Have you ordered Starbucks’ “Pink Drink” yet? If you haven’t you’ve probably seen someone in your network post a picture of this off-menu item from the coffee chain. Or if no one you know has ordered it you’ve likely read one of the 3,492 media/advertising trade stories about it.
Some people have looked at this and said the reason the unique drink has gone viral all of a sudden is because of the inherent photogenic nature of the drink. It is, after all, bright pink with lots of other interesting features. And there’s something to that, to be sure.
What I keep thinking, though, is that it’s less about the specific visual nature of the drink itself as much as it’s about because it is, simply, unique. That it’s bright pink doesn’t hurt, of course, but we all like sharing something that is exclusive or otherwise special. We like showing off status and putting things on our social media feeds to align us with something that has a “wow” factor because it makes us look cool and special. And knowing about and presenting ownership over an item like the Pink Drink certainly qualifies.
This is the point where you may expect me to say “the lesson to take away from this is that all content should be memorable, unique and worth sharing.” And that’s a good point, but it’s pretty superficial. Instead, consider this: Hide stuff. Make it hard to find. Make it hard to share. Put up barriers to people discovering things.
Back in the late 90s I used to troll DVD forums and read about how people were finding easter eggs on DVD menus. These posts included instructions on how to click *this* cloud in order to access a submenu that you had to let sit for 97 seconds to get a new menu that allowed you to choose an exclusive clip. Reddit is still full of this kind of thing. The point was that these were hidden items and the producer certainly wanted it to be found but seemed to make discovery as convoluted as possible.
Where appropriate do likewise. Offer off-menu items. Create a secret phrase that earns your customers a month of free service. Do something that’s amazing and incredible. Do something that builds up your audience and customers and elevates them, not you. Your brand will come along for the ride because you’ve done something that’s worth talking about more than any custom emoji keyboard ever could be.