It’s the home stretch for WOMMA Summit 2013. After the smorgasbord of sessions on Days One and Two, my brain is getting a little over-stuffed with insights, just like my belly is groaning under the weight of all that Nashville pulled pork. But there’s room for one last word of mouth blast.
Today’s schedule focused on the power of the image. I’ll kick off by summarising the case studies from the quick-fire ‘creativity showcase’, examine how to make your visual storytelling sing, then wrap things up some thoughts on the future of WOM ROI.
Creativity Showcase | American Express, Finish Line, Delta, Green Mountain Coffee, Nissan
American Express, Mona Hamouly
The Amex card itself remains at the heart of their social campaigns, and is brought to life through visual storytelling. Simple, beautiful imagery is key, and surfacing old ads, card art and more from the Amex Archive has had a fantastic reaction – bringing the old into the new. They’ve used the same approach in creating little assets to surprise and delight their community, such as the Amex card towel, which became a conversational object on the beach. They encourage members to tell their own stories via a newly launched Facebook app, and they’re syncing card user data with their social profiles to harness social CRM. Explore further.
Finish Line, Wendy Hofstetter
The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and Facebook photo posts attract 140% more comments than text-based posts. Obama’s re-election victory tweet – a photo of him hugging Michelle – was so successful because of it’s iconic imagery. But you also need to go beyond the image and provide prompts for people to get involved in a wider campaign; add some cultural and storytelling context around each image; partner with influencers to co-create personal content; and don’t limit content creation to your marketing team but get other departments involved. Explore further.
Delta, Judd Hooks
Delta have transformed their social strategy over the past year. They’ve learnt that real time social is essential; you have to stay on top of trends and be reactive or you’ll fall behind competitors. They started photoshopping images of their planes in response to award wins and celebrities, and created quirky content for the Royal baby, Star Wars day and the Game of Thrones season finale. They also use archive footage in their ‘Throwback Thursday’, put their popular cookies in visual content to make sure the brand stays front of mind, and provide hardcore engineering/design content for their core plane-geek advocates. They collaborated with TED to explore the science of sleep with a ‘photon shower’ – a conversational offline experience that translated online. They’ve also been capturing social data for their Sky Miles customers, so they can integrate existing customers with social activity. Explore further.
Green Mountain Coffee, Derek Archambault
Combining shopper and social data is key to the Green Mountain social strategy, which focuses on communicating their fair trade philosophy. By understanding what, how and where their customers are buying, then looking at what they are saying in social, they ensure their social activity will drive real value. Demographics are too generic but deep behavioural data enables personalisation, so they use this to personalise how they display their products in stores and what conversations their customers want to have, to avoid lecturing and hit the buttons that will make people buy. Explore further.
Nissan, Chad Jacoby
In the auto business, innovation and differentiation is key for the design of a car, but it can hard to be equally innovative and unique in its marketing. To launch the Versa Note hatchback, Nissan jumped on the emergence of Vine and Instagram Video, crowdsourcing their TV ad by asking people to use downloadable images of the car in videos which showed them ‘doing more of what they love.’ They then introduced ‘The Passion Portrait’, a Facebook app that mapped the likes and connections of their fans to produce a “personalized, interactive visualisation of themselves.” Finally, they’re planning to sell one of their cars on Amazon and deliver it in a box on a flat-bed truck – game-changing the whole purchasing process. Explore further.
Marketing Without Words | Garrett Lane, Scripps Networks, Deb Berman,Curalate
Idea: Don’t just focus on images you create, but those that your consumers create. Over 400,000,000 images are shared daily on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram alone, and they pack a huge emotional punch. Brands are good at producing aspirational images, which allow them to bring joy and beauty even to everyday or functional products, but fans are good at relatable, storytelling images; make sure you have a good mix of both. Your interaction and responsiveness with imagery on social has to be as fluid as your conversation with words.
Action: Tune into what your consumers are posting, both about your brand and in general. Spend time monitoring and browsing every day. How can you respond to and harness what is already out there? Be experimental; try different sorts of imagery, monitor the data, and see what sticks. Don’t forget that imagery can be used to teach and prompt discussion too, from infographics to graphic how-tos.
