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Is Your Marketing Content Unhinged Enough?

A new report shows how businesses can successfully stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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BY REBECCA BARKER , EDITORIAL FELLOW@REBECCAGBARKER

The online ecosystem has never been more expansive than it is today. It's also never been more unhinged.

That finding comes from a recent report by Boston-based venture capital firm Battery Ventures, which holds investments in companies including Angie's List, Skullcandy, Groupon, and Wayfair. The report suggests that to be successful in 2024, brands should "lean into viral/product growth loops" and warns that "overreliance on paid marketing can create a fragile business model."

Of course, there's no guarantee any given tactic will lead to virality. But there are steps brands can take to increase their chances of achieving that elusive goal. Companies should assess internet and pop culture trends and draw connections to them in their advertisements -- something that countless brands capitalized on during last summer's Barbie craze.

It can also sometimes be beneficial for your brand to become a meme -- as Duolingo has done through its unhinged TikTok content, Battery Ventures notes in its report. The language-learning app has gone viral by putting its owl mascot, Duo, in absurd situations, from toilet-clogging mishaps to unrequited marriage proposals. The bold marketing strategy helped the company reach 20 million daily active users -- a 62 percent year-over-year increase from 2022 to 2023.

While taking risks can pay off, brands should ensure that their message and mission don't take a backseat to the desire for clicks or views. Sometimes even companies that have seemingly mastered the approach, like Duolingo, have gone viral for the wrong reasons. The brand faced heavy criticism in May 2022 for a comment it left under an NBC News TikTok video of actor Amber Heard being cross-examined during the highly publicized Depp v. Heard trial, which some users perceived to be making light of a legal case on domestic abuse, the New York Post reported. The company's social-media director later apologized for and subsequently deleted the remark.

Still, Duolingo's overall success demonstrates how out-of-the-box marketing campaigns can increase customer acquisition. The company, which went public in 2021, is preparing for its first Super Bowl commercial this year -- further proof that companies don't need a celebrity spokesperson to capture an audience's attention and heart. An unhinged owl will do just fine.

Photo Credit: Getty Images.

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