The Price You Pay For Virality
Virality is a golden ticket for content creators - it maximises returns, attracts audiences, and speaks volumes about the content creator’s potential. As marketers, we often receive requests from brands to engage with content creators who have gone viral in the past in hopes of achieving similar success for the brand. However, the team here in Nuffnang often takes a neutral stance when it comes to evaluating and collaborating with content creators who had a quick rise to fame as a result of being the source of viral content. In the past, we have seen individuals who have gone viral go two different paths achieving two different outcomes - one more preferred than another from a branding perspective.
Kak Long 7E
The infamous ‘Kak Long 7E’ made her ‘bouts on social media when clips of her lashing out at the employees of a 7Eleven store for wrongly accusing her son of stealing from the convenience store. Within 24 hours, the 1 minute 11 seconds clip was shared and garnered hundreds and thousands of views with negative sentiments from netizens commenting on her rude behavior towards the employees. This first instance of her 15seconds-of-fame was soon mitigated with an apology video of her behavior which placated netizens. Shortly after the resolution, local brands attempted to partner up with Kak Long 7E to ride on her viral status with her audience to drive awareness and conversion of their products; and saw success in this partnership.
Unfortunately, matters did not improve for too long for Kak Long. In the months following her first instance at 7Eleven, she went on to further anger netizens again and again with rude and insensitive comments such as making fun of OKU (Orang Kurang Upaya) individuals and scolding KFC employees for not including ice cubes in her drink. Soon, netizens started to point out brands in partnership with Kak Long, and in light of the negative association, these brands pull their support of Kak Long to distance themselves. This is a clear instance of paying the price of virality - where the content creator’s fame is so tightly woven with the initial cause of their virality, which without it, dulls their ability to influence. As a solution to amplify their viral status, they seek to ‘recreate’ (be it intentionally or unintentionally) the perimeters which first brought them their fame - to their detriment of losing out on potentially beneficial and lucrative partnerships with brands.
Yet, every coin has two sides and as such, so does the price of being viral.
Drawn to Tiktok by his fellow peers, Imran started out on YouTube without much expectation to achieve the current fame that he presently enjoys. He observed his peers finding success on the TikTok platform and thought, ‘hey, no harm trying. Within a short period, his following count on the platform went to 160,000 followers, soon 400,000 followers; and currently, he has over a 1.6milion followers (on TikTok) cultivated in slightly under 1 year. A spillover effect of his TikTok growth went into his YouTube channel to also bring him more than 400,000 subscribers.
The root of his exponential rise to fame started off with Imran’s funny antics, peculiar dances, and the netizen’s love for his "ghisau" catchphrase. Figuring out early on that these contents were what was demanded of him from his followers, he dial up his funny antics and ensure to keep himself checked on the ‘safe side’ of social media content creation. As a result, Imran began to slowly grow his portfolio of partnerships with local and international brands - Nuffnang being the first to have worked with Imran on his debut branded campaign! In the checklist in which Nuffnang evaluates a content creator’s brand safety check, his rise to virality was wholesome, which signaled and prompted us to work on partnerships with him.
In summary, virality is a matter in which the root cause of it plays a significant role in the sustainability and long-term success of a content creator. A content creator is highly dependent on the audience’s attraction and continuous support towards them and understanding the initial turning point where audiences first ‘fall in love with each content creator helps us here in Nuffnang to evaluate the potential of the creator’s collaboration with brands.