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Secret tactics for making your video go viral

Secret tactics for making your video go viral Babs Rangaiah
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By now, almost everyone has heard of Dove's incredibly successful viral video, "Real Beauty Sketches." The popularity of this video is partly attributed to its amazing content, but according to Unilever VP of Global Media Innovation and Ventures Babs Rangaiah, there was some serious behind-the-scenes activity that took place to make this piece of content a viral sensation.


First and foremost, your online video must be good. No level of tactics or strategies will cause people to share a video if it is not good, compelling content. However, once you've created a high quality online video, there are steps you can take from Unilever's approach for achieving the highest level of popularity possible. Here's what they are.


Tapping into the power of PR promotion


PR can be an amazing way to spread the news about your online video. If your content is controversial, compelling, edgy, or emotional, a few good PR announcements can create some amazing, quality buzz. For Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches," the emotional and revealing nature of the video was intense enough for public relations firms to write about it in droves. Unilever also did its own PR push, ensuring that the video would gain the necessary heat needed to get people to watch it and start a fire of sharing.


Behind-the-scenes media buying


Whether you realized it or not, Unilever promoted this video and its message through strategic behind-the-scenes media buying and campaign execution. Obviously, the "Real Beauty Sketches" is itself a big Unilever ad campaign and a part of Dove's "campaign for real beauty." However, to achieve a high level of virality, Unilever needed to promote the video through outlets other than YouTube, word-of-mouth, and individual sharing. If you can keep the creative non-promotional, media buying is a great way to advertise your video's existence and promote views. Remember that views lead to shares, and shares lead to virality.


Translation production for different countries


Unilever knows that we live in a global world, especially online. While most brands don't put too much effort into diversifying their online video content for different countries, Unilever made a huge effort to make sure that Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" was translated in multiple languages so that many countries could be seamlessly exposed to the content. This simple, yet brilliant touch was a way for Unilever to drive huge global views.


Babs Rangaiah speaks to iMedia about the three biggest ways Unilever was able to drive huge shares for Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches," and take it from the dozens of millions to the hundreds of millions of views.


Building brand love through long-term online video campaigns with no direct short-term metrics


Brands and marketers have an obsession with short-term metrics that they can prove right away. Most campaigns and actions made by the industry are intended to ignite an action from the consumer such as a click, subscription, or purchase. Short-term metrics are incredibly important to keeping your brand relevant and keeping sales consistent.


While campaigns with immediate goals obviously have their place, Unilever has taken a two-pronged approach to its marketing strategy. Unilever creates campaigns that are intended to spread brand love, which may not have any immediate (or existent) tangible return on investment. Case in point is the Dove "Real Beauty Sketches" video campaign. This video was not created to be a call-to-action for any event or cause. There is nothing Unilever is selling with this piece of content. It exists simply as a way for Unilever to spread brand love and loyalty, as well as to promote a meaningful message to its audience. This global brand has many other campaigns such as "Project Sunlight," a Unilever campaign intended to end child hunger. Ultimately, Unilever has a double bottom line. On one hand, it has short-term campaigns intended to double its business, and on the other hand, it invests in long-term campaigns to actually make the world a better place. This strategy allows the company to operate like a corporation, while promoting brand love and corporate responsibility.


Babs Rangaiah ends our conversation by explaining the philosophy at Unilever and why long-term projects to promote brand love are equally important as short-term marketing initiatives.



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"I like it four times" via Shutterstock.

Babs Rangaiah is the VP of global media innovation and ventures for Unilever and is based in the company's U.S. office in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. In this capacity, he is responsible for leading Unilever's global digital vision and strategy, and works...

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