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Marketing and Branding Blog | SilkCards

For Better or Worse: What to Do When Your Brand Goes Viral

[fa icon="calendar"] Jun 14, 2017 3:02:00 PM / by Brielle Yang

Brielle Yang

are you prepared to go viral?

Creating brilliant and innovative content is not an easy task, but one day your consistency has finally paid off. Your post, project, or brand has gone viral, and it feels like validation for your efforts. Now what?

There is much to consider when going viral such as the increase in demand straining your supplies. Your inventory may need an overhaul, and you might be considering hiring more employees to take the pressure off. You cannot prepare for viral success, but you can make it work for you.

What Does “Going Viral” Mean for Brands?

"Going viral" is the term coined for overnight massive success on the internet. When a video, image, advertisement, or other content circulates rapidly from one user to another, it has gone viral. For example, remember when Hillary Clinton did the "Whip and the Nae Nae" on Ellen? The “Whip and the Nae Nae” was the hit for 2016  and to date has reached over 1 billion views. Another example is the out-of-the-blue success of Fidget Spinners, the newest toy that children all over America are going crazy for.

Related: 3 Brands That Are Crushing It in the Apparel Industry and Why

What to Do When Your Brand Goes Viral

A viral marketing scenario can change a business, and you may have to rethink your structure to handle rapid growth. Having to scale up your business due to increase in demand can be difficult, but it is a good struggle to have.

You may also need to change your mindset about your business, especially if your operation was previously small. Here are some immediate steps you should take:

  • Be critical - identify and improve core areas of your business that could be more efficient
  • Hire more people in roles that are time-consuming such as sales and operations roles
  • Find an investor who believes in your overall vision and not just the hype
  • Come up with strategies that take your viral success and make you a household name

Going Viral Is Not Always a Good Thing

In the age of the internet, there's been a lot of negative press that goes viral as well. Just think of Pepsi's tone-deaf ad with Kendall Jenner or the United Airlines debacle.

Going viral may not always be a good thing.

Brands that go viral for poor reasons such as a customer service faux pas or public misstatement may see their business take some hits. It's almost like one disastrous mistake overshadows the greatness you have to offer the world. But you can make the best of it by being extremely thoughtful about your response.

Related: 7 Strategies for Protecting Your Brand Online and Offline

What Happens If the Wrong Messaging Goes Viral? (Or for the Wrong Reasons)

If you go viral in a negative way, everything hinges on how you react to the situation. You can recover or you can add more flame to the fire. An inadequate response could plummet your customer base. It is even harder to recover from an insincere or combative response.

Critical remarks about your business is a problem, but there are ways to do damage control. Here are some ways to recover:

  • A real apology must be issued as soon as humanly possible. You may have to do this repeatedly for a short time in order to stay on top of new claims against your company.
  • Make an effort to publicly correct the issue. This may include extra training. If it was a single individual who caused the problem for your brand, you may consider holding them accountable by asking for their resignation.
  • Have a respected person in your industry publicly vouch for you. This can send the message that while the situation is unfortunate, it does not reflect the true character of the company
The worst thing a brand can do is deny any wrongdoing and add insult to injury. It's best to be open and honest about making the mistake and sincere in your official statements.

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Topics: branding, marketing

Brielle Yang

Written by Brielle Yang

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