They’re Not Making More Of It

Time. They’re not making more of it. To expect people to waste it on substandard stuff is delusional. Videos only go viral if they hook you the very first time through; it’s no different in music.
~ Bob Lefsetz

Earlier this week, I received an email with this quote from Bob Lefsetz. In the space of 36 words, Bob had shared a number of reality checks that people should take him up on.

Now, Bob isn’t the first person to address the fact that everyone on this planet has days with 24 hours in it. While some may complain that they’ve worked 25-hour days with 8 days crammed into a 7-day week, the truth is that every day has 24 hours and every week has 7 days. Unless something has changed in some obscure country somewhere in the world, this is what it looks like all over the world.

New York Times best-selling American author, H. Jackson Brown Jr. sums the issue of time up this way:

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

So yes, when it comes to time, they’re not making more of it, and no one is getting less time in a day than the next person. As soon as the clock strikes midnight, the next day everywhere in the world has 24 hours in it that you can choose to use well and efficiently, or to waste.

And because we are all given 24-hour days, when you create something that is substandard and expect people to invest part of their 24-hour day in substandard creations, you’re not thinking straight. Oh sure, I’ve heard people say that if they get it wrong, it all right because they plan on doing it over again … only better. To which I say, quoting time management consultant and author, Jeffery J. Mayer:

If you haven’t got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?

If it doesn’t matter to you to do the best job possible the first time through, how can you say you get it right when you get around to it again? Surely a few hours extra invested at the beginning of any project, campaign or activity that results in excellent results is a far wiser decision that cutting corners at the start and hoping to invest countless hours at some later date improving the poor job that everyone will have seen by the time you get to fixing it.

The concept of going viral is a sales technique that relies on the any cross-section of technologies (especially social media networks) to deliver an increase in brand awareness and/or succeed with other identified marketing objectives. Ultimately, for this to work in a corporation or entrepreneur’s favor, specialists in viral marketing keep selling the same formula that involves having the right message in the hands of the right messengers who circulate in the right environment for the brand and/or objective.

The Right Message

Have you ever wondered what people mean by that? It means that whatever your objective, the way you transmit the information about that objective has to be memorable in ways that stick to the targeted audience like glue on flypaper. Whether it’s a cute promotion with a koala bear and a shapely young person smiling into the camera or an annoying infomercial featuring the goofy looking salesperson with the grating voice and the plastic features, it has to stick in people’s minds.

While we’d all like to grab for the “good association” brass ring of advertising, there are those who are far more successful in their viral marketing efforts thanks to campaigns that grate on people’s nerves. And there are those who prefer annoying campaigns because they can predict that the campaign will be co-opted by others, parodied and ridiculed, thereby pushing the original message along viral avenues that might not otherwise be interested in the campaign.

After watching that video, you have a pretty good idea what I’m talking about. Love it or hate it, if you mention this video to most people who are video gamers, cute rodent lovers, LMFAO die-hard fans, hip hop haters, Kia buyers, or small car snobs, they’ve all seen the commercial at least once and they all have an opinion on that commercial. It doesn’t matter if it’s a positive or negative opinion because what matters is that the focus of the campaign is at the center of attention ergo it’s a successful campaign.

How about PSY’s song, “Gangnam Style?” It’s been parodied to death because it’s the kind of song that lends itself so easily to being parodied in all sorts of markets.

It’s been used to comment on politicians such as this one about Barack Obama:

It’s been used to educate people on agriculture:

It’s been used to promote Earth Day 2013:

It’s taken on fictional characters:

It’s gotten to the point where the artist himself parodies his megahit with a California pistachio version:

Even though the original message intended by the recording artist and label may have been lost in parody translation, you can’t argue the fact that the message that got out there is that the song and the artist are their own unique tour de force. The message is that people need to watch what comes as a follow up to “Gangnam Style” because the recording artist is the next big thing.

The Right Messenger

As you saw from the videos, the messenger for this particular message is social media and social hubs … especially social hubs. And why? Because social hubs are Internet celebrities of some note with tens of thousands of followers who will forward messages to their online circle of influence directly from their social guru’s social media pages. It’s instant. It’s aggressive. It’s far reaching.

This isn’t the world of the 60s where demonstrations, sit-ins, love-ins and mainstream media brought messages to the crossroads of national (or even international) attention or footnote obsolescence that was sometimes months in the making from first mention to the public to the wind up of the campaign.

The Messenger these days happens to be the domain of technology-based information specialists, and the newest generation of consumers are hooked into that pipeline at the highest rate since the Internet first fired up.

The Right Environment

I’ve oftentimes used the analogy that no matter how fantastic a jazz pianist may be, if you throw him (or her) into the middle of the most amazing country bluegrass band, everyone is going to suffer, not just the pianist. The reason for this is that the environment.

In other words, not only are timing and context at the heart of a successful campaign, so is the environment and those within that environment who are essential components for selling the campaign to the general public. If the campaign falls short of its mark as it leaves the starting gate, every moment invested in fixing problems is lost opportunity in the lightning fast pace of Internet branding and awareness.

As Bob Lefsetz says: “Videos only go viral if they hook you the very first time through.”

Don’t waste your time along the way. Invest in the planning phases of anything you’re creating for technology consumption avenues. Get the biggest bang for your buck by hiring tech savvy people who have their fingers on the pulse of Millennial Generation (also known as Generation Y) and Generation Z (also known as Digital Natives) … the two generations that rely almost exclusively on the Internet, instant messaging, text messaging, peer-to-peer downloading, smart phones and more.

Time … we all have it and they’re not making more of it so isn’t it time you got down to business from the start and hit the ground running by doing things right the first time around?  When you do that, you’ll see that you stand a far better chance of hitting your mark.

Elyse Bruce


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