Why Things go Viral

17th June 2015

What catches the public imagination soon goes viral, so we hope that the NHS Blood and Transplant’s campaign to raise awareness of the need for more blood donors (a substantial need may we say) is successful. You’ll see that we’re supporting it, and we’d encourage all readers of this blog to do the same.


As a statement though, the idea that what catches the public imagination soon goes viral is not altogether challenging, but what’s interesting is our ready acceptance of the thought that a simple message can become known to millions of people around the world just because it appeals to us.


Without for a moment denigrating the extraordinary capability of international communications and the very fact that we can now communicate world wide in real time, it’s the other aspect of going viral that’s interesting. Why do we replicate what appeals to us? What leads us to want to share information?


The simple answer might be to say “Welcome to referral marketing” and move on, but there’s so much more to it than this. The truth is that there’s something about being able to share that helps to give us individual credibility. Someone accepting our advice, suggestion or post and commenting on it affirms us and helps us to place ourselves, albeit subliminally in our society.


This is only part of the story, because each time we post something on or make a recommendation we’re also creating the opportunity for a new relationship or the deepening of an existing one. If we can create a design or marketing strategy that will engage you to the extent that you will risk sharing it with your friends and colleagues (the risk being that whoever you share with doesn’t agree), then it has every chance of becoming well known, even of going viral…with all the benefits of exposure that brings with it.


So, well done to Engine for creating this “Missing Type” campaign. It’s original, clever and engaging. We might even have thought of something similar if we’d been asked!




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