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?

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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 & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.