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April 21, 2017

What a Baby Giraffe Teaches Us About Viral Campaigns

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Looking for your next big marketing campaign? Could your business use a brand exposure boost?

You may want to take a lesson from the Animal Adventure Park in New York.

April the Giraffe, after weeks of waiting, has finally given birth. Millions worldwide have been captivated on YouTube, watching April the Giraffe’s journey to giving birth (and yes, I’m guilty to admit I too am one of them!).

While following April’s progress from when the Adventure Park thought she was near her delivery date may have started to be a simple enough event, the world began to take notice and April’s pregnancy quickly went viral.

Interestingly, the live feed was installed to help the staff monitor her without needing to be in the barn 24-7. They thought it would be fun to make this feed available to the public at the same time.

Little did they know within days they would have millions of viewers watching April’s every move, anxious to not miss the big event.

In fact, if you read the comments on their Facebook page, you’ll see just how many were intently keeping tabs on the big girl and her mate Oliver in the pen next to her.

While being a daily follower (good thing I have three monitors so I could always easily check in to see what she’s up to), the huge success of this campaign has me thinking about the lessons we business owners can learn about strengthening our brand identity using this unique case study.

So here’s five ways you too can build your business exposure as we examine a few tactics from April’s playbook:

1. Live Video — Who can resist the thought of seeing a baby animal? Baby animals are a huge draw and April’s newly-born baby is no exception.

Having a live video allows people to feel they are a part of the experience. Aside from YouTube, Facebook LIVE, Instagram Stories and Snapchat all have a live feed ability. What can you share live that your followers would find of interest?

Remember people don’t want to be marketed to; they want to be a part of something and be entertained. And once they become part of the story, they get addicted.

Live video is great marketing and an excellent way of building your brand reach.

2. Sponsorship — Not only has the Animal Adventure Park gotten incredible visibility out of April the giraffe, but they also turned it into a revenue generating activity.

If you notice, Toys R Us is a sponsor for the park’s video feed. That’s an excellent fit considering their Geoffrey the Giraffe is the mascot of Toys R Us and kids love the zoo.

The Park set up a Go Fund Me Account and a page asking for other corporate sponsors who want to cash in on the exposure for their brand.

3. Social Media — Twice a day, updates were added to the Park’s Facebook page giving their fans insider information about April’s progress.

Fans got to see close-up pictures and read about the latest vet reports of this mama Giraffe to be. This has been a very effective hook to boost Facebook likes for their business page.

4. Custom Emoji — Emoji’s have become a very popular part of pop culture and the Adventure Park capitalized on this by offering an April the Giraffe emoji to their fans.

Why not make your own emoji to create buzz for your own marketing campaign? Make it easy for fans to spread the news for you. Plus, emojis are downright fun. Who can resist?

5. Live Chats — Every night the park staff enabled the live chat feature on YouTube and responded to as many fans as possible. It literally is a zoo during these chats! Thousands showed up to ask questions, make a donation to boost their question’s visibility, and be a part of the whole experience.

Facebook LIVE is a great tool to facilitate live chats. It provides an opportunity for you to showcase your expertise as well as your brand and offer a way for your followers to get to know, like and trust you more.

Launch Your Own Viral Campaign

Today’s media has changed the way consumers interact with brands. Your potential customers are exposed to thousands of marketing messages every day.

No one wants to be sold to, but everyone wants to buy.

Which companies do they choose to shop with? The ones who create community, engagement and an incredible brand experience just like how the Animal Adventure Park did.

So stick your neck out like April the Giraffe has and you’ll give birth to greater sales and visibility for your business.


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As the founder, Susan Friesen brings a unique advantage to eVision Media clients by having earned a Bachelor in Business Administration degree with a concentration in Computer Information Systems through the Thompson River's University. Her experience in the Web development industry since 1999 has gained her much insight and knowledge in how to effectively brand a business and then translate that to a user-friendly, search-engine friendly, custom designed website. She is a graduate of the Vancouver Film School multi-media program and also earned several certificates in technology through the University of Victoria and Athabasca University. She won the 2003-2004 Governor General's Bronze Academic Award for achieving the highest academic standing in a diploma-level post secondary program. http://evisionmedia.ca

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