What you really want to be is a brand that’s loved

By now you’ve seen, read about and possibly shared with others the viral hit of the week: Coca Cola’s Happiness Machine. In fact, you’ve probably already got requests from clients asking for something like that for their brand, too.

And who wouldn’t want one? The video got over a million views on YouTube in fewer than 10 days. Far more when you consider it’s been embedded in hundreds if not thousands of blogs. Jump all the way to page 48 of Google’s search results when you plug in “Coca Cola Happiness Machine” and it’s still there: stories, articles, video. In fact when this was written Google delivered nearly 1.5 million search results for the aforementioned phrase.

Of course doing something this visible with little or no money behind it is easier said than done. For starters you need great content. The Coke video comes close, but it’s not as if it’s an original idea. It simply takes Burger King’s Freak out from a couple of years ago and turns it inside out.

It helps that the story line is amusing and upbeat. After all in an economy like this one a message of hope (and free stuff) will always trump despair. But the real trick to success? Become a brand that’s loved. You could make a similar video or deliver the same story line for a less admired brand and you would not see the numbers generated by Happiness Machine.

If you need any more convincing, look at the buzz around Apple’s tablet, or whatever it’s called, which we’ll know in less than 24 hours. Thousands of fans have blogged about it, imagined what it will be, worked themselves into a frenzy in anticipation.

Or consider Zappos (a client of ours). People write love stories about the brand, share them, pass them around.

I like Coke’s video. But I worry that too many brands will once again attempt to replicate the tactic instead of changing their behavior, making a great product, giving more than they take. The one lesson every marketer should take away from Coca Cola isn’t that they figured out how to make a viral video. It’s this: look at everything you do and ask whether it will make your community of users and prospects believe you care enough about them for them to care about you. That’s what Coke has really done.

What are you doing to make sure that your brand’s loved?

19 comments
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In Young
In Young

I really loved coke video. It has a real messege what coca cola can do to us. And the video makes people and audience happy. It makes us to think unexpected pleasure we can get coke. Moreover, I think it works better than commercial with celebrity. This is because it looks more realistic, which can happen to us, real people.

And I completely agree with Edward,"
look at everything you do and ask whether it will make your community of users and prospects believe you care enough about them for them to care about you."

I guess this is the key point in Marketing, to make customers love their business.

Ted
Ted

Make a product or an experience worth talking about and it makes producing everything else(including viral videos) much, much easier. Great article.

David Saxe
David Saxe

Oh man this is good stuff that I'm so glad you posted. After seeing the video, I thought it was good but left me a bit underwhelmed. We've seen this before.
Then I saw the amount of views.
I'm not going to contribute much other than to say that I whole-heartedly agree with you, Edward (and Ben, I'm not sure I can agree with your luck argument). It's not luck to be a cult brand with a well-defined personality. I would never share this video. I'm not a Coke fan (or Pepsi for that matter). But I shared this one everywhere I could. http://bit.ly/99FqZv
I'm not a Bud Light fan either. But the content was hilarious.
Point being, Coke didn't develop great content. They developed decent content that went to millions of devoted fans the second it was published. They shared it, not because the content was unique, hilarious or unexpected - but because it was Coke. Local Brand A does the same thing and is sitting on YouTube right now with 7 hits - all from employees.
.-= David Saxe´s last blog ..Why At-home 3D is a Long Way Off – If It Hits At All =-.

Bruce DeBoer
Bruce DeBoer

I think a bigger part of the point is that coke was leveraging their love and rewarding advocates. The love must be built before it's leveraged as Coke did here, true? So is there really a choice if you're not a loved brand?

In this case it's a celebration of the love people have for Coke. It elevates the brand because it can provoke the response shown in the video.

The content itself is a very distant second. In my opinion this will ultimately be more successful than the Pepsi Refresh campaign because it makes us feel something about the brand that builds desire to have a Coke in your hand.

Once Pepsi rewards it's refresh winner, the source of funding is forgotten and gives no one a thirst for the beverage.

Just my humble opinion.
.-= Bruce DeBoer´s last blog ..In a Quest for Originality, Don’t Forget How to Be Good. =-.

edward boches
edward boches

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You totally get it. So we have two choices. Be a brand that's loved and get accolades for almost anything. Or create amazing content and hope for the best. Better yet do both.

Bruce DeBoer
Bruce DeBoer

Additionally, once these videos are spread they add fuel to the fire by rewarding those who love their brand. The videos celebrate the brand devote in such a way the it further builds momentum for brand love; The message is the love.
.-= Bruce DeBoer´s last blog ..In a Quest for Originality, Don’t Forget How to Be Good. =-.

Matt Gentile
Matt Gentile

Message and positioning bring the customer to the door,but service and value open the door and keep the consumer coming back. At the end of the day the product/service must deliver on its value proposition. In Coke's case, it tastes good everytime.

