Monday, February 2, 2009

Can viral videos work in Loyalty?

At some point, you’ve probably seen a viral video, those short video clips that get passed from one person to another via e-mail or a media sharing Web site. They’re sometimes edgy, often humorous. And when they’re done right they can get people talking and generate a buzz.

The question I’ve been pondering: is it possible to create a viral video that works for your best customer base? One that’s personalized—and so good at capturing the essence of your company that customers want to share it with friends and associates, thereby cultivating new customers.

It could be a happy birthday video from the friendly wait staff at your local favorite restaurant. Or a thank you message from the pilot of your preferred airline. Or even a humorous “we miss you” video from a hotel you frequent, but haven’t been too lately.

It could be one more way to surprise and delight your best customer base—the people most likely to spread positive word-of-mouth about your company to others.


  1. Hi Tom

    from everything I've seen and read, a viral event defies deliberate creation. So called experts that have had viral 'successes' fail vastly more often than they succeed.

    I'm not sure a viral 'we love you' message would work regardless. As you noted most are humorous or edgy and if one is attempting to send a message to their valued constituency, the lack of personalization in the message (which admitedly can be rectified - see here and the lack of direct message issuance ( not coming from Brand X but through some friend) reduces the chances of a viral loyalty program's success .

    My 2 cents

  2. Hi Miro,

    I agree with your comments, with but a few exceptions the vast majority (99%?) of planned viral videos quickly fall into obscurity. I was being a bit liberal in my use of the term viral video, but think this approach might be a unique way to engage with your very top tier of customers and turn them into brand advocates. ("Hey, you won't believe what my favorite restaurant/hotel/airline just sent me.")

    A related side story: An ad agency I know well was recently approached by a client looking for a viral video. The agency responded with several funny and very edgy ideas. The client selected a favorite but asked that it be toned down. They wanted the essence that could have potentially made the video go viral removed. The agency's brave and wise response: "Sorry, if you do that, there's no way this idea is going viral. Your company may just not be ready to do a viral video. Best just to shelve the whole idea." Which they did.

  3. Hi Guys

    One has to creatively communicate the humor and the core marketing message. This is one case where it did, check this article .