Why this kolaveri di? A” bordering on the inane” song from a soon to be released tamil movie with music composed by a young 21 year old debutant has opened a whole new debate on the power of viral marketing.
This is why- as I sit down to write this blog, the song has been downloaded over 2 million times on youtube within a week of its release, it has been trending on twitter for the last six days and has over a million shares on facebook- the song has not only become popular in India, but also across the globe.
I first heard this song on the day it was released officially as a single- I found it was strangely appealing and showed the video to my teenaged daughter and she loved it. She has it on her ipod and has promptly marketed it to her friends! In the next few hours I saw many of my facebook friends, including one or two of Prayag clients, sharing the video. I said, alright, this song is really making an impact. Before I know it, it is everywhere.
Of course, there are some detractors, but there is no doubt that it has become a huge rage. I see some comments on facebook saying- oh, all this is the power of viral marketing. Being in the business, I thought to myself- I wish it were so simple!
For any content to go viral, it needs to appeal to a wide cross section of audience. And to achieve that is not as easy as it seems, believe me! The interesting thing about kolaveri is that it did not set out to impress this huge audience. It is a simple, unpretentious attempt to create a fun song that would appeal to tamil youth- what it has ended up doing is catch the imagination of youth all across, as the lyrics are in “a version of English”, and also win over older people because of its honest and fresh approach.
The team behind the song has been clearly taken by surprise, but is now going all out to make the most of it- online chats, prime time interviews, exclusive video interviews, front page on mainstream and business dailies- you name it and they are there.
To me the biggest takeaway as a marketer is that content should be honest, and be right for the audience. Also don’t try too hard. But, be ready to cash in if the viral effect does kick in.
PS: My writing was interrupted by a call from my mother- she said, what is that song, kolaveri, I pestered your sister to play it for me. And, on twitter Junior Bachchan follows his father in acknowledging the song.
Is there a need to say more? Instead, go watch the video if you haven’t already
Many new-fangled phrases about technology releases are being bandied about – you would have heard of consumerization of IT, social computing, analytics and what not. What is achievable with these new technologies is quite amazing both for businesses and consumers. The consumer world has never been as spoiled for choice before. Consider this – smart and smarter devices, multiple forms of communication and collaboration tools, intelligent buildings and so on. And now there is Siri. Apple as usual has managed to get a headstart by introducing this really cool piece of technology. For the uninitiated, Siri in layman’s terms is a virtual personal assistant that operates on voice based commands and is available on latest versions of the iphone. Here’s more – you can command Siri to perform tasks using natural language. Apple has a demo on its site – apparently, if you ask Siri, what is the traffic like at this point, it identifies your location and then figures out the traffic in that neighbourhood and gives you an update. How cool is that?
Yesterday, I happened to see a demo of Kinect and my first thought was that the holodecks of Star Trek is no longer a fantasy. Guess it is only a matter of time before we start seeing them.
On the social side, much has been discussed about the power of social media – be it to fuel the Egypt revolution or in other parts of the Middle East/West Asia.
On the business side, context specific help can be made available through specially designed eyepieces. With these, workers can diagnose and resolve problems much more effectively. The possibilities are countless and am not even going to get started on using smart devices at work to improve productivity and so on. Those seem like basic uses suddenly.
Have you come across any technology that you have used and which has made a difference? Do share – will be interesting to compare notes.
If Facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world; if you sat down to watch all the videos uploaded on YouTube as we speak, you would need around a 1000 years! A quiz on such interesting trivia kicked off the social media workshop that Prayag conducted last week at L&T Infotech for their leadership and marketing teams. The workshop was a culmination of an engagement we did for the company that included creating the social media guidelines and evaluating their social media roadmap.
Social media networking is thought to be a millennial thing, a fad, or, at best, as a wave that will impact B2C companies. Our workshop sought to dispel this myth and educate the audience, through real life case studies and current research that B2B companies can benefit as much, if not more, by embracing social media. We also did some hands-on exercises which helped the audience get a first-hand feel on how they could use social media tools to achieve business goals.
