People are continuing to talk about brands, and a recent Mediapost article by Jack Loechner suggests that there are 3.5 billion word of mouth conversations every day in the US alone.
Whilst 90% of these conversations take place offline, that still means that 350 million discussions are happening daily. Can you afford not to start listening?
FreeRice is a clever website that donates 10 grams of rice every time you correctly answer an english word defintion. So in principle, you expand your english vocabulary and feed the hungray at the same time.
Perspective: I think “Not for profits” are succeeding in leveraging the demand to help global issues, by both producing engaging sites. The combination of these reasons produce a powerful incentive for people to spread the site through word of mouth / mouse to others.
Perhaps because alcohol products have had greater restrictions advertising on mainstream channels and therefore have had more time to experiment with other levers. But it is now more evident with the announcement that Jim Beam’s CMO Rory Finlay is committed to refocusing it’s advertising budget into activities aimed at generating Word of mouth.
Word of mouth marketing is not new. It started around the camp-fire when people debated over what were the best hunting tools, and conversations continued into market places where trade flourished. But since the invention of the TV, which radically changed the way brands spoke to consumers, many big brands have either forgotten or ignored the levers that drive word of mouth marketing.
Perspective: The science of how you measure word of mouth marketing is still in it’s infancy, and no doubt organisations like WOMMA will continue to promote various metrics to try to standardise the way word of mouth can be measured. But there are some quite simple initiatives that marketeers can do to maximise the word of mouth marketing effect of their campaigns.
Here’s a check-list that it worth considering as part of every campaign or activity, which should help you enhance the word of mouth marketing impact.
1. What conversations will this campaign drive?
e.g new product feature discussions, boasting about the experience, will they be category discussions or specific to your brand?
2. What mediums will these conversations use?
e.g. at an event, on an online discussion group, social networking commentary, dinner table discussions
3. How can we make it easier for these conversations to take place?
e.g. Can you provide photos of an event that consumers can download and post to their social networks?
4. What can I do to monitor some of these conversations? (one of the easiest success measures is an increase in online discussions that unlike tacit conversations are recorded. Hint, you need to know what the existing conversational levels are to measure a change, so if you don’t have an online monitoring service, consider starting one.
Can I test the campaign’s word of mouth impact before hand or with a smaller sample? For example, run the campaign in an area where you can more easily measure the impact, this will provide an opportunity to make any changes before a major launch.
What incentives can I give people to share the conversations with others, and what ways are there to reward this? Are there opportunities to allow people to create Consumer generated content to express their opinions.
7. Involve your staff.
Can you utilise your existing employees to generate conversations related to the campaign?
8. Call to action
Does the campaign have calls to action which allow people to sign up to special offers?
9. Use your evangelists.
Do you have a record of brand advocates, or a loyalty program, and if so, have you involved them or made them aware of the campaign? if you don’t, then use this campaign to start a database.
10. Evaluate the results
Make sure you learn from the results, get into the habit of asking these questions before the campaign is designed, so you can change where necessary.
So you’ve taken over a leading beer brand from the 50s, 60s and 70s which now has earnt the nickname “Nasty Gansett”.
How do you resurrect a brand when you don’t have a large bucket of cash to throw at the usual advertising channels?
Use Word of Mouth marketing of course !
Mr. Hellendrung shown in the picture above, bought the rights for the Narragansett brand from Pabst Brewing Co. in 2005. He then started to revie the famous brand and start to build some differentiations from the large national brands.
He has done this by creating a nostalgia connection to the brand, which has both attracted new consumers and restored the loyalty of those who remembered it. His first step was to hire the original brew master to restore the taste of the product to what it was.
Word of mouth is cheaper than conventional advertising, but takes more time. Mr. Hellendrung took his product to many bars and clubs and personally convincing the bar tenders and owners to taste the new brand. “We may not reach as many people, but we develop passionate relationships,” he says.
The beer was bringing in $100k in turnover when he bought the brand, and it is expected to do $5 million this year.
PErspective: This is a great example of the patience required to build a brand with Word of Mouth. Sure it does take a little more time than putting a large TV campaign together, but the rewards are enormous loyalty and steady growth that removes you from reliance on future tv campaigns.
Here’s another example of personalising a product .. this time Dolls.
The company was created after a couple created Dolls of themselves to help their daughter adjust to day care. The idea spread through word of mouth, and now Tiny Pocket People ships dolls all over the world.
Perspective: This is a great concept. I wonder why they don’t sell kits so that you can “make your own” doll … perhaps that is one for the patchwork quilting industry to run with. Perhaps the next version should include a small mp3 player that plays pre-recorded sounds of the person the doll is modelled on.