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The fundamental consumer motivations behind offline and online word of mouth — Live from the Measurement Pre-Conference

Coverage of this session by Kristen Platt of Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

2:10 —’s Megan Uithoven introduces University of Rochester’s Assistant Professor of Marketing at Simon Graduate School of Business, Mitch Lovett.

2:11 — Mitch will talk about a study he conducted on the DNA of talkable brands. In the study, he asked, “How predictable is the word of mouth brands are getting?” He concluded characteristics of the brands drive fundamental motivations from customers to spread the word of mouth.

2:12 — Consumer motivations: Need for esteem, info, avoidance of risk or embarrassment, & a desire to converse and connect.

Mitch shares the brand DNA of WOM:

  • Functional (informational demand): Age, complexity, type of good, knowledge
  • Social (signaling things about yourself and connecting with others in conversation): Differentiation, quality, visibility
  • Emotional (balancing emotions): Excitement, satisfaction.

2:15 — Mitch says that emotional is the most important driver of word of mouth offline, and social is the most important driver online.

2:16 — Mitch: Social media is really old. In fact, we used to just call it “conversation.”

2:17 — In the study, he analyzed 700 of the most talked about brands in the U.S. He retrieved offline WOM data from the Keller-Fay database and online WOM data from the Nielsen-McKinsey Incite.

2:18 — Mitch used a long collection of brand characteristics for the analysis. The analysis is a Bayesian Statistical Model.

2:20 –Results overview: All drivers play a role, and most brand characteristics play a role. BUT, their relative importance differs between the online and offline channels.

2:21 — Mitch: People are using online channels more socially to signal things about themselves than they are offline.

2:22 — Brand characteristics: Differentiation, esteem, and visibility are stronger online than offline. These characteristics shape the content of the conversation.

2:23 — When people talk about an exciting brand, do they express excitement? They sampled 41 brands over 1 year and studied the characteristics differentiation, excitement, and esteem.

2:24 — Mitch: Why do some brands have more word of mouth? Because they have better brand characteristics (listed above).

2:25 — Mitch has created a spreadsheet that calculates what a brand’s expected WOM is on his website.

2:27 — Mitch: Online and offline performance need not be the same.

2:29 — Brand characteristics are associated with the quantity, channel, and content of WOM.

Our results shed light on how to better:

  • Build talkable brands
  • Identify a brand’s WOM potential
  • Invest in the appropriate channel for the brand

2:30 — Bottom line: A “takable” brand is one that understands the value of differentiation, visibility and esteem on both offline and online channels.

Q & A:

Q: Can you give an example of a particular brand’s analysis based on your data?

A: Dove is an over-performer offline and online. The fact that it over-performs on both channels is a very positive thing for the brand. This means they’re probably doing the right level of investment into their strategies.

Q: What’s the biggest mistake that you see all of us brands making?

A: They think about social media as a separate element from their advertising strategy. The earn, paid, and owned elements should be driven together and flown through the customer touchpoints. All the messages need to flow through together.

Q: When did the study end? Did any of the quality change with the economy financial collapse?

A: Our study ran from 2008-2010. You do see an influence from the economy in the later models.

Q: Are you measuring a difference between organic reach and paid?

A: All of this is about organic word of mouth. I have another study that looks at paid vs. owned.

December 9, 2013 0 comments

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