Viral : gimmick vs method

If you look at viral as a gimmick, it will always be out of reach… but if you look at it with a method… it’s the best way to market your brand.. :)

Everyone loves a viral, the uptick in engagement, talk of the town, 15 sec of fame… but loving the outcome and not the process is a dangerous path in my experience.

It’s not about viral, it’s not about the outcome; it’s about the process. The goal is driving engagement regularly, so we are part of our audience’s life as often as we can because branding today is about relevance.

How many conversations can we start? How many are we a part of? It’s not about recall, where we keep yelling at the user.

With the goal of engagement, the way we look at content becomes crucial—the only thing that matters is “share-worthiness” in my experience. If the content is not worth sharing, it just dies down, or you need to spend a lot of money to bring it in front of people.

Viral is just an outcome; like laughter on a joke is an outcome, But what’s the process? Are we obsessed about if people will laugh or do we work on our setup and punch line?

It’s the process of creating shareworthy content, the creative culture to enjoy the game and not be under pressure to hit a six on every ball… so we can focus to create ten pieces hoping two will work.

I feel everything a brand creates, any marketing communication must be shareworthy, period.

Learning from the trenches over 10 years has taught me to focus on only one thing which matters in all of marketing mumbo jumbo :)
Thanks for the poke Sandeep Balaji on Arindam Paul ‘s post.. suno fir ;)

Ads vs. Content – Capturing Roller Coaster Experiences at Imagica Behind-the-scenes 

Ads focus on the brand, the USP—how cool we are, look at our shiny logo or products. Content that is share-worthy starts from the audience, is made for them, and the brand goes along for the ride when it goes big. The content shouldn’t be about the brand or category but about the people, the audience who would use it.

Not about roller coasters, but about the people who take them.

To get a sense of the place and the rides, I took a cab from Pune all the way to Imagicaa, an incredible theme park near Mumbai. Spent hours going through it all, and then came back, jammed with the team, and settled for a simple one shot taken with a GoPro tied to the roller coaster, compared to fancy drone shots or showcasing how cool the place is.

That simplicity of idea and execution made all the difference. The roller coaster was an amazing metaphor for life. The team worked and deep-dived on the list of pointers many times until the flow seemed natural; then it was ready.

It’s not about how fancy the production is, it’s about storytelling—about how simply we can connect A to B and make it for and about the audience, and that starts by exhaustive deep dive, looking at the audience from multiple vantage points, creating for them :)

Proud of how the team executed, shot, and stitched it together with multiple rounds of reviews.

Now, imagine this format for your brand or your audience, what real life experiences can be metaphors for your audience’s pain points or user journeys.. fill in the blank, and you may have content that is truly for your audience

You’re struggling to create high-quality video content. What tools can help you succeed?

I see a lot of questions about the steps to create high-quality video content, the tools for scripting, hacking away at faster video production, using AI, or tricks to promote it. Here’s what I think is the most important:

Before diving into all the steps—from scripting to tools, to promotion—you need to really figure out what the goal of this whole exercise is. Because the goal for videos is not just for people to watch. It’s not about reaching them, being in front of them, or capturing their eyeballs. The goal of the video is for people to share it—to genuinely drive engagement, to compel them to comment, to start or be part of conversations. If that’s not the goal for your video content, then you’re just creating stuff like everybody else, yelling at the user. We need to move beyond eyeballs and focus on ideas that will matter to them. Because when the idea matters to them, they make it their own. They share on WhatsApp, download your videos illegally, and do all sorts of things because they’re compelled to take action and be part of it because they love it—it’s about them.

For that, you need to dive deep, research, and connect a lot of dots to come up with that creative idea. Because if you don’t have the dots, there’s no creativity.

To do this, create a list of all the pain points and the micro-moments—all the little things your audience cares about. Collect as much research as you can so you can connect the dots and create something that will matter to them. Because the direction of your efforts—in applying steps, tips, hacks, and tricks, from scripting to promotion—should be about driving engagement, about creating something worth sharing. If the direction is anything else, you’ll end up creating something that just adds to the noise, blending into the crowd.

To make your video stand out and have high-quality engagement as the goal, all the hacks in the world will align because they help facilitate and speed up reaching that goal. In the book, the process of IUCTC helps you dig deep and create a lot of those dots you can connect to come up with ideas that are worthy of sharing. These five categories (Inspirational-Useful-Celebrate-Topical-Change the world), rooted in experience and validation over ten years, are not just random thoughts or brain farts but pointers to create ideas that stick.

The million-dollar question is: what to create. Once you know what to create, scripting, tools, AI—all these things on how to create videos become effortless. It’s the “what to create” that’s the most crucial part, and everything else aligns seamlessly.

And that ‘what’ must be share-worthy—period.

Why Purpose-Driven Marketing Matters? And Nothing Else.

Traditionally, marketing has been about grabbing attention and yelling your message in the audience’s faces. The entire advertising game over the decades has been built on recall-recall-recall, from radio jingles to TV ads over the decades. Fast forward to today, and no one gives a sh*t about your ads or your brands. Trust and loyalty must be earned. This is why many startups in the D2C space are competing with big brands, gaining more market share by being more authentic and closer to audiences.

Here are three truths from my experiences, if you want your brand to matter…

1. Define Your Brand DNA:

The fundamental ‘why’ you exist is way bigger than ‘what’ you do. What’s the big reason behind why you do what you do? If it’s just about making money, well, everyone is thinking the same, and audiences don’t give a damn about you trying to lure them. The ‘why’ must originate from how you intend to help and create an impact. And when you define your brand DNA, don’t put it on your wall or slide-decks.. live it.. across functions.. authentically.

2. Branding is Not About Recall:

Gone are the days of bombarding your audience’s eyeballs to drive recall. Everyone and their cousin have moved away from traditional media, so why are your concepts about brands lingering in the past? Branding today is about relevance, not recall. If everyone is spending way more time on their devices, that’s where the party is, and that’s where you need to matter, be relevant, and be part of conversations. The more conversations your content can start to be part of, the more you stay in their lives. It’s not about acquiring customers but building a relationship with them. So next time you review any marketing material going out.. ask.. what conversation will it start or be part of?

3. Don’t Create for the Brand:

Nobody gives a damn about your brand or how shiny your logo is. It’s only you who’s obsessed with it. The goal must be to create share-worthy content (in any form) for the audience. All your marketing must be about your audience and not about you. Not about your USP, not about five product features, not about clients and testimonials (all that works when someone comes looking for you, then it adds credibility). Anything you create in marketing, must be share-worthy, engagement-worthy, in their interest first. Experiment with the IUCTC framework (in the book), which is all about deep diving and getting to know your audience. Create to solve or celebrate the tiniest pain points of your audience, and your brand becomes the conduit through which the content flows, and you turn your audience into brand evangelists who take your content (brand along) to crazy distances.

Stop peddling your products and services in the name of marketing; Stop targeting the eye-balls and start connecting with their hearts, that’s where true engagement and love is.