Gauging by the participation and feedback, I can confidently say that the marketing team, which is spearheading L&T Infotech’s social media initiative, achieved its objective of laying a solid foundation for the company’s social media program. Also, by creating a comprehensive guidelines document, they have ensured that the rules of the game are clearly defined upfront. This would definitely stand them in good stead as they ramp up activities.
At Prayag, we interact with a number of companies, all of whom, without exception, are curious, intrigued and wanting to know more about social media and how it can be interleaved into their marketing strategy. We must doff our hats to L&T Infotech though for taking the important first steps and getting started on their social media strategy.
With about 35 hours of video being uploaded every minute and youtube becoming the 2nd most searched engine after google, there is no doubting that online video watching has come to stay! The moot point is though, does this have business relevance especially in a B2B context?
Our take, corroborated by a ton of research on this subject, is that video has an important role to play in the B2B marketing mix. In fact, there are two situations where video can play a very effective role- one is to illustrate a concept creatively and two is to help “humanize” the brand.
On conveying a concept or an idea, check out these videos IBM’s video – smarter energy (a part of the smarter planet campaign) http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=smarter+energy&aq=f
Accenture’s video to explain cloud computing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eq3Sj1GGs8&playnext=1&list=PLAC82DD3F64D6015C
and Infor’s campaign against large ERP systems – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMYjFFCfK4k.
On humanizing the brand, video can be used for customer testimonials, interviewing your experts, or for your management to express their point of view. Cisco has used video quite effectively in this context.
Now, you may say, all this is great but making a video is expensive and time consuming. Well, not anymore. While making highly creative films including perhaps concept videos may be time consuming, interviews and chat shows can be done very economically and in quick time using the Cisco flip or Kodak’s pocket video camera. And then, you could use software like windows media player to edit and publish.
Believe it or not, it takes no more than a couple of hours from start to finish to produce HD quality video clips.
So, what are you waiting for? As marketers who are fine tuning their mix for the next year, go ahead and explore the possibilities in the realm of online video…………..
With linkedin crossingthe 100 M user mark and Facebook already having more than half a billion users, the possibility of creating virtual professional networks is quite “real”. Today, I posted a birthday wish to a “facebook” friend, Elan, who happens to be an ex-colleague and also a guest blogger for Prayag. He has over a 1500 friends on facebook- who would these friends be? Most likely, his college friends, colleagues across the various companies he may have worked in, the professional network he would have built over the years, and his personal network.
My college going son’s facebook friends also number over 650. His network is constituted primarily by friends he has made in the two schools he has studied in, and now, from his college. A proportion of these will endure and become part of his professional network.
Similarly, in a recent interview for Prayag’s Confluence, Suresh Sambandam, CEO, Orangescape, an exciting Paas company, mentioned that he has over a 3000 linkedin connections that he had assidiously built over the years! My own linkedin connections, though nowhere as extensive as Suresh’s, still number over 500.
I see virtual networking benefit business professionals in two ways. First, for those ( like me) who are not excited by the idea of investing evenings and week ends on networking, virtual networks provide a good alternative. The second benefit for even those that enjoy networking in the real world is that virtual network can supplement your physical networking activities. Can Suresh realistically ” meet and greet” 3000 + people over any reasonable period of time? On the other hand, it is possible, by investing some time and effort, to stay in touch with even such a large network, in the virtual world.
I believe that the potential of virtual networks is still being under estimated and many of us still have predominantly “dormant” connections. By actively engaging with your network- which would translate to participating in groups, answering questions or posting useful updates i n linkedin, for example, one can start expanding one’s network and also keep connections alive.
It would be great to get your views on the power of virtual networks. Do share your experiences and opinions…………
Watching the recent events unfold across Egypt, I was struck by how social media was used in this revolution, specifically by Wael Ghonim, a Google executive. This is not the first time social media was used to protest against a government – remember Iran’s Twitter protests in 2009 – but this is certainly the first time a regime has been toppled (though it is still too early to say much). Just to recap, Ghonim created a Facebook page about Khaled Said, a young Egyptian who was killed for angering the country’s police by posting a video of them on YouTube. This Facebook page attracted 500,000 followers, and Ghonim used this to focus attention on other misdoings of a corrupt government. Ghonim was arrested and later released, and he became the spokesperson of the revolt. Google also played a role here – when the Egyptian authorities cut off internet access in the country for 5 days, Google created Speak2Tweet, allowing Egyptians to leave voice messages that were later posted on Twitter (should a company play an active role in a revolution like Google did? But that is a subject for another post :-))
Authoritarian regimes that have controlled traditional media to control their citizens are finding social media a completely different ball game. Social media is a ‘revolutionary’ game changer here!