Example: FrontDoor.com’s Pinterest-led ‘Cool Houses Daily‘ taps into our hunger for property porn. Also check out our own ‘London Life‘ social photography campaign for Getty Images.
WOMMA Research Council ROI Panel | Peter Storck, House Party, Ashley Libby, The Anca Group
Idea: The biggest obstacle to investment in WOM marketing is marketers’ inability to prove ROI. WOMMA is launching a new initiative to create an authoritative word of mouth ROI model – combining both on and offline WOM – described in language familiar to marketers. Currently, the picture is complex and incomplete, partly due to the proliferation of new platforms, but we also have more data than ever before. We need to bring the same rigour to WOM ROI as to other marketing disciplines (if not more!) and produce comparable measures so an integrated picture can emerge.
Action: Keep an eye on WOMMA’s progress via their research blog. Make sure you are integrating brand metrics with conversation metrics. Try to run pilot projects that only use word of mouth as a marketing tool, so you can compare the results to other programmes. Benchmark against competitors. Ask advocates what effect their relationship with the brand has had on their purchasing and recommending behaviour. And employ trackable tactics (such as discount codes) to isolate WOM-driven sales and footfall.
More: Keller Fay’s WOM Matters blog is a great place to keep updated with offline studies and models, so you’re not just relying on just social media metrics.
My #1 Day Three Takeaway?
Brands need to start treating imagery like a conversation. Drop the idea that visual content needs to be high-cost, polished and product-centric, and instead use it in a fast, responsive, emotional and creative dialogue with consumers.
And now, after three intense days of social goodness, I’m going to go and talk about puppies for the rest of the evening. Over and out.
So, after a night of Frito pies, fireballs, and live music from men in serious beards, it’s time for the second day of the WOMMA Summit, live from Nashville. Catch up with Day One’s insights and case studies here, then keep reading for five more sessions of word of mouth goodness, including Mark Earls, SEO, the intersection between art and tech, and much, much more…
The 4 Consumer Choice Styles That Should Underpin Your WOMM Strategy | Mark Earls, Author of Herd and I’ll Have What She’s Having
Idea: We hate independent thinking; we are herd creatures, and we want what she’s having. “The most important influence on other people’s behaviour is what other people are doing”, and we often overestimate how many of our decisions are independent rather than social. We are overloaded with choices and so you need to help us vividly latch on to why your brand is the best.
Action: Earls emphasises the importance of drawing specific and realistic maps of human behaviour. Once they understand these, brands can deploy a mixture of four strategies to harness them: do better than others, generate expertise and authority, create something striking and unexpected, and fuel herd popularity. There’s no shame in copying what has already worked and give it your own original twist.
Real Time Marketing: The New Prime Time or the Latest Shiny Object? | Rick Murray, Edelman, Chris Kooluirs, VaynerMedia, Stephanie Matthews, GolinHarris, Teca Lewellyn, Kellogg’s, Zena Weist, Expion
Idea: What’s going on in the news today? How can your brand add value? Brands need to be bolder with real time content; they have been getting more conservative thanks to legal fears. But real time is not just about pop culture, but genuine conversations - not a grandstanding ‘moment’, but a long-term series of small moments. And a little bit of chaos is not only necessary, but good.
Action: Establish a clear process flow, not a static content calendar. Empower your staff to be responsive and make changes. Be sure to tie your activity clearly back to business goals and set KPIs, or it can all feel a bit random. Know your audience; don’t force or push content that doesn’t feel absolutely aligned with the way they talk. And don’t forget to change what you do, not just what you say, in response to your listening.
Example: Hilton Suggests is a helpful and responsive Twitter project, without a pushy sales agenda. And #SWIMFORRELIEF was a quick response by P&G to boost Hurricane Sandy aid efforts.
Digital Panel | Kevin Espinosa, Caterpillar Inc, Robin Riddle, Wall Street Journal, Lauren Salazar, Weight Watchers, Rachel Tipograph, Gap, Jay Baer, Moderator
Idea: This year, the conversation has moved from ‘social’ to ‘content’ marketing. Everyone is a digital publisher now, media companies and brands alike. Effective internal systems for data capture and measurement are becoming critical, and social is forcing digital content to be more tailored and responsive. Celebrities still figure strongly in digital campaigns but now include social engagement; every piece of digital content has to do multiple pieces of work.
