The CEO of Zappos Tony Hsieh has 1.8 million followers on Twitter. In many marketing circles, he is something of a Twitter god, using the Twitter feed to promote Zappos and his way of thinking about business (as expressed in his book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose) to his many followers. Imagine my surprise, then, when I saw a TV interview with Hsieh, in which he said he dislikes the term social media. In fact, he dislikes it so much that anyone who uses it around him at Zappos owes him a dollar. It’s not just the use of the term social media; it’s the whole idea of it. “We have never had a strategy for Twitter or Facebook. . . So many companies are chasing

Banks and bankers have not had a good press over the last few years, with politicians, media commentators, and the general public seemingly having little good to say about them. For other financial services brands the picture is not quite so dire, but even so, brands in this sector appear to be tolerated rather than loved. Brand relationships are strictly platonic. Added to that, who wants to talk to friends about boring old banking and insurance brands?  So surely there must be very little positive word of mouth in this sector? Well, it’s true that financial services comes towards the bottom of the list of categories which people talk about – but not the very bottom.  29% of Americans had a conversation about this category in the past 24 hours,

Life in the Fast (Food) Lane

Tuesday, 12 July 2011 by

Today’s teens live in the fast lane – school, homework, extra-curricular activities like sports or band, a social life, and in many cases a part-time job take up much of their time.  They are on the go from early in the morning to late at night.  And often fast food is the quickest and easiest option to fuel their fast-paced lives. Recent Keller Fay research from TalkTrack®, our ongoing study of what people are talking about, both online and offline, shows that teens are also highly likely to talk about fast food, or QSR (Quick Service Restaurants):  20% of QSR WOM is among teens age 13 to 17.  And for some of the more popular brands, teens account for more than one-quarter of those talking about them (Burger King, 27%;

With the meteoric rise of social networking, marketers can be forgiven for thinking that word of mouth equals social media. This is wrong on two counts. Firstly, the overwhelming majority of word of mouth still occurs offline, not online. This is not an indictment of social media, but rather a reflection of just how large the volume of face-to-face word of mouth is. Because offline WOM is harder to measure, it’s often discounted. But that’s a mistake. There are important planning and evaluation implications that stem from this, and we have discussed them previously. The second problem with thinking WOM equals social media is that the role of the internet in word of mouth extends far, far beyond social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and FourSquare. The things people see

In his keynote speech to the Advertising Research Foundation’s recent media conference, New York Times columnist David Brooks talked about key themes from his new book, The Social Animal, that relate to marketing.  He told the audience of nearly 700 that he believes the primacy of emotion is one of the three most important “foundations” coming out of scientific inquiry in the fields of neuroscience and psychology.  “Emotions are central to how we think and to the wiring of the fibers of the brain,” he said. At the same conference, I presented a paper with MediaVest’s Emily Vanides on the topic, “Conversation Triggers:  Sparking Conversation with Advertising and Media.”  Consistent with the point made by Brooks, our research shows that strong emotional content is key to people’s desire to pass

Word of Mouth and the Internet

Monday, 20 June 2011 by

New research from Keller Fay and Google reveals new information on word of mouth and the Internet.  Click here to see the video.

Conversation Triggers

Tuesday, 14 June 2011 by

Ed Keller and Emily Vanides of MediaVest presented at the ARF AM 6.0 conference on June 13, 2011. Click here to see the presentation.

How do we know word of mouth drives sales? An important answer to this question comes from a new study that demonstrates the increasing importance of word of mouth as consumers get closer to making a purchase decision. Word of mouth advocacy has become a central objective for most marketers, and positive “WOM” is increasingly understood to be a leading contributor, ultimately, to sales. Separately, marketers and media planners use the concept of a “purchase funnel,” or “path to purchase,” as an organizing structure around which to craft messaging strategy. Despite advertisers’ intense focus both on word of mouth and on the path to purchase, there has been little focus on the relationship between these two “independent” marketing constructs: How does WOM dynamically change throughout the path to purchase? What

Tech talk needs to keep it real

Thursday, 26 May 2011 by

We know that consumers the world over – and we really do mean the whole world these days – love to talk about new technology and technology brands. Long gone are the days when tech talk was limited to enthusiasts waxing lyrical, plus nervous forays from more mainstream consumers making a big-ticket purchase. Many would regard the launch of the Apple Mac as the turning point – but we must remember that much of the word of mouth was stimulated by that commercial and other intensive marketing activity.  Now, it’s queues outside the stores, the world’s media are ready to spread the word for you, and of course ‘ordinary’ consumers are spreading it even further and faster. For sure, the generation gap has not disappeared altogether – Keller Fay data

One of our specialties at Keller Fay is influencer marketing. In fact, Brad Fay was a panelist just last week on two separate events in Chicago where he talked about influencers: The School of WOM conference from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (#womma), and the Digital Day sponsored by the Wall Street Journal (#wsjdd). We are pleased to announce our most current research, undertaken on behalf of Marina Maher Communications, a leading PR firm specializing in women and working on behalf of brand marketers such as P&G and Kimberly-Clark. The study, released last week by MMC, entitled “Influence-Hers”, finds that this group of consumers not only has large social networks and spreads the word to others, but that they themselves are surprisingly open to being influenced. But not just by anyone: