What we learned from our kid’s playlist

Have you heard of the band OK Go? We hadn’t until a few years ago when one of our kids showed us the now famous Rube Goldberg Machine video. We were hooked.

OK Go may be the only band around that’s better known for its viral music videos than its actual music. The band’s creative videos have been viewed more than a hundred million times, because they know how to entertain, engage and inspire. Here’s what we’ve learned from OK Go’s viral marketing success.

Do something nobody else is doing

OK Go’s videos are like nothing we’ve seen before, because they’re like nothing that’s been done before. They don’t meet anyone’s expectations of what a typical music video should look like … but in a good way.

Almost every video OK Go has made has gone viral. And millions of people eagerly anticipate each new release. Our takeaway from this: OK Go has found its “thing.”

What’s your “thing”? What are you doing that nobody else in your industry is doing? Maybe you give the most entertaining speeches or are a thought leader who is always sought after for commentary on a particular topic. Find your “thing,” perfect it and own it.

What’s your “thing”? What are you doing that nobody else in your industry is doing?

Put in real effort

We’re all pressed for time. The business world doesn’t stop so we can focus on blog posts, social media or video marketing. That’s why it’s so tempting to skip the original content and share content from other sources with retweets or links to other companies’ blog posts.

Here’s the thing: truly memorable, shareable content is original. It takes real time and effort … and sometimes money. Keep sharing content from others, and hang on to your lower-effort marketing initiatives. But try to balance these things with a couple of bigger, more creative projects each year that will get you noticed.

Truly memorable, shareable content is original.

Find a creative partner

This isn’t really about OK Go. It’s about the car company that was smart enough to partner with them.

In their video for Needing/Getting, OK Go gets a moving Chevy Sonic to play its song for them. The car is transformed into a giant instrument and plays more instruments while the band drives. As a lower-budget band, OK Go couldn’t have afforded to make this video on its own. Likewise, Chevy wouldn’t have come up with this concept without OK Go’s creative vision and talent.

Both the band and the brand got great exposure from their partnership (almost 32 million views as of writing and a prominent Super Bowl spot). The lesson here is that if you can’t identify your “thing” or put together a big-push campaign on your own, find a creative partner who can help.

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