8 reasons why word of mouth is so powerful

1.  People rate w-o-m as their most potent source of new business or reliable information. You know the scene: You are making a choice or dealing with an unfamiliar problem. You are not sure what to do. It could be a major purchase, or even just deciding what film to see. You ask a friend, or the friend tells you: “It’s supposed to be good.” A recommendation that probably determines your decision.

2. Lack of a direct, positive experience is usually the single greatest factor holding back any decision from greater and faster acceptance. Learning the lessons of emergence theory, the smaller the step you have to take in a decision the more likely you will take it.

3. w-o-m is custom tailored to the audience. You do not get bombarded with recommendations from a trusted source because people do not recommend things unless they think you are potentially interested.

4. You pay more attention to the w-o-m recommendation because it is perceived to be more relevant, and more complete, than any other form of communication.

5. w-o-m is also self-generating. The replicating nature of memes provides a self-propelling message – you hear something which you then tell to someone who in turn tells someone else; the population of theUKcan be reached by 10 people telling 10 people and just repeating this process six times.

6. The source of the w-o-m is crucial. Initial stages of w-o-m are sustained by people who are influencers able to impart their qualified information to wider groups.

7. Often w-o-m can be negative. Positive experiences are expected, and soon forgotten, whereas negative situations gets people frustrated and angry, consequently energizing their output of negative w-o-m. In managing negative w-o-m you can harness this reality in a constructive way.

8. Providing some negatives in your communications – to feed into your wom – can be more reassuring than just simply including positives. The negatives can add credibility to your message providing an ‘inoculation effect’

These tips are just a few of the 101 different tips an ideas being offered to public relations and marketing professionals in the first ‘Word of Mouth and Viral Marketing course being run by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

The half day training course takes place in Londonon the afternoon of Friday November 11th. Places are limited, to book your place visit www.cipr.co.uk or ring 0207 631 6900.

The course has been devised and will be delivered by Andy GreenFCIPR. His book ‘Effective Personal Communication Sills for PR’, part of the Institute’s PR in Practice series, was one of the first PR texts to cover word of mouth and memes.

Sharing examples from the work of Edward Bernays to the latest cutting edge campaigns, you will go away telling your friends how you can manage your word-of-mouth, how to create positive messages about you, what you do and what you stand for.


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