The Key to Word of Mouth? Give 'em Something to Talk About.

Word of mouth has and always will beat any other form of advertising, especially in today's ambiguous climate.  According to Eating the Big Fish by Adam Morgan, as people’s faith in authority continues to deteriorate, they are turning more and more to family, friends, and strangers for the latest and greatest innovations. From product reviews on Amazon, TripAdvisor, Net Promoter, to the random person you make small talk with in passing, people are putting more equity in their fellow man than the powers that be. And you can make this work for you.

Just be as functional and useful as Google.

Google’s empire wasn’t built on massive advertising efforts. In fact, the company typically shies away from bragging about its features beyond press releases and a few instructional videos. What it isn’t short on is people sharing its benefits or new features. Though they could no longer be viewed as an upstart brand by any means, the power of word of mouth is still working for them. Just think of how often you or someone you know uses the term “Google it.”

Have legendary service like Lexus.

Another brand that no longer seems like a challenger, Lexus started off as a fledgling luxury car company that made a name for itself by cultivating strong customer loyalty. The famous story goes that when one of their vehicles leaked oil all over a new buyer’s driveway, they didn’t just fix the problem and clean the pavement –they repaved the driveway, and word of such loyalty and effort traveled fast to help sell the brand to consumers.

Be creative like Mad Men.

Mad Men was hailed as one of the smartest, most clever shows on televisions. That nobody was watching. The show needed their cult following to not just talk about the program amongst themselves, but share it with others. The media darling had the benefit of a small but creative following. Many would make their own fan fiction, illustrations and other creative efforts inspired by it. The Mad Men Yourself avatar application was created, using illustrations from a fan of the show, making the connection stronger and more authentic. Their creative audience spread the word far and wide past their own circle to help others embrace the magic of the 1960’s drama.

By tapping into people’s intrinsic, social need to share, these brands have created brand ambassadors out of the casual consumer. They turned friends, family, and strangers into the voice of reason in a time when people are wary of how safe, green, or healthy the brands they’ve come to know and love really are. And when those friends, family and people they pass going to and fro look for something new and exciting, they look to you.

Written by Ken Hammond on April 18, 2011


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Written by
Ken Hammond