Our friends at The Nature Conservancy are in the news again. The South Carolina chapter has been given a one million dollar grant through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Grant Program to protect habitat along the Black River in Georgetown County. This area is home to bald cypress trees that are more than 1,000 years old. The story has been reported on NPR as of this morning.
Our clients at Moe's Southwest Grill are winning some new fans this week. Students found a coupon in Tuesday's Daily Gamecock offering them a free burrito, no strings attached. 1300 were redeemed the first day at Moe's Columbia's Main Street location. The newspaper picked it up, and word of mouth was strong as well. We're excited about the response and Moe's growing fan base.
I read, with great interest, an article in the August 3 edition of Brandweek in which David Kenny, managing partner of Publicis Groupe’s VivaKi, stated:
“People are going to emerge from the current recession forever changed. The global recession has changed them. Environmental realities have changed them. New global leadership has changed them.”
In the next paragraph, Google CEO Eric Schmidt says just the opposite, arguing that those who think consumer frugality is here to stay “don’t understand the American psyche.” Quoted from an interview at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival this summer, Dr. Schmidt went on to say "the moment people feel more comfortable, they'll go back to spending large amounts of money—which is the American pastime."
When Schmidt speaks, you gotta listen. (He does have a vested interest in consumer credit card debt, it must be noted.) And yet I believe we are changed. The most recent data available from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the U.S. personal saving rate has climbed by 3.7 percentage points since the recession began, from 1.5 percent in fourth quarter of 2007 to 5.2 percent in the second quarter of 2009, a relative increase of almost 350 percent.
Perhaps the change will come simply because credit has become so expensive, and cash is in short supply. But as difficult as this recession has been, it does feel as if a bit of the Jones-chasing has lessened. Like many Americans, I am spending more time at home, more time with my family, and I am more focused on enjoying the experience, rather than rushing off for the next acquisition.
And that is a change for the better.
Sixth in a series analyzing seven new economy trends
According to Forrester Research, only 6 percent of American consumers agree with the statement: “Companies generally tell the truth in advertising.” No wonder Word of Mouth (in its many forms) has become the marketing rage of the recession.
Word of Mouth marketing, or WOM, is made up of countless subcategories that include viral, social, grassroots, cause, buzz, product seeding, and insider (or influencer) programs. A key tenant of WOM is that content or commentary is generated by the consumer rather than the marketer, thus the perception that the information that is shared is more credible. That information is shared consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-marketer.
It goes without saying (so why do I feel the need to say it?) that WOM works for you, or your organization, when you offer something people want to talk about. The more “talkable,” the faster communications will spread. By its very nature, the great power in WOM is the fact that it is exponential; i.e., I told two friends, who told two friends, who told two friends… . Keep this strategy in mind as you build your communications program, and add WOM components to it.
Start here: To whom are you talking? (It's an ages-old consideration.)
But then things take a bit of a new turn. With whom does he/she congregate? Where? What is it that links them? What is the basis for their shared interest? What do they talk about? What do they do?
Of course, many of these new communities are digital, so opportunities to intersect are endless. Just be sure you intersect with something that is “talkable,” and provide tools that make it easy for them to share their opinions. Then motivate your advocates to spread the word.
There is a new frontier out there, and it is fueled by interesting conversation. Go bravely toward it.