3 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From You Tube Sensation, ‘Psy’

The golden moment of the internet is when you can produce something that goes viral. But what causes a video to go viral, and can we duplicate this to elevate our own products and services into the viral stratosphere?

The phenomenon of Psy and Gangnam Style Dancing is one the biggest ideas to go viral in recent memory as his video has a jaw-dropping 200 million views in only eight short weeks.  The amazing part is that it comes from an unlikely place… a Korean guy that looks as cheesy as he dresses. I think its great!

So what can this strange phenomenon teach about business, and marketing our business to the world? Well, for one,  if people can go viral, then why can’t our businesses do the same? I think it also has a lot to do with not just creating a good, compelling story, but also one that is unique, unusual and fun.

Creating Viral-ism

Gangnam is an area in Korea where the more affluent people live and its translation means “South of the River”. As Psy describes this place, “it’s business by day and party by night”. He took what this area represents and turned it upside down and made something truly entertaining from it… Gangnam style dancing, which is a funny play on horse riding.

Here’s my thoughts on how we can learning from a guy that is making history with a creative and fun video that has taken the world by storm, and how we can apply it to our businesses in an engaging way.

If you can incorporate these 3 ideas into your busines, who knows, maybe even YOU can produce a viral-“esk” marketing strategy for your business. After all, we are in the attention getting business- and here are 3 such ways to being heard and getting seen:

1. Quirky and Unsual

I don’t know about you, but when I see a guy in a music video dressed in brightly colored suits made of polyester the words ‘quirky’ and ‘unusual’ come into mind quite quickly.  Take it a step further and combine that with the cheesiest dance style in recent memory, what do you get? … attention!

Bottom line, quirky and unusual, in the right context (like a music video), and when done with humor, can position your brand or product uniquely amongst your competitors. It reminds me of the boy duo Kriss Kross from back in the day. If you remember (depending upon your age), they had one key distinction that differentiated themselves from any other group at the time… THEY WORE THEIR JEANS BACKWARDS! Would they have succeeded without that quirky and unusual characteristic? I am guessing not quite to the extent that they were. Again, quirky and unusual.

2. Colorful and Vivid

Those ridiculous colorful suits do have their purpose. Would that video have the same impact if he was dressed in regular clothes? It would still be funny, but not nearly as funny. Psy said the concept was “dress classy, dance cheesy”.

To use some examples on how this relates to business let’s look at a few examples:

Target: The reason we’ve watched and admired those Target commercials is because they are colorful and fun, and Psy has managed to achieve the same thing in music and perhaps has elevated it to a higher level due to its humor.

Wal Mart Recently changed their logo to make it much more colorful and contemporary to try to adapt to what others are doing in the market… like their competitor, Target!

Coca-Cola There have been documented evidence that color has meaning, and we tend to associate specific emotions to them. Every bit helps, and if companies like Coke spend large amounts of time and money understanding what customers associate color to, then we should to.

3. Catchy and Memorable

By definition catchy means “instantly appealing and memorable.”  Of course, this is easier said than done. You don’t achieve “viral” by formula or recipe. It’s psychological as well as emotional which appeals to something greater than rational thought. Psy has been able to blend contrast, fun and entertainment into one idea, and as a result, he is the most relevant thing happening in our social sphere.

It is important not to confuse catchy with cheesy. By definition, Apple could be considered catchy – remember the definition “instantly appealing and memorable.” Once Apple nailed this concept, they haven’t looked back and, as a result, has established a long and consistent viral relationship with the market. We see this happening this very moment with the launch of their newest IPhone. After all, what other brand do you know where hoards of people sleep on the street the night before a product launches to be the first people to snatch up a brand’s new product? Though it happens quite often with sports teams and rock bands, not so much for a brand, and the ones that do achieve and command this insane marketability have most assuredly reached viral status in their market.

The idea in business is provide solutions that are considered valuable, and if you can build a compelling identity around it, then your competitive advantage goes way up, maybe as high as the viral stratosphere.

Please leave a comment below and let me know some brands or products that you think have reached ‘Virality’ and give me a few reasons why you think they achieved that status.

Wishing You The Good Life!





“MJ takes a new and exciting approach on how to teach entrepreneurs.”

Daymond John
Co-host of ABC's, 'Shark Tank'

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