Why is virality the only metric for success on social media?

Popularity has always been sought by people and companies. People want to be loved, it is one of the most common threads that runs through humanity. From the day we are born, we seek comfort from a mother or a sibling. As we grow older, we hear talk of self love and why it leads to greater happiness and a sense of peace. That growth spurt we experience is lost in translation in many companies’ marketing efforts. Great and honest storytelling, I argue, will be the only key for success as social media matures in our world. Most agencies put “brand building” into their marketing speil but results of their marketing efforts in the digital sphere clearly come off as intrusive and irrelevant. Think about how many times a day you are hit with marketing ads. The saying goes that a consumer needs to be hit 7 times with an ad for it to be effective. My question is, who set the bar so low? Why can’t a consumer be given a solution to their need once for it to be impactful? Which brings me to YouTube. In one of the largest and growing spheres of e and brick and mortar commerce, electronics, Youtubers have made a name for themselves and built exciting careers by reviewing technology.

Why does this help the consumer?

The question bears the answer. Reviews help the consumer in making a decision, as opposed to targetting them like prey from a predator. So I pose another question. Why can’t brands help the consumer in making a decision about their own product? It would require impartiality and most brands want to tout their invention as the latest and greatest since the bicycle wheel. But that in itself is the point where things start to go wrong. All the greatest Ad masters, have embraced storytelling. But honesty has given way to a basic intention of malice in the ad world as far as my understanding goes. Ad people talk about “converting” a customer and “targeted” ads. The very language, which ad people manipulate to convert consumers and target them, is about attack. The premise surely cannot be that consumers don’t want to buy your product as a starting point, or can it? Is it the harsh truth for companies that the consumer is least interested in what you are doing? Yes. We don’t care about the conglomerates on a daily basis (most of us). But our minds do change if they come up with something interesting. And that brings me to my next question.

Why are companies boring?

There is a quote I read recently on Instagram that went something like “if you are making money, you are creating value for society. So don’t be ashamed of amassing wealth.” Companies succeed by creating value in society and people create companies. Archaic agency thinking has led to this attack and retreat war with the consumer, when even indirectly, the agency depends on the consumer to get an income. Once this is clearly understood, we can move on to the subject of what makes a product sell well. Let’s take musicians as an example. All musicians sell stories. It may seem like a shocking statement, but isn’t it true? Comment below and let me know. Let’s continue. All musicians sell stories in the 3 to 9 minutes they spend with us. I say this as a blanket statement for any kind of music, and having been a classical musician myself, I say it knowingly. So I beg the question, what makes a musician successful? Obvious to a few, continuing on our second premise, it is when they tell a story well. What makes a YouTube reviewer successful? Again, the ability to storytell a product with its negatives and positives. Take MKBHD the Youtuber or billionaire rapper JAY -Z. They remain honest and focus on delivering news to us in the form of stories. From video titles to song lyrics, it is apparent that it is so. So why have agencies resorted to attack and retreat theories when they should be helping the brand specialise in story telling? Even Dunder Mifflin had a fantastic story to tell and they were a paper company! Why can’t all companies tell honest stories about their company? However boring it seems to an ad agency, it might actually help the consumer make a decision!




Evolving writer. Marketing Enthusiast. Entrepreneur. Views are my own.

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Thejas Anand

Thejas Anand

Evolving writer. Marketing Enthusiast. Entrepreneur. Views are my own.

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