When woods whistle…pancakes sizzle

There is a discomfort in crowning W-O-M as a marketing tool (if it’s word of mouth, it needs no formulaic initiative right!!). But it is a necessary truth for any marketer. It is genuine. It can be contagious. And it can create good vibes for the brand more often than not. But W-O-M is meant to be subtle. Not choreographed. Then how does one ensure the right message gets whispered from ear to ear.

Look at the times when it has been attributed a bad name. The nefarious MMS clips & dirty pictures. The scandalous truths about celebrities & brands, takes new dimensions when it gets passed around. Then there are the good W-O-M examples: Like joke mails and the very irritating ‘blessings on the condition that you forward, else you will lose your two front teeth’ mails. It works alright. Who doesn’t want a pot of gold after 10 forwards & 15 minutes (that’s the condition really).

Today viral marketing is a nicely put together tool in the W-O-M series. And bloggers can celebrate brands or be their nemesis too. It’s the case of what I like to call, ‘when woods whistle, pancakes sizzle’. Sizzle & turn their delectable crispy brown or then get burnt with a bitter after taste.

Word of Mouth is about conversations. That you & I can have. At a coffee table. On the mobile while performing your morning ablutions (yikes!!). While dancing at a noisy discotheque. While doing small talk with a stranger at a bus stop. While trying to figure out whether we think alike. WOW. So many connection moments. All FREE OF CHARGE. Most of the time. With some initial investment.

WHAT CAN TRIGGER IT?

Anything from a surprising new packaging design or concept (Tata Nano), an experience of the brand when least expected (T-Mobile Airport Welcome song), happy moments created by the brand (what if Santa Singh was a T-shirt brand!!), a shock & awe maybe…there are tons of them if you start to think a bit. After all, who wouldn’t enjoy some fun & excitement in their lives?

Here is a whacked out example from Dodge Cars that created ample W-O-M…see it to believe it.

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Maybe the best way to get this started, is by giving a thought to what you would like to chat about with your friend. A whistle is surely a great way to attract his attention.

Eager to hear your stories on W-O-M that you can’t forget.

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Sandhya. Today viral is quite what word of mouth used to be. Of course that is restricting it to the internet happy people. I dont know if it can be done entirely without investment. Sometimes it is crucial that it isnt a flimsy way of creating wom. Avatar created tremendous buzz. But the funds were more than adequate too. Movie marketing can be a great example to look at for the buzziness.

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