As a species, humans have always been concerned about recogniton and approval – for work done, for achievements, and even for just who they are. Little wonder then that this need for status should continue in the virtual world as well. Whether it is someone boasting that he has 1477 Facebook friends (it is besides the fact that he has not met most of them – ever) or that she has n number of Twitter followers, we tend to seek validation of the fact that we are popular, liked and ‘followed’, that our blogs are creative, that we have the most interesting status updates, etc.
And there are companies smart enough to cash in on this. Twournal is a website that allows you to compile all your tweets into a book or journal which you can then sell: http://twournal.com/
Another company allows you to order a mug or keychain that has photos of all your Facebook friends: http://www.crowdedink.com/
And I am sure that such products that showcase one’s online persona will only increase in the near future.
With a blurring of lines between your real and virtual identity, don’t be surprised if you have more online friends – people you have never met but regularly talk to – than ‘physical’ friends you meet for a coffee! In such a situation, can concerns about your online social status be far behind?
We may even soon have a Bollywood movie, in which the father forbids his daughter to marry a young man, saying “Uski aukat kya hai – Facebook pe mere 755 dost hai, or woh- FB pe hai hi nahi! “
I came across this term in a recent McKinsey Quarterly article. As we all know, today, one can own media (by creating your own content); likewise earned media refers to getting publicity through stakeholders working for you- example sharing your content, rating your product or service positively, engaging with you on community sites etc. At the other end of the spectrum is hijacked media- which is when irate customers choose to spread the negative word. Then, in a sense, your messaging gets hijacked!
This is one of the biggest concerns that a lot of companies have when they are exploring a social media strategy. They want to know how to minimize this.
While policies and processes can be put in place, direct communication with customers does mean that we need to be able to take the good with the bad. It is better to handle negative feedback gracefully, and see if there is merit in the criticism and fix it, rather than try to suppress it. There are many examples of companies that have tried the latter approach and found it backfiring.
What is your view?
I recently read an article about how auctions are also tapping into social media. No, not in terms of using social media to find bidders, but for something I thought was very interesting – the prize that is being bid for is a Tweet. “This is a new twist on an old formula – well-known people agreeing to meet fans in return for cash contribution to charity. This time all the celebrities need to do is to tap out a 140-word message, or get someone to do it for them.” More than 150 celebrities have joined the auction – like Cher, the Jonas Brothers, Demi Moore. And since the most popular stars do not necessarily have the largest number of followers, it is a kind of twist on star power – do you follow the most popular start or the star with the most followers? Bids range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand; a retweet from Alicia Keys was for $113, and MC Hammer at $47.
The auction, started by an Atlanta church, has already raised $215,000. It will be interesting to see if this is just a flash in the pan, or the the beginning or a new trend…. But I love the way the new world of social media has intertwined with the old world of charity auctions, don’t you?
A recent argument that I had with a friend made me think a little. For sometime now I have been going around extolling the virtues of using Facebook and Twitter as as effective marketing tools. But when you get up from the chair in front of your lap top and then move away from the walls of your office, you realise that social media still has a long way to go, in India at least.
All examples of SMM success stories, all stats on popularity of Facebook, etc are still linked to ‘Western’ countries. Search for these in Google (as I did) and rarely will you see a result thrown up that features an Indian company that did wonders with social media.
I wonder why this is. Are we lacking in marketing maturity? Or perhaps social media marketing has limited application in the Indian market where most of the population is still illiterate, let alone not having access to an Internet connection! (On the other hand, everyone I know and their grandmother is today on Facebook!) Or perhaps Indian orgnanisations still have more trust in traditional marketing methods. Or is the problem a combination all these factors and then some more?
Would appreciate different viewpoints on this.