Andy Sernovitz: Love or Marketing: How Word of Mouth Will Save Your Brand — live from Word of Mouth Supergenius

8:50 — Kurt Vanderah introduces Andy Sernovitz, CEO of GasPedal and the Social Media Business Council.

8:50 — Andy: I’d like to start by thanking Kurt, our GasPedal team, and everyone who helped bring this event together.

8:51 — Andy passes out some fresh snacks, some “I love my job!” buttons, and some happy face buttons.

8:52 — Andy: So this word of mouth thing is simple. We’re dedicated to the one big idea: Happy customers are your best advertisers.

8:53 — Andy explains that for the new few minutes, he’s going to be talking about making love.

8:53 — Andy: Love is what makes a brand extraordinary. You have two ways to get your message out: You can pay for it; or you can have an army of fans who want to tell their friends because they love you.

8:54 — Andy: This is hard. It’s hard to rebuild an organization around amazing products, service, and thrilling customers. But this changes everything. Love is powerful.

8:55 — Andy explains that a teenager newly in love is a great example of the behavior we get from an exec with a brand new iPhone. Andy: Have you ever noticed nobody with a new smartphone keeps it in their pocket? They lay it on the table, the show it off, and they tell everyone.

8:56 — Andy: Love, besides being cool, does something more significant. It separates the connection between money and marketing. It’s a sustainable resource. And this starts to change the math of the business.

8:57 — Andy explains how everyone’s favorite example is Zappos, who sells shoes at full retail price — yet we love them because they treat us right, they take care of us, and there’s all these legendary stories about how great they are.

8:58 — Andy shares the example of how a crazy Zappos customer once called to order a pizza, and the $10 an hour rep sent them a pizza — and didn’t have to ask for permission to do it.

8:59 — Andy explains the real math behind this, and how Zappos has a much lower cost of customer acquisition, and they invest these savings into more awesome service that further lowers their costs.

9:00 — Andy: Now is the time to build your army of fans.

9:00 — Andy: Your brand isn’t what you say it is, it’s what other people say it is.

9:01 — Andy: What this means is, the more you advertise — and the better you do it — you don’t send people to your awesome store or website, the more you advertise, the more you send them to your word of mouth. Ads send people to Google and to your customer reviews. Your advertising may come first, but word of mouth comes last — it’s what sits next to the “ad to cart” button.

9:01 — Andy explains how most marketers know their ROI and their SEO and what not down to the last decimal point, but what we’re not measuring is if we’re getting bad reviews.

9:01 — Andy: Word of mouth means you have to be a good company, with good products, and good service.

9:02 — Andy: The chance to treat people well and deliver amazing products and services isn’t an option anymore, because everyone is going to know if you don’t.

9:02 — Andy: Companies that are nice to people make more money.

9:03 — Andy says there is love for everyone: BtoB, BtoC, whatever.

9:03 — Andy introduces “dull” things with amazing word of mouth. Skittles, Andy explains, are fairly boring — they’re delicious, but they’re just candy — yet they have 600,000 fans on Facebook. And the folks at Skittles realized this and saw how their fans could tell their story better, so they pointed their homepage to their Facebook page.

9:03 — Andy continues with @DellOutlet — a Twitter account that shares deals on scratched, refurbed computers from Dell — and yet they have millions of followers.

9:03 — Andy shares the example of Duck brand duct tape, who found high schoolers were making prom dresses out of their tape and supported the trend with a scholarship — and people loved it and continue to talk about it.

9:04 — Andy continues with Heinz Ketchup which sponsored a contest of homemade commercials, and 10 million people ended up watching them. Andy says: 10 million people woke up and said, ‘let’s watch some ketchup commercials today ‘ — a phrase that’s never been said before in the history of mankind.

9:06 — Andy: Word of mouth marketing is 1) Giving people a reason to talk about you, and 2) Making it easier for those conversations to take place.

9:06 — Andy covers his 5 Ts of every WOM campaign:

1. Talkers — who will talk?

2. Topics — what will they say?

3. Tools — your part in helping the message spread.

4. Taking Part — your participation in the conversation to help it continue.

5. Tracking — how you track and measure your results.

9:07 — Andy: If an agency approaches you with a plan that beings with the third “T,” run away.

9:08 — Andy: Word of mouth is not social media. Social media is an incredible tool to help word of mouth. It accelerates it, it scales it up, but it only applies to the online part of word of mouth — and even then I’d argue that there’s more word of mouth being shared online by plain old-fashioned email.

