long game marketing

The latest pop star has released the latest would-be viral video, featuring her next viral dance move, on social media. The shares and imitations have already begun: people mimicking the catchy, simple dance in the car, with their pets, on the beach, everywhere.

Soon, businesses will begin to follow suit.

Brands issue their own versions of the dance, usually in group form. Because one business, a PR agency, has done a particularly creative version of the dance, they were pleasantly surprised to find hundreds of new fans and followers of their pages. How great is this? They issue new challenges to their new followers to attempt to keep those followers interested.

But soon, these new eager followers lost interest. After the viral video challenge frenzy dies down in anticipation of the next big thing, the content on the PR agency’s page returns to business as usual. Press releases. Industry news. CEO profiles. Tips and hacks.

Nothing truly entertaining

The agency has committed a common error when it comes to getting in on a trend: no follow through.

Keep Sight of End Results

Sure, it’s easy to capitalize on a trendy hashtag, event, or social movements. What better way to gain a few new followers than with a fresh spin on whatever is happening? There are definite positives to taking advantage of this. But how do brands avoid the pitfalls that come with catering to every trend? How do they keep sight of the long game and the end result?

The important thing here is to remember that every action has an outcome. As such, every action that a brand makes, every decision that it puts out into the world, must have a purpose. What is the desired outcome of this action?

In the case of a viral video, generally, the desired outcome is to gain visibility and brand awareness. Mission accomplished! Now what?

Think Big Picture

What is the brand’s bigger picture, and what purpose do the actions taken serve when it comes to achieving that bigger picture?

A more thought-out strategy for attacking the viral campaign would have been to create content to post again, further down the road. This could be different, behind the scenes version of the original video, or perhaps an article about the people who orchestrated it. It could be a case study on how many followers were gained from the post.

Any of these pieces of follow-up content could have served as a break in the “business as usual” content, a way to reconnect with all of those followers that were gained.

Think Ahead

What many brands run into is that in the rush to be relevant and to pump out content while the getting is good, there is no further-reaching thought. No one sits down to discuss if we jump into this trend pool, what do we do next month or the month after that? How do we keep this momentum going?”

It’s true that keeping up with trends requires quick, precise action. But this does not excuse a lack of planning and execution that should be standard for any business. Having the bigger picture, the end game, in mind even when the situation warrants quicker action, will beat out a viral dance challenge for loyalty any day.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.