Have you got the shareability factor?
There was a time when reaching your target market with a clear message was enough to sell products. Now brands need to create campaigns that have network appeal. This means creating ideas that can be shared in multiple iterations to fit within the audience’s ever changing world. But where do these ideas come from, how do you plan them and who should be creating them? Is there a formula for creating campaigns with network appeal?
Getting people to share your brand or campaign with their network is about two things happening together. Firstly, it’s about creating an idea worth sharing. Secondly, it’s about planning the idea’s distribution.
For the first, there are some common characteristics demonstrated in the more successful campaigns. They tend to have cultural relevance, are shared in context and have immediacy to the idea. Often they are concepts distilled to simple ideas and standout by being distinctive.
Take Lynx’s Fallen Angel Augmented Reality campaign, which took place in Victoria station last year. The campaign gave guys the opportunity to flirt with a virtual angel whilst waiting for their train to arrive. Why did it resonate with the audience and get talked about? It was easy to get involved with and the experience had immediacy and impact.
When it comes to creativity, social by design is a popular request from clients and account teams, but that’s not to say that only social campaigns are sharable.
VW’s Super Bowl Ad, that sees a bunch of dogs dressed as Star Wars characters barking Darth Vader’s march, is a great example of an idea with network appeal. It wasn’t made for social first, but I shared it because I love both brands and I like to see dogs dressed as people. It’s relevant to me and reflects my personality. Like so many great ideas that have network appeal, it has currency. I valued it, so I shared it. Most importantly, it was done well. It’s not about production value, just whether it stays true to what I believe about Star Wars.
In terms of distribution, how the idea gets shared is often overlooked by brands and agencies alike. Few brands think about participation and how the network will move the idea around. There’s much talk about the Paid/Bought, Owned and Earned media planning model, where reach and interaction in social have become the KPIs for social spend, but not a great deal of thought as to how second and third generation sharing can be encouraged when the media budget has finished. Again, there are some key learnings to be applied here.
Shareability can be improved by making the content of the idea detachable. In other words, distributing it in formats that can be easily taken from one place and put in another. Recognising that the whole idea doesn’t need to be shared, or understood, all at once is important. Snickers recently hacked Katie Price’s Twitter profile as a stunt. I heard about it before I understood what was going on.
In addition to the adding of sharing tools to content, encouraging tagging, adding bookmarking tools and the activity of reaching out to influencers to ‘seed’ content, a simple way to get network reach is by involving the community in the act of creation. The feed from Orange does this well. ‘AAAArrrghh you a pirate’ and ‘Singing tweetagrams’ are particularly strong as they make it easy for the individual to do the work of both creating the output and sharing it.
So to the trickiest question of all, who should be responsible for creating ideas with network appeal? For me, the answer is simple. Whether you’re the brand commissioning the work, or the agency with the job of creating it, if you want to get network appeal, pick a team that has the ability to put the idea into the context of how it will be shared. If it has clear social value and distribution is built in to the idea, then people will share it for you.
Chris Buckley is director of social engagement at TMW