What We Can Learn From Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Dairy Queen About Going Viral

When you are the owner of a business, you might be thinking you're the hero. After all you put your blood, sweat, and maybe even tear equity into the business when you were getting it off the ground. Plus, you are solving a problem for your clients so in a way you are sort of the hero of the story when you have a strong why and you know you are able to change everyone's lives forever. There’s a strong sense of personal responsibility to deliver on your promise to make a huge difference.

I’m sorry I have to be the one to tell you this, but marketing yourself as the hero isn't necessarily going to help your brand. A 2018 Edelman survey said two thirds of consumers expect CEO’s to step up and speak up on important issues. Your personal brand as a CEO doesn’t necessarily mean consumers want you to talk about yourself and how great you are. They want to know you care about the things they care about.

A more effective way for you to market yourself is as the guide or the person telling the story (insert Morgan Freeman’s narrator voice).

So you might be thinking, "Then who's the hero and what is all of this that I hear about the hero's journey???"

The heroes are:

  • your employees

  • your clients

  • the people you serve in your nonprofit organization

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett do a great job of this in their latest Dairy Queen video.

Here’s why:

  • As role models they are showing what it's like to have a beginner's mindset and to not be afraid of failure.

  • As guides they are highlighting the hero as the manager of the Dairy Queen.

  • As a brand they are aligning themselves with the values that the employee says are the most important parts of being successful and they are showing how they put people first.

  • By making fun of themselves they are building trust with you because you're laughing at them.

  • By building trust with you, they are protecting their reputations for years to come.

From an analytics standpoint:

  • Bill Gates has 800k subscribers on his YouTube Channel.

  • His other videos that broke 1M views are all 6 months to 3 years old.

  • This video has 1.1M views in 3 days.

  • This video has 583 comments and 14,550 likes on LinkedIn in 1 day.

  • This video has been picked up by 16 media outlets and translated into 6 languages in the last 3 days.

  • And when you search “Bill Gates Dairy Queen” on Google you will find stories on the first 5 pages.

From a human standpoint:

  • Gates and Buffett invite you to laugh at them, which makes them human and relatable.

Bill Gates once said:

"If I were down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations."

Public Relations has become even more powerful since the day Gates spoke those words because now there are a multitude of ways you can create content that will live on the Internet forever. This one video proves that you don’t need to be pitching or selling anything in your videos in order to spread the word about your company. When you’ve developed a strong personal brand and people associate your name with your company name: like Bill Gates and Microsoft - then any piece of content you put out is going to double as marketing for your company based on your reputation.

Since this video is published on Gates’ YouTube channel it is driving traffic to that page where he has a host of other videos about things he’s passionate about, like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation or curing malaria.

When you are thinking about creating content and wondering where you should start, remember: every piece of content doesn't have to talk about your product or service, but every piece of content does need to talk about something your audience cares about. If you talk about something other people care about, that’s when your idea or message will go viral.

Check out the video here:

During my visit to Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting in Omaha, Warren Buffett and I broke away from the meetings to visit a Dairy Queen for some lunch and to get some restaurant training. We learned how to work the cash register, greet guests, and make a Blizzard (including the proper way to serve it, "Always upside down with a smile.").