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What is the Branded Viral Video Predictor?
By: Tristan Pelligrino
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The term “viral video” gets thrown around quite a bit. Every brand these days wants to develop the next Darth Vader ad and garner nearly 50 million views. However, setting out to accomplish this type of viral success can be daunting. Where do you start?

In many cases, companies start out with a blank statement: “We want to create a viral video.” Over the last few years, I have really tried to caution those who start with this objective. Web video is more than just a “one-hit wonder” and really adds value to how customers perceive a brand. By creating deeper, content-rich videos, you can be transparent with your company and really connect with your audience. Nevertheless, reaching an audience on a large scale has its benefits.

So, if there is a blueprint for viral video, what is it? Before the end of 2011, I read an article discussing how one can make a viral video. I haven’t quite had a chance to revisit the contents until this post. In any event, the article does a great job in outlining four key ingredients that are typically a part of a viral video. Here you go:

Congruency. Essentially, this element means that the prior knowledge we have of a brand is reinforced by the video content. So, if we associate quality, luxury, etc. with a particular brand, then we also would expect the video to be along the same lines.

Emotive strength. We all consume large amounts of data every day. We are on Twitter, Facebook, etc. for many hours. The videos that last in our minds are those that have an emotional impact. I think this is one of the most important elements of a branded viral video — it is what sparks the content to be shared with others.

Network-involvement ratio. This ingredient means that the content is relevant to a group of people and those individuals are likely to pass the information along to others.

Paired meme element energy. Lastly, the fourth ingredient involves a scenario where more than one “meme” combines together. Brent Coker provides a list of these types of videos, which include such unusual names as “Skill Bill,” “Cutsie Wootsie,” etc. All in all, there are “types” of videos that go viral more than others. When a video includes a few of these factors, viral success is more predictable.

So, there you have it. The four key elements of a viral video. Maybe you can use these ingredients when you start to develop your next branded video. The debate on whether “viral” should be a business objective is the topic of another blog post.

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About the Author
Tristan Pelligrino is a marketing director, producer, blogger and co-owner of 522 Productions and 522 Digital. Connect with him @tpelligrino
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