Today there is a huge emphasis on building or maintaining a brand – corporate, product or personal. And the digital media seems to be one of the best platforms. Viral videos act like a mass of infectious flu and cold viruses, traveling from person to person quickly through social media. The more shares a video obtains during the first 2 days of launch, the higher the viral peak. Nothing compares to a video going viral which helps in viewership, getting the message across and thus branding.

However, the task is easier said than done. Getting a content piece go viral is akin to bagging  the Internet’s version of the lottery and mastering the secret to making a viral video, is like hitting the jackpot.  In a survey conducted by The New York Times it was revealed that more than 19% of viewers had left a video after just 10 seconds and within a minute, a large 44% had exited the video.

As a counterpoint, we see several videos going viral almost every day. So how does that happen? On a closer analysis we will find one of more of the following components in a viral video:

  • Has a Social Cause/Controversy:

We have the very recent case of the potholes in Mumbai raising a huge controversy. Almost every citizen and motorist identified with the video by RJ Malishka which not only made the video go viral but also made the authorities, in this case, the BMC, sit up, take notice and respond.

Sonu Song Pothole Mix With Malishka

Not only did the video go viral, it also attracted feedback or responses by means of other videos.

Mumbai | Shiv Sena Angry On RJ Malishka For Her New Song On Mumbai BMC

Delhi ya Mumbai sonu ki problem same hai | Sonu Song

This feedback got viewers who had not viewed the original video, to visit it which only added to the virality giving a cascading effect, caused by interaction and reaction. Perhaps a good lesson in PR.

  • Is Topical with news value and sensationalism

Another video that caused a stir and went viral was the accidental death of the ex-doordarshan female employee caused by a falling coconut tree. Besides being of a topical nature and news value, particularly on the heels of the pothole controversy and the BMC approach, this was also sensational.

Falling coconut tree kills female


  • Identifies, strikes an emotional chord and resonates with its target audience.

Videos that strike a high emotional chord which resonates and gets identification with its audience also have a good tendency of going viral.

Youth tied to a jeep in J&K takes internet by storm


  • Has Entertainment/Humor Value

Just like ads, videos that carry entertaining or humorous messages tend to get shared a lot. Very few can hold back their laughter on viewing the Aunt Maggi series.

Strange lingo & quirks of gen Y in ‘Maggy-Milly go MAD’

  • Breaks Social Stigmas/Norms

Messages that go against the norms and stigmas of society strike a good rapport and tend to identify with its audiences. Lesbianism, for instance. A brand that has the wherewithal to question such norms thus gets huge support and following. A case in point:

Anouka- A Wonderful Video Titled “THE VISIT”


  • Humanizes Brand Features in everyday life

Brands that can identify their features with human feats tend to get likes, shares and go viral.

Volvo Trucks – The Epic Split feat. Van Damme

So Real it’s Scary


Some Common Ingredients.

In every case of a video going viral we will notice some common features like short durations, high quality content and production values, a psychological response – how the content makes the viewer feel – and social motivation – why the viewer wants to share it.

Here’s wishing more video producers get lucky with the virus!

I have spent my career in branding/communications and now am reinventing myself on the digital platform, beginning with content writing. Social Media too has my interest, however changing technology deters me. Loved reading but that has now taken a back seat as I find myself spending a lot of time on the net. Usually laid-back, but when given a challenge can be extremely determined and focussed.