An article published in The Wall Street Journal discusses the primary drivers of word-of-mouth conversations about brands. According to Ed Keller and Brad Fay’s book ‘Why Real Relationships Rule in a Digital Marketplace’, “90% of WOM conversations about brands take place offline, primarily face-to-face”. The authors argue that although online conversations can spread word of mouth to hundreds or thousands of people, it doesn’t give much credibility to a brand.
As a brand engagement agency, we are great advocates of real, face-to-face interaction, which by nature can introduce a more personal and intimate conversation with consumers. When you create great brand experiences that are worth talking about, people will then talk about it in both online and offline environments.
In today’s world, there is no doubt that social media can have a very strong impact in online conversations about brands. However, the research makes it clear that brands who have the desire of being social and generate conversation, a more powerful force is to create a real-world, face-to-face dialogue. Additionally, the authors point out that “these conversations bring with them greater credibility, a greater desire to share with others, and a great likelihood to purchase the products being discussed than conversations that take place online.”
Experiential marketing’s influence is greatest to engage conversations and offer consumers a chance to touch, feel, smell and experience your product in a more personal level. It creates an emotional connection with your brand that makes people want to share with their peers, especially if it’s a fun and playful experience.
To finish off, whilst Keller and Fay argue that TV advertising can act as a major driver of consumer conversation, to create successful brand engagement and encourage sharing and interaction, companies need to focus on making their brand relevant to their target group and being remarkable. Business will only be successful if they start speaking with consumers as individuals, and encourage two-way interactions to improve both consumer experience and reach.
What do you think? Do you agree that offline conversations offer better branding opportunities than online social media sharing? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your comment below or tweet us your thoughts to @Hotcow.