Following the success of the last entry, Tom Hornbrook, Intern at Twelve PR, talks about viral marketing in his latest guest blog entry…

People all over the world are talking. Together, their collective voices are deafening. But what are they all saying? Twitter tells me that at this particular moment they are talking about Inception, the latest Hollywood blockbuster, Gamescom, a video games fair in Cologne and sonic booms, after some fighter jets soared over Seattle.

Why are they talking about these things? Because they can talk about anything they like. ‘Trending Topics’ shows what is getting the most mentions on Twitter at any particular time. If you ever wanted a barometer for the world’s natterings, then this is it.

Power is in the hands of the blogging masses, and brands want to know how to harness it. Viral marketing is one answer; the use of social networks to increase brand awareness. The idea is simple; you put out a video, image, game or message onto the internet and pass it on to your friends. They then pass it onto all of their friends and then they pass it onto all of their friends. Before you know it, it’s been around the world ten times.

This is one way that some brands are now spreading awareness in the digital age. It is the 21st Century way to reach a modern audience as online word-of-mouth marketing has reached a global level. If you have a message that is worth talking about, it can spread around the world in a matter of hours.

But how do you get people talking about your brand? Companies are getting creative with their online messaging, and if you can get your audience to take the bait, then it could spread faster than wildfire. Small time business Blendtec, who sell smoothie makers, became a global hit with their digital TV channel ‘Will it Blend?’, in which household items ranging from golf balls to iPhones are tested for their blending capabilities. Viewers watch in awe as every day possessions are disintegrated to pulp by the Blendtec product. It was a viral sensation and product sales boomed as a result.

Drinks retailer, Threshers created an online storm when they sent vouchers out to a select few suppliers offering 40% off in store over Christmas. But the vouchers spread virally to millions, and there was a media frenzy as rumours spread that the off-licence chain would go bust because of the mass uptake. It turned out to be an ingenious online marketing success that sent consumers rushing to take advantage of the offer – which was only a slight improvement on their existing promotions. It was the cheapest and easiest campaign the chain had ever done.

If blenders and off-licences were low down on your list of brands that can excite the minds of the digital swarm, then think again, because they are waiting hungrily for something to talk about. It just goes to show that, with the right creative spark, you might have the idea behind their next explosion.