Unscripted is everything.
The reason why this video worked is 1) Ms. Payne’s wild laugh and 2) the fact that almost everything seemed spur of the moment. To use that tired but accurate word: authentic. Viewers increasingly want moments that speak to truths. I grew up in the days of reality television and while I would hardly say reality TV is “authentic,” the appeal in watching was that you’d find a moment of truth in the scenes-something that spoke to you. Ms. Payne telling viewers she wanted the mask all to herself and not for her kids was the truth-how many times have mothers around the world thought that as well? And her confession that she wanted to drive around with the mask on-how many times have you wanted to dare yourself to do something kooky. Those authentic moments forge an instant connection with the audience.
Know your audience.
One thing that Ms. Payne did perfectly well was she found exactly the right audience. In this instance, Facebook was the perfect platform to publish this video-their users are slightly older than on other platforms like Snapchat. Even better she was using a just-released tool-the Facebook “live” option. That made her video stand out more. Knowing where your audience lives and speaking to them on their platform is critical when building a brand.
Look for your own unique moment.
One aspect to this whole viral phenom that hasn’t been explored as much is how others were able to own the moment with Ms. Payne-and boost their own brands in the process. There’s a delicate line to walk here as you don’t want to come across as creepy or insincere but as a brand-whether individual or a company-finding a way to inject yourself into a national conversation or event is extremely important. Days after the video came out, other people started to post their reactions to the Chewbacca lady. People who were laboring in Youtube obscurity were suddenly racking up 20,000+ views just by reacting to something that was sweeping the country. Kohl’s took the opportunity to present Ms. Payne with more Star Wars gifts and posted a video of her receiving them which got an astounding 33 million views so far. Being a part of the national conversation in your own small way can reap tons of rewards for your brand.
Candace Payne’s original video is here.