9:09 — Andy: A heartfelt recommendation from a friend will beat a tweet any day.

9:10 — Andy: The point of word of mouth is to become a company worth talking about.

9:10 — Andy brings it back to his “love” topic.

9:10 — Andy: Love is nice, but it’s quiet. Romance is the special things that get us talking. They’re the big gestures we tell everyone about. These romantic moments that turn quiet love into shared love is these word of mouth topics.

9:11 — Andy shares his favorite example of how a new topic can renew love: Apple’s pink computers that saved the brand in the mid ’90s.

9:11 — Andy says it wasn’t system capabilities and techy stuff that got poeple talking about Apple, it was the colorful computers. And once they heard about the topic, those interested stoppped and then looked at what the machines could really do.

9:12 — Andy: Your topic is your carrier for your brand message, not the other way around. If you flip it, you’ll kill the conversation.

9:12 — Andy introduces the “chocolate problem.”

9:12 — Andy: When was the last time you ate chocolate and then immediately called up your friend and said, “Dude, I ate chocoloate!” It’s great, but we don’t talk about it.

9:13 — Andy’s favorite example of a company overcoming the chocolate problem is Google Maps, which began by being really easy to use, easy to slide around, etc — but soon the conversation died. Later, Google brought in satellite view, and each and every one of us looked at the top of our own house — which restarted the conversation. Later, they introduced traffic reports and still later, Street View.

9:15 — Andy says pillow talk about love is great, but it’s when people tell others that it really matters. Andy says it’s helping get this love in the open that we’re going to talk about today.

9:15 — Andy: Anything you can do to help people share however, whenever, and wherever you want — this is how word of mouth scales.

9:16 — Andy shares the potential math behind just a tell a friend form in terms of lead generation.

9:16 — Andy says you’ve got to get off the couch to earn love. You’ve got to engage, communicate, and make friends. It’s not going to work if you just sit in the ad department and fire off messages.

9:17 — Andy: Everyone agonizes about that first step: The getting out there and talking to people. But really, the first step is just to look for people who say nice things about you and say thank you.

9:17 — Andy shares his big idea: Would anybody tell a friend?

9:17 — Andy: This is a note you need to put in your boardroom and ask it every time you make something. You’ve got make your stuff big, smelly, stretchy — whatever — you’ve got to give it meaning.

9:18 — Andy: It’s not enough to make a good product. Everybody makes a good product. It’s not the same as being remarkable.

9:18 — Andy: You have two choices in this word: Be interesting or be invisible.

9:19 — Andy says this question is what raises the bar and forces people to ask, “How can we be better?”

9:20 — Andy: And this leads us to another interesting question: Are we having fun? Because if you’re not waking up every day dying to tell people about what you do, nobody else is either.

9:20 — Andy: Are you asking yourself how every day you could be making things a little better?

9:20 — Andy: This brings us to our big idea about “better.” We might not change the world in one action, but when we start fixing little problems, things get a little better — and soon, people start talking about us. There are so many giant things wrong with the world that we can’t fix, but there are a million little things we can do to make everything a little better each day.

9:20 — Andy the crowd off: Find a way to make people smile and make some love.

Tags: , , , , ,


  1. Live coverage recap from yesterday's Word of Mouth Supergenius - December 17, 2009

    […] Love or Marketing: How Word of Mouth Will Save Your Brand — with GasPedal’s Andy Sernovitz […]

  2. A recap of the amazing ideas shared at Word of Mouth Supergenius - December 28, 2009

    […] Love or Marketing: How Word of Mouth Will Save Your Brand — with GasPedal’s Andy Sernovitz […]

Featured Downloads

9 Things to Share That Start Conversations

Use the examples in this guide to help inspire ways to make your message more portable and shareable.

Read More

3 Must-Use Word of Mouth Marketing Tools

These tools will help you kick off any word of mouth campaign no matter what topic, industry, or budget.

Read More

The Top Four Tips for Multiplying Your Word of Mouth

These tips can help you get your marketing to do more work without a lot of extra effort.

Read More

10 Ways to Turn Around Negative Word of Mouth

The most effective ways to stop negative WOM with examples from Zappos, FedEx, Dell, and more.

Read More

The New Topics Worksheet

All word of mouth starts with a topic of conversation — a simple, portable, repeatable idea that gets people talking.

Read More

The Word of Mouth Action Plan

Create a complete word of mouth marketing plan using this worksheet’s eight simple steps.

Read More