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Brandware Public Relations | Atlanta | New York | Los Angeles

What’s the Secret to Effective Word-of-Mouth Marketing?

Back when I worked for car companies, one of my favorite events used to be the annual owners’ club get-togethers.  There’s nothing like turning the Village People’s YMCA into an S-A-A-B version in front of 1200 Swedish auto enthusiasts, trust me (Joel Manby, my former boss, I forgive you.) When it comes to creating brand ambassadors – one crucial element of effective word-of-mouth – the car guys (along with the motorcycle, boat and other action sport brand guys) have always known how spark passion.

 The value of brand ambassadors is on my mind because I’m at Day 1 of the Word of Mouth Marketing Conference (WOMMA). Summit 2012: Creating Talkable Brands kicks off later today. First up is one of the more enjoyable reality TV stars, Rick Harrison, from the History Channel’s oddly addictive hit show Pawn Stars. Thanks to word of mouth (fueled in no small part by the show), more than 5,000 people walk into the Gold and Silver Pawn shop on any given day, versus 70 prior to the show’s debut.

Later today the topic turns to how brands can use influencers to reintroduce a storied brand to a new generation. Ball Canning is the case study. And that’s just two of the dozens of presentations that will explore how word of mouth is created, and what type of strategies and tactics ensure it proliferates – positively.

As I was preparing for the conference, I revisited what has influenced my recent purchase decisions. There’s convenience (the dry cleaner on the way home), price (a better offer from one natural gas provider vs. my current one), dissatisfaction (dumping DISH in favor of DirecTV when they dropped AMC) and plain old spur-of-the-moment gotta-have-it lust (generally any pair of shoes that “speaks” to me as I wander by). However, the majority of decisions are made because of snippets of verbal, written or visual information that catch my eyes and attention.

So, in case you think the title of this blog is misleading: I’ll answer that question next week after I’ve digested the learnings from the next three days and have added my own take.  Until then, think about what information influences you and your customers each day.

Photo courtesy of Kinderhotel Lärchenwald

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