious, you risk taking the creativity out of an innovative startup and forgetting what your key strengths really are. The Dollar Shave Club video was actually made months ago and used to pitch some of the largest venture capitalists, two of which combined to put $1-million into the company.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic . She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.
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