Thursday, October 15, 2009


By Roger Pe

What is more credible than endorsements made by close friends? Whom do you trust? The brand you just saw on tv or trusted neighbors who’ve tried and tested another brand and they all swear by it?

If a picture can paint a thousand words, the mouth can unleash millions of ‘forces’ to generate awareness and convince a number of consumers to buy.

Experts say positive “word-of-mouth” is the best advertising and nothing can beat its effectiveness. Even the most experienced global advertising networks agree – it has immense power to make sales changing upturns.

Simply put, word-of-mouth is the buzz created by one’s actual experience that eventually snowballs into a repetition of branding recall, thus forming an important critical mass. Depending on the level of satisfaction one experiences, it could cause a branding wildfire, outsmarting even the most expensive advertising produced.

In layman’s language, word-of-mouth is best illustrated by this most recent tv commercial for a food condiment. In a quaint, remote village, a damsel becomes talk-of-the-town. Not only she’s beautiful, the food she cooks all taste different and delicious. Wags and eavesdroppers try to uncover her culinary deep secret. What’s the big fuss all about that the whole town went nuts about her cooking? Because there was something to talk about in the sauce she’s using.

Do you have something in your product or advertising that can make people open their mouths and spread your gospel? Is there something in your brand that is worth recommending to your community of friends? Is there something new in what you’re selling that is a conversation piece?

Will people talk about it in coffee shops, offices, schools or wherever they may get a chance to talk? Remarkable brand benefits and innovative advertising can pierce through the clutter and positive feedback be easily passed on in contagious fashion. Anything less and you suffer the ignominy of being ignored.


The new campaign of Meralco on how to save electricity is being talked about because it is different from the usual. A caterpillar, two lovebirds and a firefly are used to make an interesting ad to remind consumers on how to save on electricity. It probably won’t get talked about had the creators used the same old boring formula: tips that preach and in a way that we’ve seen in the past.

A fastfood restaurant offering hot, clean, affordable meals will surely get passed on to a ‘barkada’ looking for good value through use of ordinary conversation. With one contact, the information can multiply getting the same result because the message comes from a trusted, unbiased source. The process of sharing information between two parties can also be repeated via sms, email, chat, social conversations, other forms of online instant messagings or whenever people get a chance to share each other’s opinions.

“Risky Business”, the movie and Tom Cruise made Rayban Wayfarers a “must-have” accessory back in mid-80s. In his Brand Story website, Rob Marsh, former creative director at Publicis Dialog and now VP at LogoWorks talks about how he once sat on his Rayban Wayfarer and it broke in half. The eyeglass store where he bought it wouldn’t take it back so he sent it directly to Rayban with a note saying: “This broke, please fix.”

He had no expectations of ever hearing from the company and started looking for some new glasses. Two weeks later, he received a new pair of Raybans in the mail. He was thrilled and became a huge fan of Rayban. 22 years later he was still telling the story.

Through word-of-mouth, a good car can enjoy advertising mileage long before the prospective buyer gets to see or try the brand. Validated by recommendation from friends, it is bound to meet or even surpass sales targets.

Word-of-mouth can beat brands with high frequency media. This can be said in the case of hotels and other establishments that offer personalized service and hospitality. More often than not, preference for friends’ endorsements can be sealed instantly because people oftentimes trust friends for their testimonies.

Word-of-mouth can be said as doing half the battle of convincing consumers because they come from real experience and credible sources. In his Marketing Profs website, Ted Mininni, Creative Director of Design Force in the U.S. and who has written articles for Adweek and Brandweek, mentions that word-of-mouth effectivity is 78%, higher than newspaper advertising (63%), magazines (56%), television (56%) radio (54%) cinema advertising (38%).

Want to resuscitate your business and give it a boost? Here are recommendations from Start Up Nation to help you build word-of-mouth viral marketing success:

1. Keep it simple. The more complicated your messages, the harder they can survive being passed via word-of-mouth.

2. Be specific. Don’t be generic. Define your category. Example: “The Mineral Water with 500 mg Vitamin C.”

3. Make your story different to make it worth repeating.

4. Back up your communications with success stories from real people,

5. Provide people with simple ways to make them inquire about you and what you offer.

6. Put experts on your side. Encourage them to spread what’s good about your brand.

7. Ask your sales people for referrals, recommendations and testimonials and repeat the cycle.