Guest Column: The Virality Cookbook: Shubhranshu Singh

Continuing from last week's column, this week, Singh lists the precise points that make for viral content

e4m by Shubhranshu Singh
Published: Apr 30, 2018 8:57 AM  | 2 min read

First, a quick recap of our telescopic view of Buzz and Virality last week:
1. Consumers are sated with plain vanilla advertising
2. Marketers are desperate to put brands in a context
3. Brands that stand out in a cluttered landscape get business advantage
4. Virality is promising because it gives a huge boost to Reach and can rapidly build awareness and equity

The type of content that gets pushed a lot, and eventually may gallop its way to out-of-charts virality:

• News
• Humour
• Opinion
• Skill demonstration
• Warnings / Alerts
Virality is always a matter of expected next action. The propensity to share along is higher if it came to you than if you found it yourself. Which means there are important accelerators or catalysts who push and start the virality, like the early applause in a live audience that makes everyone follow.
Consumer clusters that have high-sharing activity:
• Those who search for the new thing – research , finding, revelation
• Subject Mavens - I know – filling in information gaps – the rarer it is, the more speed it acquires
• To share within interest group – larger the interest area, the more likely followers will circulate
• To promote something seen as common group interest – it is for everyone’s collective good.
• To be the first to break a news
• Promoting causes that reward them with more social clout
• To demonstrate authority or expertise

Triggers for Virality:
• Amusement – laugh out loud content and slapstick often is most preferred amongst young men
• Celebrity spotting and red carpet spotlight is preferred by young ladies.
• Surprise/contrarian discovery that is a ‘wow factor’ is shared faster
• Joy – cuteness – moments we have active recognition of déjà vu for are also shared and pushed
• Excitement – romance
• Nostalgia for icons, moments, history, old vignettes
• Mockumentaries
• Challenges –dares –extreme living
• Disgust – gross also gets pushed.

When prioritizing – remember Word of Mouse has a multiplier over Word of Mouth.
Social content popularity is a voyage of self-discovery for brands. Not every brand temperament and tonality is suited for such methods. Gimmicks and gizmos will not substitute for consumer community efforts. It’s not about buying attention. It’s not about old rules. It’s not about seriously trying to create fun.
It’s not purchased. There is no rate card for the Wildcard. 
(The author is a Mumbai-based marketer)
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

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