Action: Use data to understand which digital stories will be most impactful, but make sure there is a surprising, resonant human hook once it goes online. Digital must become more authentic, less flashy, and less sales-oriented. Think of social as teaser content that then leads into your deeper digital campaign. And immerse yourself in LinkedIn: some great conversations from within the digital industry surface here, especially if you’re involved in B2B.
Idea: Look beyond the law to ask ‘what do we owe our audience?’ Key guidelines on social ethics in the States include the well-known disclosure rules rom the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), but also FINRA (an independent securities regulator), FFIEC (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council), SEC (US Securities and Exchange Commission) and NLRB (National Labour Relations Board). There are new FDA guidelines to come in July 2014.
Action: Wherever you’re based, keep an eye on the US guidelines because they’re more mature than most other markets. Have a one-page super-simple social policy but make sure it is discussed and understood internally. Make sure your teams know what questions to ask and feel free to ask them – have a go-to ethics person. It’s your job to educate your agencies, clients, partners and advocates in social ethics, and to monitor your own activity with an eye to ethical compliance.
Example: James Whatley recently wrote a powerful rallying call in The Drum for the UK social media industry to take responsibility for their own regulation, instead of the ASA.
Idea: We need to bring art and technology closer together – make fiction and design influence science, and vice versa.Great stories create unexpected connections between neurons and sear them into our memories, but don’t just focus on the new and the sexy – the best stories can sometimes come from your most functional products (like search and maps).
Action: The Google innovation team pretend they’ve made products and make ads for them – which inspires the tech guys to actually build them. Try this backward method of inspiration – story first, product second. Make your stories relatable, repeatable, relevant, responsive and real. Also ‘break free from the stream’ – create stories that cross channels and integrate into people’s physical lives.
Example: Legendary engineer Elon Musk took the futuristic 3D deisgn process from Iron Man 2 – an exciting story about technology – and made it real.
Over the next couple of years, being successful in a crowded social market will mean brands have to take a leap forward in terms of sophistication – sophistication in terms of understanding behaviours; in terms of integrating channels; in terms of creating inspiring, real stories, even around functional products; and in terms of educating staff in ethics. There are no excuses; it’s time to up your game, or get out.
Also, those nice dark brown slabs that look like expensive chocolate in the break-out area are, in fact, beef jerky. Don’t.
“Word of mouth is no longer optional. It is an essential part of any business strategy.” Thus Suzanne Fanning kicked off the seventh annual WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association) Summit, which brings together 500 brands, agencies, researchers and authors explore the best of word of mouth and social media marketing.
Over the next three days of the conference, when I’m not presenting on global advocacy with Nokia, I’ll be (sort of) live blogging in an attempt to share some insights. To keep things digestible, I’ll briefly explain the central idea of each session, define what action you need to take to harness it, give an example of a case study, and suggest more to explore. If you want further detail, or to share your own thoughts, just give me a shout on Twitter or email. Ready? Let’s go.
Youtility | Jay Baer, Author and Consultant
Idea: “Youtility is marketing so useful, people would pay for it.” Focus less on selling through social media, and more on being helpful, and you’ll get much better results: “transcend the transaction” to provide a delightful and useful service.
Action: Deploy ‘strategic eavesdropping’ and find ways to help people; not only your customers and not always driving your products. You have to really get to know your audience to make it work. This is a long term investment in brand good will and “youtility is a process not a product” – big ideas take time to emerge, not in a single brainstorming session.
Example: Nivea Brazil created an awesome print ad that charges your mobile using a portable solar panel.
More: Youtility by Jay Baer, obvs. I also wrote an article on this same topic for WARC earlier this year.
The Fan Effect | Dez Dickinson, Pavilion Entertainment
Idea: If you can recreate the fandom that rock stars inspire, on behalf of your brand – the excitement, the group hysteria, the investment of identity – you can harness mindblowing advocacy.
Action: Focus on “purposeful and strategic creation of moments,” because “the moment is the point of entry into the fan connection and conversion.” Without the big rock-concert emotional spark, the spread will not happen. So create involving real moments for your community to experience and gather around.
The Social Value of a Customer | Barak Libai, Professor, Arison School of Business
Idea: We need to question simple assumptions about the social value of customers, start bridging the gap between vanity metrics and proper academic studies, and combine the language and thinking of traditional customer management with our new social insights.