MG

edward boches
edward boches

Matt,
All true. Though what we're talking about here is how that service, value and consistency can then be reflected in overt affection. The point being that no brand will get this kind of attention for its messages if it doesn't have the loyalty of fans and customers.

Danny Jackson
Danny Jackson

Brand love definitely does start with a good product. Rarely am I going to change from one brand to another because of a brands message or positioning.

Interesting thing to me in all of this is to see the dramatic differences in strategy between Coke and Pepsi. While I've never sworn allegiance to either brand, what Pepsi is doing with their Refresh Everything campaign has really grabbed my attention. I find myself more aware of the Pepsi brand and even starting to develop a sense of loyalty. I'm still a young guy, couple years out of college, so maybe I'm just a product of my generation...A generation that wants to be involved and make a difference. By supporting Pepsi I feel like engaging in a good cause. I feel a bit pathetic in admitting that what Pepsi is doing is working on me, but it is.

So taking myself as a good case study my conclusion is that yes, a good product will always win out, but messaging and positioning will make a difference when it comes to those consumers who are sitting on the fence.

Jeff Shattuck
Jeff Shattuck

"many brands will once again attempt to replicate the tactic instead of changing their behavior"

Truer words have rarely been written.

What I like about the Coke thingy is that it is consistent with Coke's brand (have a Coke and smile, etc.

The BK thingy is just beyond stupid. Let me get this straight: your signs say you have Whoppers, you've sold Whoppers for decades and suddenly you stop selling Whoppers and people are confused? Why is this an idea? Totally brain dead, not even "punked"-worthy.

Jeff
.-= Jeff Shattuck´s last blog ..Getting passed: More thoughts on running. =-.

Gina Davison
Gina Davison

Yes, it doesn't hurt to have a nice story line. I smile every time I watch that video, and I don't even like Coke.

In case you haven't seen it, here's a Fast Company article about David Butler of Coke: http://bit.ly/2WpRYS

What I find interesting about Apple's iPad is that suddenly, there seems to be more teasing Apple for jumping into a new (invented?) category than I've noticed previously during an Apple product launch. Via social media, I've perceived a shift in the reception of the brand, from serious loyalty, to "Ugh, Apple is making a big deal again." Big picture? People love Apple and are going to jump onboard for anything Apple develops. Still, I wonder if the love for Apple is changing, and what research would show about it.

Seth Simonds
Seth Simonds

What college kid actually eats a giant unwrapped sandwich that came from an old soda machine?

This video looks to be the result of well-organized seeding (which can get expensive) and a huge brand that has a track record of building vague warm fuzzies. (Polar bears, basketball players throwing white powder in the air, etc)

Next we'll see Coke pushing "banned" ads on youtube. =)
.-= Seth Simonds´s last blog ..5 Popular Ways To Murder A Blog =-.

Mrs. Mac
Mrs. Mac

Did you go to College, Seth?! We ate nothing but Ramen Noodles. It's brilliant marketing and branding.

edward boches
edward boches

The story appears to be that it was, obviously intentional. But that hidden cameras unknown to the willing participants captured genuine reactions. Whether true or not, my argument is simple. The only reason this went viral is because it's Coke. Fuzzy or not, the brand has lots of fans.

Ben Kunz
Ben Kunz

The real story is viral success is random. No marketing group can predict or control what works (or we'd all be making a lot more money). I think the lesson for brands is to seed as many experiments as possible, exposing themselves to randomness, and like a virus that mutates until a new strain becomes the unsuspected perfect version to spread through society, the meme will rock on.

So -- experiment. But let's not congratulate Coke for making it big with this video. Coke was lucky.
.-= Ben Kunz´s last blog ..The hive mind of Apple desire =-.

edward boches
edward boches

That's all well and good. My point is that it's not even good enough to go viral based on pure creative idea. It was helped along because it's Coke. Notice how many fans they have on their fan-created fan page.

Jules Pieriq
Jules Pieriq

Edward, Thanks for noticing and sharing my Zappos story. Some really cool things have happened in my world, in part due to telling that story. It has some kind of wonderful kismet to it. Or Zappos does, and me--by my tiny association.

Davina K. Brewer
Davina K. Brewer

I loved that Coke video, but then I like Coke. And while I am not as rabid as some other fans, I prefer Apple's products to the competition. Getting the brand love starts with having good products, developing the communities around them.

If the product is junk and overpriced, if the service and support are terrible, your brand probably won't feel the love. FWIW.
.-= Davina K. Brewer´s last blog ..Blog or Rant: What’s the Difference, Damnit?! =-.

edward boches
edward boches

It's amazing to me how many brands focus on messages, positioning, distribution and not enough on amazing products, remarkable content and service. Not sure you can buy your way into a consumer's heart anymore. Have to earn it across every encounter.