Talkable Ideas from WOMMA

by Jeannie Walters

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I’ve been enjoying sitting in on the sessions at the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association‘s School of WOM this week. You know how these things go, a tidbit here and a great idea there. Interesting people, fun moments, and catching up IRL with some social media friends.

A common theme throughout the sessions is how to make your brand “talkable.” I like this term, because it gets to the very heart of the matter with word-of-mouth or viral ideas. Here are some of my favorite tidbits from the School of WOM so far:

1. Make your presentation slides tweetable.

Brian Solis, principal at the Altimeter Group and author of Engage!, showed how to do this in spades. Each slide had a single idea that was easy to tweet and relevant to many audiences. The audience in the room got the more detailed explanation, but every Tweeter there had something to quote. I also appreciated his view point of every audience is an audience with an audience of audiences.

2. Create content that is “liquid and linked.”

Another gem from Brian Solis. (I guess there’s a reason he’s a popular keynote?) Content that is culturally relevant and can flow through any medium. Love that.

3. Common sense alone is not enough for knowing what we don’t know.

Duncan Watts, a researcher at Yahoo and author of Everything Is Obvious Once You Know the Answer, discussed this dilemma in his interview with Virgina Miracle from Ogilvy. Watts pointed out how common sense was basically making many assumptions and putting ourselves in the place of other humans. While this is a tool in the toolkit, other research should be completed. I like this because often when I ask clients to conduct analysis or evaluations first, they balk at the idea. Watts pointed out how we judge the process based on the outcome, not the other way around. Interesting, but I’m still not sure what to conclude here. I may have to read the book and report back.

4. Test, learn and optimize. Then do it again.

This was one of several points from a session on location-based marketing. Aaron Strout and Mike Schneider, co-authors of the forthcoming book Location Based Marketing for Dummies, were some of my favorite presenters for personality alone. You can tell both these guys have too much knowledge in their head for a 45 minute workshop, so getting just the tip of the iceberg was pretty  fulfilling. LBM is moving so fast, and is still such a mystery, that the idea of jumping in and testing is key. Don’t wait for perfection. Don’t wait for big numbers. Jump in and stake your claim. We’re all figuring it out.

5. You don’t decide what’s talkable.

Geno Church and John Moore want you to spark conversations, not control them. Both had examples of when something small, like a sandwich bag or a personal note from a salesperson, sparked conversations brands had never intended. You can try to decide what your customers will discuss, but it’s better to leave it up to them. (Side note, Geno is co-author of the book Brains on Fire with Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, and Spike Jones, which I highly recommend!)

6. Mobile is not only the next big thing, it’s the now big thing.

Angry Birds was just the beginning. Mobile is taking over in a big way. I liked the way Jack Philbin outlined the critical decision points when considering a mobile strategy: Time + Location + Interaction.

7. Marketing can create profitable experiences as part of the marketing effort.

I want to go to Pop Tart World. I’m not even a big fan of the rectangular concoctions, but after seeing video of the experience, I wish I had gone to the temporary branded store in New York City. It was not only a powerful branded experience, it was a successful retail endeavor. The marketing paid for itself and it was talkable in all sorts of ways. Emily Buchanan of MSL New York and Scott Schoessel of Gigunda Group did a nice job describing the surprises that come along with a branded experience of this scale. More customers, more press and more benefits than were expected – what’s not to love?

The crux of all the case studies is this – Talkable ideas are really about thinking through the experience and designing it for your customers.

Have you thought of how you can create memorable experiences?

Photo Credits: Alx & Paull Young (Disclosure: The book links in this post are affiliate links, but these opinions are my own.)

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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