Action: Look at the value of groups, not just individuals; combine the lifetime value and social value for a clearer measurement for each customer; take into account the ripple effect – A will effect C, not just B; consider acceleration of purchasing, not just uptake; and focus on when, not just how, you invest in social outreach, because customers are far more valuable when engaged early in the product lifecycle.
Making Depend A Pop Culture Phenomenon | Debra Gaynor and Diana Littman Page, Marina Maher Communications; Victoria Azarian, Ogilvy; Jay Gottlieb, Kimberley Clark; Joe DiMeglio, Organic
Idea: Stimulating WOM around sexy products and brands is easy. But getting people to talk about things they don’t want to talk about – like adult diapers – calls for true creativity. By getting NFL players and red carpet stars to trial their product under their tight outfits, Depend created huge social traction.
Action: Outing taboos and busting through euphemisms can be truly liberating, and become a ’cause’ rather than a ‘campaign’. Partner with celebrities and retailers to spark initial social engagement, but then be prepared to built that out into a more mature and nuanced conversation with real people dealing with these issues – with dignity. Concentrate on creating content where your audience is (in this case, YouTube), then let them spread it, rather than creating lots of brand channels.
Example: Check out the full Depend case study complete with figures here.
How YouTube Is Sparking Social Action | Shabnam Mogharabi, SoulPancake
Insight: We are moving beyond conversation to an era when social content will stimulate real world actions. YouTube has started to move beyond cats on skateboards and towards quality content that inspires powerful change, particularly amongst the coveted 12-17 year old audience.
Action: Don’t be afraid to ask your viewers to do something – something tangible and big. Young people don’t just want shallow entertainment – they respond brilliantly to emotive social causes. Get them involved in a project that really matters, and make sure you have a simple, clear call to action.
Are you wilting at the thought of the dark months ahead? Glued to your screen, lost in the daily grind, blind to the big picture? Desperate for some innovative social case studies that will put a rocket up your team?
Then join us at this year’s Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Summit on 18th-20th November, for three days of education, collaboration and networking with 500 brands, agencies, researchers and authors leading the field in social media and word of mouth. And this year, the summit is being held in Nashville, so you’ll have a soundtrack of incredible live music to accompany your conversations.
We’ll co-present a quick overview of Nokia’s ten year old advocacy programme, then we’ll dump the slides so I can grill Craig with some key questions, such as: how do you ensure global consistency yet allow individual markets freedom to tailor what they do? We want our audience to speak as much as we do, sharing their own experiences and asking questions. Hopefully this means we can be relevant to the people in the room and dig deep into the challenges of running a successful social strategy, rather than being self-congratulatory or comfortable. We want debate! We want dissent!
If you’d like to join us – oh, and a bunch of other people from the likes of Kelloggs, Cisco, Google, Gap, Microsoft, Lego, Unilever American Express, Jim Beam and NBC – just use the code Speak50when you register to get $50 off the fee.
We’re not a social media agency. We’re a word of mouth agency. All too often, attending a social media conference can feel like attending a fax machine or a pen and paper conference. True insight isn’t about channels, but about how to connect with and inspire people, and that’s why we’ve been involved in WOMMA since its foundation in 2004. We believe that WOM is a bigger, more inspiring and more effective discipline than ‘social media’, and WOMMA is the perfect place to meet with and learn from others with the same outlook.
A few weeks ago we brought word of a new 1000heads initiative, called #1000smiles. Well, we’re happy to report that the day took place on Friday 9th August, and it was a real pleasure to get everyone together and use our skills in a different way, to have some fun and to bring some Olympic-style cheer to sunny Soho.
Inspired by movements like Pay It Forward and Suspended Coffee, we teamed up with the awesome Flat White amongst others to surprise Soho people with freebies, asking in return that they use the #1000smiles hashtag to pledge a good deed.
Also on Berwick Street was the World’s Smallest Fete – with games and goodies on offer for anyone willing to stop and chat with strangers.
Cards offering free Gelupo ice cream and other local treats were attached to balloons and hidden around our neighbourhood for people to find.
Anyone with a smartphone could join our pop-up silent disco by connecting to fyidisco’s mobile WiFi network.
