Wall Street Journal Online Posted May 14, 2012 By Ed Keller and Brad Fay The Facebook IPO has both the financial and marketing communities abuzz, and with good reason. Facebook is the king of the social media hill, and its growth and ability to attract a loyal and highly networked audience is to be admired. For brands, however, online social networks are far from the Holy Grail of marketing.  The research is increasingly clear and compelling that for brands that want to be social and generate conversation, a far bigger and more powerful force is real world, face-to-face conversation. It has been said that online social media is “word of mouth on steroids.” Key to that argument is a belief that online conversations will spread to hundreds or thousands of

By Ed Keller On May 22, Brad Fay’s and my new book, THE FACE-TO-FACE BOOK:  Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace, will be published.   You can download a free excerpt from the book here or buy it online here. As part of our research we looked at the history of word of mouth and social influence, and were reminded that the past is indeed prologue.  My first blog on this topic, reviewed the seminal work of Columbia Professors Paul Lazarsfeld and Elihu Katz – Personal Influence. Part two discussed the origins of word-of-mouth advertising in the 1960s and its relevance to today. In this third and final look back I turn to the Cluetrain Manifesto published in 1999. We live in the social media age of Facebook, Twitter,

By Ed Keller On May 22, Brad Fay’s and my new book, THE FACE-TO-FACE BOOK:  Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace, will be published.   You can download a free excerpt from the book here or find it online here. As part of our research we looked at the history of word of mouth and social influence, and were reminded that the past is indeed prologue.  My first blog on this topic, reviewed the seminal work of Columbia Professors Paul Lazarsfeld and Elihu Katz – Personal Influence .  Here I discuss the origins of word of mouth advertising and its relevance to today. The Advent of Word-of-Mouth Advertising As far as we have been able to determine, the phrase “Word-of-Mouth Advertising” was coined by Ernest Dichter who, in 1966,

By Ed Keller On May 22, my new book, The Face-to-Face Book:  Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace will be published.   Coauthored by Brad Fay, it is a book about the hugely important social wave that is rolling across the world of business today.  But unlike many books and articles argue that online social networks are creating this social wave, we argue that the largest and most important part of social influence is that which happens when conversations happen in the real world, face to face.  There is a vast array of tools and approaches that can be tapped by marketers to drive these real world conversations. You can download a free excerpt from the book here. While researching the book, I reviewed the history of word of

By Steve Thomson, Managing Director, Keller Fay UK UK consumers are talking more and more with their friends and relatives about the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic games, but the rise in buzz about the games is very gradual.  To date, football remains a much bigger talking point, particularly among men and many traditional sport fans.  Buzz is also much weaker outside of London and the South-East. These are the findings of the latest consumer research on word of mouth by the Keller Fay Group.  They are based on new, just released information from Keller Fay’s TalkTrack Britain® study, an ongoing research programme which tracks word of mouth in the UK on a continuous basis.  It is the only such research that looks at both offline as well as online

USA Today Online Posted April 29, 2012 By Ed Keller and Brad Fay What explains the spectacular success of Facebook? Does it represent the desire of people to go online to connect with each other, with brands and with information? Or does the rise of this social networking platform actually reflect a more fundamental human need — to connect in real life? It is easy to see Facebook’s success as a sign of dramatic change — in technology and in human relations. But a deeper look suggests that Facebook’s rise is merely Exhibit A of a much larger truth: Our modern society is not providing people with the human connections they crave, and online social networking is a rather poor substitute. Statistics show that more people than ever live alone

Conversations vs. Connections

Thursday, 26 April 2012 by

By Ed Keller MIT Professor Sherry Turkle wrote a powerful opinion piece in this past Sunday’s New York Times Sunday Review in which she draws a sharp distinction between conversations that take place face-to-face, in the real world, and connections that get made online through social networking sites. “We are tempted to think that our little ‘sips’ of online connections add up to a big gulp of real conversation,” she writes.  “But they don’t.  E-mail, Twitter, Facebook, all have their places – in politics, commerce, romance and friendship.  But no matter how valuable, they do not substitute for conversation.” Texting, emailing and online posting, she says, allow us “to present the self we want to be.  This means we can edit.  And if we wish, we can delete. Or retouch: 

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. 

Published: April 11, 2012 in Knowledge@Wharton It seems only logical that the more interesting a product is to consumers, the more they will talk about it. But the latest research from two Wharton professors suggests that when it comes to creating buzz-worthy advertising campaigns, how people communicate (e.g., whether they talk face to face or over email) is a big factor in determining what they discuss. In their paper titled, “How Interest Shapes Word-of-Mouth over Different Channels,” marketing professors Jonah Berger and Raghuram Iyengar explore the relationship between successful marketing and the methods used to spread it. The topic is especially timely in the digital age, when word-of-mouth relies largely on social media. Berger and Iyengar analyzed two unique sets of data involving thousands of everyday discussions across different conversation

By Ed Keller When people consume media together, either in-home or out-of-home, does it help or hurt advertising effectiveness? The argument that it hurts the advertiser is the “distraction” model, which argues that the presence of other people distracts people from on-screen content, reducing value to the advertiser. This is an argument put forth by Steven Bellman et al. in their 2011 paper “How Coviewing Reduces the Effectiveness of TV Advertising”. The argument that it helps the advertiser is the “social influence” model, which posits that the presence of other people leads to more emotional engagement and the sharing of advertising content, leading to higher ad effectiveness.  This is an argument that Brad Fay and I put forth in The Face-to-Face Book, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster/Free Press in May

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