The average American organically mentions brands 90 times in their offline and online conversations each week. Yes, 90 times! Here are a few other shocking numbers:
- More than three billion brand mentions occur in nearly 4.5 billion conversations, every day in the United States.
- More than 65 percent of the U.S. economy is driven by Word of Mouth.
- Personal recommendations are the #1 driver of consumer purchase decisions across multiple product categories.
This provides a lot of opportunities for brands to be publically praised (or shamed) among circles of consumers.
Word of Mouth… and, it’s here to stay.
Word of Mouth or WOM, is the most influential element driving purchase decisions today and social media is helping it to continue growing. Like with the concept of “social proof,” consumers often (and sometimes even unknowingly) look to their social circles for product suggestions, and reviews. Humans trust the suggestions of other humans.
By harnessing customer experiences, brands can use WOM as a way to propel engagement, increase awareness and drive purchases. It’s important to note that WOM is different than Word of Mouth Marketing or WOMM. While the two sound the same, WOM is often the outcome of WOMM. WOMM is the conversation starter driven by the brand. WOM is the actual conversations had by consumers about brands, products and companies. If done well, the two can be used in tandem can build buzz. In order to make WOM work for any brand, here are a few tips that marketers must remember:
- Consumers want to be friends with brands. The golden ticket is building a real relationship between the consumer and the brand. It’s this personal connection that will lead to true WOM.
- Transparency = Trust.
- Friends and family are key motivators for purchase decisions, even more than experts.
- Off-line engagement through events and product trials can be just as effective as online engagement. WOM happens in offline and online conversations – there is power and value in both.
- Listen. Listen. Listen. By listening to ongoing conversations, posts and news media about the brand and brand-related topics, marketers can be more effective in integrating their brand, company or product into relevant and meaningful conversations.
- Build the WOM tactic into every singly marketing strategy from advertising to digital to PR – get people talking.
- Utilize influencers to tell epic stories. Consumer storytellers will advocate for a brand in a better way than any advertisement.
- Praise fans and followers who share their negative thoughts. Constructive feedback can help a company to fix a problem, better understand a consumer perspective or in the end, build an even better product.
- Engage employees! A workforce that shares a sense of purpose can lead engagement. Some of the most successful brands have involved employees in helping to forward the brand message. People who love what they do tend to speak highly about the companies they work for.
Need more tips? WordofMouth.org provides an ongoing list of how to positively use WOM. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) is also a great resource in terms of learning more about WOM and WOMM. This inforgraphic from WOMMA further illustrates the importance of WOM.
As the industry continues to evolve, WOM will continue to grow… giving companies and brands even more opportunities to leverage all that talking that everybody does, and turn it into a competitive advantage.