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Don't shove content to make it viral: Vineet Gupta

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Don't shove content to make it viral: Vineet Gupta

If history is to be believed, the concept of viral marketing emerged as early as 1990s from the very thought of ‘an idea spreads like virus’, thus making viral marketing one of the well established technique as opposed to the notion that the concept has picked up now.

Digital and social media in specific have redefined the concept of viral marketing, making it a modern art that is best executed by keeping up with the digital trends. Exchange4media chats with Vineet Gupta, Managing Partner, 22 Feet to understand viral marketing from an India perspective and find out how marketers can use the concept to its best.

Do you think the concept of viral marketing is understood correctly in India?
The understanding of viral marketing is now way better than it used to be. Earlier marketers were not educated about this. However, now there are more efforts and thoughts put in it. But there is yet a long way to go.

Marketers in India attempt to ‘create’ viral videos, do you think this approach is correct?
No, this is not the correct approach. No one can guarantee whether a video will go viral or no. It is the consumers who make the video viral, not the creators. Also, it boils down to the quality of the content. The content has to be meaningful, thoughtful and share-worthy. A viewer should have a reason to share the content and only then it can go viral.

Post Harlem Shake craze, the popularity of the song shot up immensely. Thus, can brands use viral marketing to sell their products?
Like I mentioned earlier, there is no defined formula to create a viral video. If there was a sure-shot method, there would be a lot more instances of viral videos. For instance, Gangnam became an instant hit; however, there is no guarantee that another video created by Psy will also go viral. Similarly, Kolaveri went viral, but another song created by the same composer did not. Thus, marketers need to create content that resonates. The intention of creating a piece of content cannot be making it viral or selling a product; the intent should be creating meaningful content. The intent and the content are what matters.

What are the major trends witnessed in the viral marketing space?
Adoption of video content is one of the major trends witnessed. Almost two years ago, marketers used to shy away from creating content solely for internet. The same television content was uploaded on internet. Now the scenario has changed. Marketers spend time to create content only for digital. This has brought about some of the major changes across the viral marketing space.
Share a few things that marketers should avoid while using the concept of viral marketing?
The first and the foremost thing is, do not push the intent of creating a viral video down the creatives’ throat. Marketers need to understand that they need to earn the media. Content cannot be pushed beyond a certain point to create a viral video. Thus, marketers should not start with the intent of creating viral content. They need to stay true to the content. It is not major change, only a slight alteration of mindset that is required.

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