Why you need ‘words’ to drive word-of-mouthApril 23, 2012
By Steve Thomson, Managing Director, Keller Fay UK
In his latest blog, UK ad legend Dave Trott bemoans the trend for ads which are “beautifully made, but dull and invisible to anyone outside advertising”. Trott’s frustrated with risk-averse clients settling for easy-to-like campaigns which have little of any substance to say.
Crucially, Trott feels that the expensive, vapid ads he refers to have weak viral properties, and fail to realise the potential of increasing advertising ROI by “getting noticed, getting word of mouth, and getting repeated”. But here we’re not talking about assessing viral property in terms of Facebook likes or shares, it’s about what he calls ‘real viral’ (not ‘internet viral’) – getting people to spread your ideas and brand propositions and not just a 30-second piece of entertainment. Crucially, Trott feels that Opinion Formers (as opposed to Opinion Followers) are more receptive to challenging, less predictable ads that really have something to say (and not just something to show).
As it happens, we’re often asked to outline ‘the best way’ for a brand to generate word of mouth in the real world. We’re at pains to point out that there is no magic formula – any type of advertising or promotional activity has the potential to do the job if it’s done well. In other words, there’s no substitute for a strong creative, and most of all you have to leave the consumer with something they can and want to talk about. There has to be a story worth sharing. You need, as Trott says, ‘‘’ideas’ and ‘words’, not just executions”.
And if you want your brand messages to resonate (as Dave Trott puts it) “at the pub, at Starbucks, on the train, in the street”, you really do need people to talk about your brand, not just quickly click a ‘share’ button.