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What entrepreneurs can learn from ‘Kobe vs. Messi’ viral video

What entrepreneurs can learn from 'Kobe vs. Messi' viral videoOne of our main goals at Nichevertising is to educate bootstrapping entrepreneurs on the critical importance of achieving a viral referral loop in their customer acquisition process.  We define the viral referral loop as the ability to get your best customers to provide at least 3 referrals every month / quarter/ year (whatever fits your business), and then get at least 50% of those referrals to do the same.

The reason why we feel so strongly about the importance of educating entrepreneurs on achieving this goal is for three reasons:

  1. On the one hand, too many believe that the ability to get something to go viral is the equivalent of winning the lottery.  As a result, entrepreneurs take little to no deliberate action to try to achieve this goal.
  2. On the other hand, word-of-mouth is the perfect form of advertising to build a viral referral loop on top of, and word-of-mouth advertising is by far the most relied upon form of advertising by bootstrapping entrepreneurs.
  3. Putting the processes in the place to achieve a viral referral loop can change an average struggling business into a phenomenal thriving business.

This brings us to today’s post on the latest video to go viral on YouTube.  This video is titled Kobe vs Messi: Legends on Board – Turkish Airlines and recently surpassed 100 million views on YouTube.  As a matter of fact, it hit 20 million views within 5 days of the video being uploaded.  Check out the video below:

What entrepreneurs can learn from this video to help them go viral

In an earlier post, I suggested that there were three traits of a viral advertising campaign:  It must stimulate one of the activating emotions, it must not immediately come off as an advertisement, and the viral spark must be ignited through a niche market. Let’s go through each of these traits with respect to this video.

  1. Stimulation of an activating emotion
    This trait is based on the research of  Jonah Berger.  Activating emotions include amusement, awe, anger and anxiety.   Generally, stimulating these emotions have the effect of making an advertisement interesting or surprising enough that someone will want to tell someone else about it.  In this video, I would say that since Kobe and Messi are inherently interesting people, having them compete against each other in a silly competition is enough to create amusement.  Also, one may be in awe of the skills displayed as each athlete competes to one up the other.
  2. Not come off as an advertisement
    It is not until 53 seconds into the 61 second video that you find out it’s an advertisement for Turkish Airlines.  So even though everyone watching the video knows from the beginning it is probably an ad, not even once throughout the video do you get reminded of this fact.
  3. Viral spark ignited through a niche market
    This trait could be debated a bit since some would argue that basketball and soccer (football) are not niches because the markets are so large.  However, I would argue that a niche should not be defined by size of market, but instead by the shared needs and desires of a population that self-identifies with each other.  In my mind, pitting soccer (football) fans vs. basketball fans is a slick way to capitalize on the competitive emotions of two niches that both have an intense fan base.

So even though you don’t have the budget to hire a famous spokesperson to promote your products and services, you can still apply the three traits of viral advertising to many of your advertising campaigns.  Just start with identifying the emotion you want to activate in the niche you want to target, and end with a subtle sales pitch.

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