6 ways big brands are earning word of mouth

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Word of mouth isn’t just something for quirky small businesses, hot startups, or solo entrepreneurs. Some of the biggest and most legendary brands in the world are earning incredible customer loyalty, love, and profits by earning word of mouth. How they’re doing it:

1. With their employees
2. With reviews everywhere
3. With great content
4. With remarkable products
5. With incredible customer service
6. With personality

1. With their employees

One of the biggest opportunities big brands have in word of mouth is their employees. They represent an army of potential talkers, but they might not know how to do it — or even if it’s allowed. But over at Google, their employees are given beta versions of products and online apps. Gap does it with their “Friends and Family” discounts. And Farmers Insurance has established a training program to teach their agents how to set up and make the most of social tools like Facebook.

2. With reviews everywhere

Reviews are powerful word of mouth tools. Customers are already seeking them out before making a purchase decision, and the smartest big brands are posting them everywhere. Amazon pioneered this when they allowed anyone to review anything, and leading retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, and Staples now do it too. And then there’s Domino’s who recently featured customer feedback — good and bad — on a billboard in Times Square.

3. With great content

Great content can start great conversations. Think white papers, videos, tutorials, Top 10’s, infographics, research, and reports. Each year, for example, Allstate starts a ton of conversations with their “America’s Best Drivers” report that lists the best and worst driving cities based on their claims data.

4. With remarkable products

Selling stuff that is fundamentally remarkable is a key way to start word of mouth conversations. Apple’s pink and purple computers saved the company from bankruptcy in the late 90’s. Today, Costco gets people talking with their incredible — and sometimes bizarre — products. They sell gigantic candy bars, wedding gowns, $1,000,000 engagement rings, and $3,000 toilets. Sure, they have lot of regular stuff too, but everyone has that. It’s the weird and funky stuff that gets so many people talking.

5. With incredible customer service

Thrill customers with incredible customer service and they’ll tell everyone about you. Zappos will take your shoes back a year after you bought them. When Lexus has a recall, they send technicians to customers’ homes to pick up the car for repairs (and leaves them with a brand-new loaner). And American Express has found customers they thrill with customer service result in a 10 to 15 percent increase in spending and a four to five time increase in retention.

6. With personality

You’re never too big to have a personality, to have some fun, and to do something worth talking about. Southwest flight attendants sing the safety instructions, GE uses Instragram to post retro-looking photos of airplanes and jet engines, and IKEA offers daycare for children and for husbands.

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Comments

  1. RMSorg

    Very well done! Many organizations are so afraid of what their employees will do on SM platforms… Why not have guidelines set up for what can be posted under the organization name (brand appropriate) and what can be posted under personal accounts not to be associated with the organization! Great way to get the conversation going!

    I love #6 Personality!!

    Good stuff here, thanks!
    RMSorg
    WallStreetBranding

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