We built a machine that dispensed hugs, surprises, treats and tunes at the push of a button – asking only that recipients pay it forward and spread some cheer via #1000smiles.
By the end of the day, we really felt like we’d achieved our objectives. We had come together as an agency and strengthened our relationships with amazing partners like Flat White, Gelupo, the Lyric and Angelic Digital.
#1000smiles had generated over 650 mentions online, reaching 1.3 million people – but more importantly, it had brought people together in our local area. Strangers talked, smiled and laughed with each other in a way we hadn’t seen so much since London 2012.
And so the end result, both on and offline, was something that is so integral to our business: conversation.
At 1000heads, we have four company values which can be found throughout our offices, across our materials and, most importantly, in our work. They are:
1. Do the right thing.
2. Live in tomorrow.
3. Be bold and be brave.
4. Be passionate.
Being very bold and very brave. In a deckchair.
We take great pride in making sure they inform our work for our clients, but we rarely get an opportunity to focus on ourselves. Thankfully, a few days every year are set aside for the whole company to get together, lift our heads from our laptops, and do something special.
This year, we got thinking about how we could find an activity more meaningful than 2012′s undoubtedly-fun-but-slightly-too-competitive go-karting extravaganza; something that would bring the company together and remind everyone of what we stand for. So we took the first of our values and set about writing ourselves a brief that would harness our collective time and expertise towards ‘doing the right thing’.
We didn’t have to look far. From our HQ in Soho, we’ve experienced first hand the extraordinary emotional journey London has been on over the past few years. Back in 2011 there were the riots, which saw us leaving the office early with a support network in place for anyone who felt threatened getting home. A mere 12 months later, London came together for the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee, setting aside differences for a month of public goodwill as cynicism was swept away and strangers celebrated with each other in the street.
This summer, we’ve somewhat been left wondering: where has that amazing spirit gone? So we set ourselves a challenge. On the anniversary of the London 2012 Closing Ceremony, how can we recapture some of that sociable attitude in the streets where we work and play?
As with all our work, we started by listening. The conversational data we found in social media backed up our instincts and gave us some initial ideas. We assembled a team within the company and worked outside office hours to answer the brief and plan our big day.
That big day is this Friday 9th August. This Friday.
We don’t want to give away our plans, but if you’re in Soho this Friday, you may be in for a surprise. From a giant robot with a kind heart to a magical moveable disco party, via multiple kindnesses and the world’s smallest fête, we plan to resurrect that Olympic mood for all we come across.
Want to know more? Keep an eye on our Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest feeds, follow the action via the #1000smiles hashtag, and please, please get involved.
Pay the feelgood factor forward, Londoners. You know you want to. Deep, deep down.
That was the question at the heart of Gorkana’s breakfast briefing last week, and I was delighted to be invited to present our ongoing work with Nokia Connects. It was a fantastic event; not only were my fellow speakers – Warren Johnson, Amy Butterworth and Azeem Azhar - of the highest calibre, but the audience had some super-sharp questions.
I am unashamedly proud of our Nokia Connects programme. It captures everything I believe is essential to a great social campaign:
- a people-focused approach
- the combination of social media and the real world
- the integration of multiple channels and business departments
- fantastic, tangible business results
- an incredibly close and robust relationship between agency and client
- a long-term commitment to bringing a brand closer to its customers, in big and small ways.
Below is the video of my presentation but do visit Gorkana’s site and watch the full set. There is always more to learn when it comes to listening to, engaging with and growing advocacy, and it’s an essential skill for businesses that want to survive and thrive.
Twitter users are being given a chance to win a Nokia Lumia 820 – as well as a personalised 3D printed case with their Twitter handle on the back cover – by tweeting ‘something fun, entertaining, witty’ to the @Nokia_Connects account while using the hashtag #Lumia820.
For a better idea of how it all works, check out this short video:
There will be a longer video and more detailed interviews released next week, but suffice to say the early adopters in the mobile community have been jumping at the chance to combine their love of great devices with the chance to try out some cutting-edge 3D technology.
“We live in revolutionary times and we have forgotten how to see.”
That’s how bestselling author Seth Godin opened his Penguin Live event, and a stirring evening it was too. Vaguely familiar with his books and blog, I was relatively new to the Godin doctrine, but eager to listen to a man renowned for turning conventional wisdom on its head.
