Rohit Bhargava: How to Create Buzzworthy Topics — live from Word of Mouth Supergenius

9:33 — Coach Kurt welcomes us to the room. 20 minutes of speakers, 5 min of Q&A and then a break, followed by the next session. He introduces Ogilvy PR‘s Rohit Bhargava.

9:34 — Rohit: We talk about Love, but I want to start with the opposite. What is the opposite of love?  Not hate — it is indifference. How are you going to get past indifference?

9:35 — Rohit:  If you think about the way we do marketing —  and we used to do it like a baby being fed — half or more goes elsewhere, on the floor. At the end of the day, the baby gets fed (the consumer gets the message) or it comes back all over you and you have to start over.

9:36 — Rohit: Shift in behavior — virtual trust — you will trust things that others may say. People say things online, and others may take it as truth, without knowing a real person behind it. In the world of virtual trust – how do you create things people will listen to?

9:37 — Rohit: What are “Buzzworthy Topics?”  Take innocent drinks: a fresh fruit drink brand from the UK. There’s a personality behind the brand. On the bottom of the carton, there’s a message: “Stop looking at my bottom.” In the winter, the bottles of product get hand-knit caps. You pay .50 pence extra – and it goes to charity. The bottles with the hats stand out.

9:38 — Rohit: Annual meeting of this company, innocent drinks, is open. Come to the office at juice towers, try out different products, taste test it and tell us if you like it.

9:39 — Rohit: Mentions Steve Busti of Austin, TX. The motto of the town is “Keep Austin Weird.” Steve runs a shop called Lucky Lizard on 6th Street — a retail shop that sells souvenirs. He created a uniquely Austin experience — Museum of the Weird. He has all sorts of weird stuff. His retail store has a unique hook.

9:41 — Rohit: Personality Hotels of San Francisco, CA.  Their comment cards have stick figures and you draw your reviews. Their best cards get framed and put on the wall.

9:42 — Rohit: Voodoo Donuts in Portland, OR. They have the unique distinction of being the place that inspired Homer Simpson’s donut fetish. They are one of the most unique donut places in the world. Bacon wrapped, skittles, all sorts of weird crazy donuts.

9:43 — Rohit: Gary Vanynerchuk of Wine Library TV became an internet personality for the way he introduces wine, but also the way he handles people. Someone suggested he was oversimplifying wine — traditional way to deal with wine vs. guy from NJ in a T-Shirt (Gary).  He created different websites: “Gary is sorry,” “Gary is Pissed off,” “Gary can Wine Nerd it all day.” You get 10 different sites and 10 different stories —  it has everything to do with giving you a personal connection to Gary.

9:45 — 3 steps: First, Choose the type of experience you want people to have. Product — People — Promotion.

Rohit: Product: Oil Can Henry’s — Gas station-like experience for an oil change — you stay in your car and a video camera tapes the mechanics. You can see what they’re doing.

Rohit: People: Zappos — they sell the same shoes as everyone else and their product doesn’t stand out. Their people are the remarkable part.

Rohit:  Old Spice Guy — In a promotion, he responded to Tweets by creating short replies on YouTube. He’s not really talking about OldSpice — he’s creating engagement. If you look at a promotion as a jump-start, it won’t fix your battery, but it will get you to someplace you can fix it.

9:48 — Rohit: whatever category you can focus on — that’s where you start.

Second, you need to find a good emotional trigger. Tap human emotions.

Belonging: 11 moms and Walmart — tapping into the blogger’s ego.

Rohit: Curiosity: — a website where anyone can send in a postcard about anything. Frank Warren (who runs the site) is a curator of secrets. People feel a connection by sharing secrets. As a reader, you want to see what happens next. Being part of a secret is compelling.

Rohit: Exclusivity: The VIP experience — Contra — a video game for kids who had the late 80s Nintendo system. It was a super hard game in which you couldn’t win with 3 lives.  You had to have a secret code to get 30 lives instead of 3 lives. It became the number 2 selling game, not because it was such a great game, but because you had a secret. You could get extra lives and be part of something. Two people in the room remembered the secret code.

9:51 — Rohit:  Third, Tell a shareable story on any platform. Telling stories is great, but they don’t always translate, and you don’t always remember them. A sharable story is “$5k builds a well for charity: water.” Stories are great for entertainment, but unless your marketing is for entertainment, you need a story people will remember and will be able to tell in any platform.

9:53 — Rohit: The reason the Old Spice guy is interesting is that this TV guy is responding, personally, on Facebook. Mr. Lucky’s Café in the Hard Rock Hotel in Vegas — Everyone knows the restaurants are loss leaders to get people in to gamble. They have a secret gambler’s special – steak, potato, and 3 shrimp for $7.77. Imagine you’re in Vegas, you’ve been out late, and you’ve lost your money. If you only have $8, you can go to Mr. Lucky’s and get the special. It’s a shared narrative — someone told you, and you can share with others.


Q: David  from Thirdway: If you were advising Old Spice what would you do next?

A: People want to meet this guy. I would take him on tour, get people meeting him, have my product with me, and change people’s perceptions.

Coach Kurt: Social media-wise — it’s a simple concept to respond in real-time. They took a guy from TV, put videos on YouTube, respond on Twitter and Facebook etc.

Q: Kim from CodeShop: Where do you begin? Do you start with what touches people? Or do you say “how do you impact human beings?”

A: If people asked me where I work or what I do — think about Intel — they embraced their inner nerds and have commercials with people who invented stuff — engineers in commercials.

Rohit:  What is the story people will tell, the sharable thing that matters to people? Give people who work with you a way to explain it to their moms.

Q: With the campaign, where are the things that get people talking? What generates buzz or what has impact?

A: Sometimes the buzz and the sales don’t correlate together. If I did an awareness campaign for Coke, it would be a waste of time. If you need to get people to hear about you, that’s one thing. But if people know you, start a different strategy.

Q: Alan Brody, iBreakfast: How do you test campaigns? How do you know what will work?

A: It’s tough to predict success and easy to predict failure. If you ask the marketers if they would share it with friends and they say no, it will be a failure. That’s not a perfect answer for success – but if most orgs could predict failure they’d be better off.

Q: You’re an agency, what about research?

A: Research is good when you don’t know who your customer is — but it won’t give you a solution unless it identifies something that no one else has ever thought of.  We don’t look at research in terms of what product should be — we look at what the ultimate message should be. Henry Ford — getting a faster horse vs. creating a car.

Love this live coverage? It’s all thanks to the hard work of the very talented Howard Greenstein.

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  1. Live coverage recap from yesterday's Word of Mouth Supergenius - July 21, 2010

    […] How to Create Buzzworthy Topics — with Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence’s Rohit Bhargava […]

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