Find your voice and get your story straight
Word of mouth. Making jokes that people know other people will get.

Word of mouth. Making jokes that people know other people will get.

Comedy depends on you sharing a set of reference points with your audience and if those are very divergent then they just won’t simply get your jokes.

Helena Lewis Hasteley, Assistant Editor, New Statesman on the Radio 4 Today programme, Thursday 21st July 2011.

Paul Stokes from The Daily Mash sent me a link to the above Today programme conversation about whether satire can cross the Atlantic, mainly because the Mash gets a favourable mention.

But the above comment struck a chord with me in light of several conversations with clients recently.

Everyone has had a good, long quaff of the word-of-mouth, earned-media, social buzz Kool-Aid.

And everyone is still acting like their brand and their content has a divine right to “go viral”. It doesn’t.

However, your brand and your content has a much greater chance of being talked about, of earning that earned media, if the person doing the talking or the sharing is confident that the people doing the listening or the receiving will get what they’re on about.

The effort required to lovingly craft this geeky in-joke for instance is only worth it if the creator is confident that it will indeed be an “in” joke.

As it turns out there were indeed enough shared reference points for this image to do the rounds amongst the early adopter Google+ crowd.

And it’s why television and social channels work so well together. The broadcast exposure afforded to an idea by TV advertising pretty much guarantees that it will tick the “will people know what I’m talking about?” box in the eyes of anyone deciding whether to share your content or a picture of a cat.

A true viral effect is akin to the nuclear chain reaction that creates the awesome power of an atom bomb.

And your average atom bomb is triggered by a fair amount of TNT forcing the fissile materials together to generate critical mass.

TV advertising is your TNT.

Whether your idea has viral, fissile power of Plutonium is another matter entirely. (Most don’t have that power).

This one by Nike did.


And, as luck would have it, the Nike client nicks my TNT analogy.

The TV will get you that moment. That’s that dynamite. But what Facebook enables is you to translate that into connection.

Jesse Stollack, Global Digital Director Brand & Innovation, Nike


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