Godin’s latest book, The Icarus Deception, reminds us of the myth about the boy who flew too close to the sun, and latches onto the detail we seem to have forgotten – that Icarus was also told not to fly too low to the sea, for fear that the salt water would ruin his wings. Godin draws a parallel with the industrial era in which the norm has become to conform, stay low, and never soar too high – a norm which is turning us rusty with brine.
“The old rules: Play it safe. Stay in your comfort zone. Find an institution, a job, a set of rules to stick to. Keep your head down. Don’t fly too close to the sun. The new truth: it’s better to be sorry than safe. You need to fly higher than ever.”
At the event, and more deeply in his book, Godin asks: “Why are we afraid of our own risk? We built the internet so we could dance, dance with opportunity, fear and connection” – i.e., not so we could watch cat videos. So how do we learn to see clearly again? By trying, failing, apologizing later, and trying again.
Godin calls out for not taking risks. At Penguin Live, he certainly knew his audience. “I am sure you think you are the exception,” he confided, “that you’re doing it differently, and that your company is doing it differently.” Of course, the truth is, we aren’t. Social media types – myself included – pride ourselves on doing things differently, on being disruptive and unexpected. But in reality we aren’t pushing enough boundaries. We shouldn’t just be outside the box, we should be soaring above it. The solution Godin presents is to tap into our NEED  to create art and make a creative contribution to society: an idea, a way of seeing, making, and expressing something in a way that has never been done before.
Lofty goals for anyone in this age – but loftier still for low-fliers in huge institutions who are tied to their jobs and don’t feel creative in any way. This brings us to the most basic point of Godin’s remarks, and coincidentally his closing remark : that in order to see better and thus create art we need to “go make ruckus! ”
“Connect. Make Art. Fall. Repeat.”
What Godin taught me in two hours and is still teaching me through reading his book is that the ruckus is the most important part. I would define ruckus as that individual flavour that each of us brings to what we see and do. We are all creating art by being ourselves – by being unique and embracing our differences. The challenge in this era is to connect, create and collaborate with other individuals without subsuming our own spark.
What can an agency like 1000heads and our clients learn from such high-falutin’ stuff? How do we fly higher, make a ruckus cause revolution? That’s something we’re still working on. But at heart there is a simple dictum that is important to remember in an industry that can be a little too pleased with itself: don’t be smug, don’t be safe. Don’t be embarrassed to aim for art.
 NEED is in caps here because let’s face it – without art, we’re going to lose our souls – well, ok, society will at least suffer greatly.
 In case you are wondering if I only listened to the opening and closing remarks of Seth Godin’s talk – you’re wrong. I just don’t want to ruin all the amazing anecdotes that can be found in his book – so go read it!
“Humans are to thinking as cats are to swimming: we can do it if we really have to, but we’ll do all we can to avoid it”, says Mark Earls, paraphrasing Daniel Kahneman, a thought leader of behavioural economics.
This, for me, was the most pertinent point of the recent Merlin Lecture hosted by The Marketing Academy at which Rory Sutherland spoke on the topic of behavioural economics and its role in marketing.
Marketing and advertising has evolved from the challenge of moving someone’s hand a few inches to the left to pick up your product as opposed to your competitor’s. The challenge now is to change someone’s behaviour in a world where brands are becoming increasingly totemic.
Brand loyalty isn’t the biggest obstacle. It’s the largely irrational, subconscious computing processes that the human brain goes through that change behaviour. The cogent part of the brain then post-rationalises this change in behaviour and this is what we, as advertisers and marketers, are up against.
Rory’s example of P&G changing the public’s frame of reference in their carefully thought-out launch of Pampers in the 1960s is a perfect case in point. They artificially launched a prohibitively expensive nappy brand into the market and advertised it. As the brand predictably failed to take hold, they launched Pampers at a lower price and it was a success. The more expensive brand was then allowed to disappear quietly.
By allowing the public to feel that they were getting a bargain compared to other products in the marketplace, mass behaviour was changed.
Therefore, as individuals who are in the business of changing consumer behaviour, we need to be thinking about moving frames of reference to make it easier for people to post-rationalise their irrational decisions.