3-Minute WOM Lesson: 3 of the greatest word of mouth stories from 2011

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As we kick off a new year, we wanted to pause for a minute to look back at some of the greatest word of mouth stories from the past one. Here are three favorites that got us talking:

1. The movement that raised $100 million in 30 days
2. The chain restaurant that doubles as a community center
3. The movie theater that delights fans by kicking out jerks
4. Share your favorites

1. The movement that raised $100 million in 30 days

The Movember project had it all: It was fun, inspiring, easy to get involved, easy to talk about, and it raised a ton of money for men’s health.

With support from more than 850,000 people, Movember raised an unbelievable $105 million in 30 days. Think about that: There were no corporate sponsors. This was a worldwide movement powered by millions of on and offline conversations.

There were so many great word of mouth concepts used by this project, we wrote a whole newsletter on it.

2. The chain restaurant that doubles as a community center

If you follow us at all, you know we’re constantly talking about how the path to true word of mouth is built with a zillion tiny, genuine gestures designed to earn the respect and recommendation of your customers. Few embody this ideal more than Hamid Chaudhry who took over a small-town Dairy Queen franchise and steadily earned the love of his entire community.

He frequently hosts fundraisers for local groups (and regularly donates more than these modest events raise), he randomly shows up at schools with frozen treats, and people see his restaurant as the central hub of the town.

Today Hamid has an incredible base of fans that will carry him through good times and bad, and it’s something we all should be striving for.

3. The movie theater that delights fans by kicking out jerks

Word of mouth isn’t about making everyone happy — it’s about making the right customers fall in love. That’s the heart of the Alamo Drafthouse’s strict “no talking or texting during movies” policy. They’re serious about it. So much so, they posted an angry voicemail they received from a customer they booted for texting.

The video became an absolute sensation with more than 2.3 million YouTube views and the theater received an outpouring of support for defending their much-loved policy.

Standing for something (and against something else) is how brands build loyal followings, and the world needs more of it.

4. Share your favorites

Do you have a favorite word of mouth story from 2011? What companies are you talking about, and how are they inspiring you to do it? Big or small, we’d love to hear about it.

Add your favorites in the comments below.

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