Viral Marketing: Engineering the Virus.

How did I sell a $1000 iPhone Case more expensive that the phone itself?

1. Creating a Potent Virus

For a virus to be potent and strong, the product has to have unique, powerful and have attention grabbing qualities. It is a fallacy to think that just any product can go viral, even the best marketers cant make a lousy product go viral. Products have to be engineered to go viral.

Uniqueness

Products have to be unique either in the form of aesthetics or functionality or in its conceptualiszation. Simple looking products with no form of unique functionality would be too hard to sell in the marketplace, customer acquisition costs will be too high and there exists too many look alike (many watch brands and products), major success for the product itself is unlikely. Unless, the brand has already have such a strong influence over its customer, has a unique concept behind its creation (value for money, cutting the people in the value chain to get a good price) or is able to leverage existing distribution networks.

How i did it:

I knew that creating a simple or minimalistic design for the iPhone case wouldn’t work, it was neither my style anyway too. There seems to be an obsession in creating minimalistic products among the design community, but what these designer do not understand is that those designs don’t make a huge impact as there are so many other products out there that are similar. Designer’s have to find their own unique style, for GRAY it was a blend between the bold edges of the future together with a touch of simplicity. I coined it: Futuristic Elegance, and that made an immediate impact in the market.

DSC_2050

Stickiness

Stickiness is created through labels and features you give to your products. You want the market to recognise you for something, was your product the “levitating speaker”, the “$1000 iPhone case”, or the “$10 Smartphone” , people need mental tags to associate with your product and brand to make a true impact on them and for them to talk about it.

How i did it:

Why $1000 and not $1200, or $900? Cause $1000 makes an impact in the public’s mind. An iPhone case more expensive than the phone itself? Sounds crazy, but it absolutely works because it is crazy. You want a product to succeed? You have to make an impact, there is no other way around it. Normal does not cut it.

2. Finding a Host.

Now this is interesting as for me as I didn’t create a product in its entirety but an accessory for the iPhone. The iPhone was my host and my product was the virus latching onto it and riding on its success and hype. My initial strategy was what if I could leverage the hype and attention of the iPhone launch, by creating something so insane; a case that would be more expensive than the phone itself and give it the look of the future. Would I be able to turn all eyes on me instead of the iPhone. That was my hypothesis, and I was fortunately right. Our YouTube products reviews totalled to over 10 million views collectively. 

There was another interesting an example of  Blendtec which launched the “Will it Blend?” campaign to show the prowess of its blender. In this video, it blended the iPhone 6 Plus, a video that went viral, in my opinion because the iPhone is an object that everyone is familiar and has a close connection to the public especially those who own one. Does it was able to evoke those emotions in people that encouraged them to share and spread.

3. Spreading the Virus.

The Medium

Finding the medium to spread the virus is essential too. As a new product company, the best medium will be the medium of least resistance that brings you the greatest ROI. In today’s digital and connected world, social media is a clear answer, but that answer is often vague. How we are able to accelerate growth in that medium is key, and we do that by finding pockets of influence around your space. Influencers, Blogs, Press, Pages, Marketplaces, a selected suite of social media apps which suits your target audience. Focus on that, and your online presence will grow.

How I did it:

For us there were 2 main sectors of influence, the luxury industry and the tech industry. Finding pockets of influencers around that space was essential to spreading the word of mouth, as such we reached out to a wide array of luxury Instagram influencers and pages to try to get the word out. Additionally we contacted influencers in the tech space on YouTube to do product reviews which ultimately went viral.

4. The Infected

Once you have ‘infected’ or acquired a customer, how do you nurture that customer to go on infecting the rest of the market? As a new company, you have to plan and decide on products strategically. Products have to be engineered to create conversation in the environment before they can spread. There are a few features of products that would aid in helping the ‘infected’ spread the ‘virus’.

Highly Visible

If a product is highly visible, something that you carry around everyday, it would spark conversation much more likely then something in your house or for personal consumption. This is important especially for new companies trying to plan their product strategy and portfolio, coming up with a highly visible product in the early life cycle is crucial in generating attention, word of mouth and your initial cashflow.

Interactivity

Interactivity between the product and user is a bonus achievenemt  that creates a deeper emotional connection between brand and user. Take for example, Yeezy’s sole which glows in the dark, open case backs of luxury watches, levitating speakers that you can spin around with or special features only the user of the products know. These special features most often than not will make the user try to impress others with the special things the product he owns can do, and there you got another word of mouth interaction going on.

High Quality and exceeds its stated promise

Needless to say.

Conclusion

Not all products can go viral. Any marketer who claims he can make any product go viral, know that he is lying. However what we can do to increase the chance of a product to go viral is to intentionally engineer it right from its conceptualisation to be that strong and potent virus that will hopefully “plague” the market!

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