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:

Yes, the weather, football, and – in recent days at least – the Royal Family.  But, through Keller Fay Research, we know that most Brits like to talk about the products and services they use, and the brands they love and hate. Social media is facilitating many of these conversations, of course, but word of mouth (WOM) about brands is as old as branding itself, and it has not gone away as a primary medium of conversation.  So in the UK (like the US and most probably other countries), we know that the overwhelming amount of brand-related discussion continues to take place offline – at home, in the office, on the bus, and at the school gate.  As Mark Ritson recently noted, it may be somewhat naive to expect consumers

How Social are Social Media, Really?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 by

There have been some interesting studies recently about social media which raise some interesting questions for advertisers. In late March came a study from Yahoo, which reported that 50% of all tweets come from only 20,000 users, or 0.05% of the Twitter universe.  Far from a “flat” highly “democratic” means of communications, that connects everyone to everyone else, the Yahoo authors conclude that Twitter more closely resembles a traditional broadcast model in which a small number of “elite users” push out content, rather than a true two-way dialogue that many assume when they talk about Twitter.  “Information flows have not become egalitarian by any means,” say the authors.  In discussing the Yahoo research, econsultancy led with the headline, “Twitter isn’t very social: Study”. In early April came a report by

With the NBA playoffs just getting started, it’s an opportune time to see how word of mouth for the league is faring this year versus last, and which NBA teams are the most dominant when it comes to word of mouth. Among NBA fans, word of mouth levels are up considerably this year versus a year ago.  Starting with an off-season spike in conversation when LeBron James announced “the decision,” the NBA began its season with higher levels of word of mouth and has sustained that advantage for most of the NBA season.  By late March, more than 10% of NBA fans were talking about the sport on a typical day, up more than 40% from a year ago.  This is according to Keller Fay’s TalkTrack®, a continuous study of

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