5 ways storytelling can drive brand relevancy

A purchase decision is neither a transparent nor logical process. More often than not it comes down to habit or gut feeling, in equal measures the bane of marketers lives and the Holy Grail. Driving relevancy of your brand in the eyes of consumers is paramount to disrupting purchase behaviour and driving trial of your products; here are five reasons why enabling consumer-led story telling will help.

Telling stories can drive brand relevancy

1. Stories tell the truth

Consumers are savvy; they know that advertising says what the brands want it to and, while this may convey key product benefits or points of difference, this may not be relevant to the consumer. Friends, on the other hand, will share their real experiences with the product and what’s more, will likely tailor these to ensure the story they tell is relevant to their conversation partner’s needs.

2. Stories change perceptions

Stories enable brands to be presented in a different light; crucial if a product has been side-lined by a cooler, more innovative, more (insert own adjective here) competitor or if it needs to establish relevancy amongst a new demographic. If your sister raves about a product you’d previously considered to be a bit old fashioned, you’ll be more likely to try it yourself.

3. Stories give brands a face

Letting consumers know where the brand comes from and who the people behind it are, makes it more trustworthy and credible. And, in this post-truth world, people crave honesty and authenticity. Telling your story enables consumers to construct a mental picture of your brand, a picture which takes them beyond the functional benefits that they might otherwise have used to compare your brand with your competitors.

4. Stories create shared values

…and shared values drive relevancy as they build connections to other aspects of a person’s life and belief system. So, consumers buy your products not only because of the price and quality but also because of the intangible values they represent. This is especially true in the current political landscape where consumers want to know that the brands they buy support their belief systems (take a look at The Stop Funding Hate or #boycotttrump campaigns). It’s no longer just about buying a product– it’s about being part of the story.100%

5. Stories are easily spread

What are you more willing to talk with your friends about – a product alone? Unlikely. You’ll share your experiences with the product or the interesting story behind a brand, which not many people have heard of before. Stories are what stay in our minds; they can be funny, shocking, moving or inspirational, but there must be an emotional connection and people must feel something; indifference is the nemesis of relevance.

Brands are no longer formed by themselves, (but by the views of consumers)[ https://company.trnd.com/en] and those that manage to generate an emotional connection are most likely to succeed in achiveing long lasting relevance.


For more info on bridging the gap between brand and consumer, get in touch. We’ll show you how to integrate your consumers into the marketing process.

5 ways to harness the behaviour of millennials to benefit your brand

From this year, millennials (officially, those born between 1980 and 1996) will spend upwards of $200 billion dollars annually and become the largest generation on the planet. If you’re looking to future proof your marketing strategy then gaining the attention of these point-of-entry buyers should rank pretty highly on your to-do list. Here are 5 ways you can amplify the human behaviour of this demographic to drive tangible benefits to your brand.

marketing-to-millennials2

1. Respect the individual

Millennials are a broad and diverse demographic. This means that stereotyping simply won’t wash. To effectively navigate this, brands need to get to know and then to respect the unique and individual nature of their consumer base.

2. Start the conversation

Increasing numbers of millennials expect a dialogue with the brands that they consume and it’s up to brands to make the first step. Whether this is interesting and relevant questions on your website or social media channels, or a bespoke activation campaign that allows you to communicate directly and effectively with the right people.

3. Be authentic

This generation grew up surrounded by advertising and can see through it immediately, take the recent controversy over Kendall Jenner’s ad for Pepsi co., for example. According to Nielson, the most trusted form of advertising is direct, word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family, which means if you can engage your customers to speak highly of your brand then you’re already winning.

4. Respond to criticism

More so than their parents’ generation, millennials will read numerous reviews before they make a purchase. Keep a close eye on the reviews you get and address negativity immediately. While, you’re at it, encourage positive and authentic reviews from your consumers. Consider a campaign that is specifically design to generate detailed and considered UGC.

5. Be patient

It can be easy to assume that with younger audiences, you’ll see quicker returns but, alas, this isn’t the case. Young audiences, however, do far more than make impulsive buys, they form intense brand loyalty. By targeting young people in effective ways and at the point of market entry, advertisers have the opportunity to build and cement brand relationships that last well beyond a 5-minute trip to the shops.

For more info on amplifying the human behaviour of your consumers to drive tangible benefits for your brand, get in touch.


Let trnd help your brand fly in 2017…

… and we’ll split the bill of your next marketing campaign.

Let trnd help your brand soar in 2017


Sound good? Read on.

What’s in it for you?

  1. We’ll put your product in the hands of consumers and everyday influencers.
  2. We’ll get people talking about you offline and creating authentic and credible UGC online.
  3. We’ll collect valuable insights from the people who love your brand the most to help you future proof your brand.

Here's how you can get involved:

  1. Tell us who you are and outline your marketing goals for 2017, by answering a few quick questions
  2. Come and say hello at our stand at Marketing Week Live on 8-9 March

What’s in it for us?

We love to help brands and their consumers work together, so to celebrate Marketing Week Live our goal is to co-invest in tailor-made trnd campaigns (up to 50% of the budget) for three companies, designed to help their brand soar in 2017.

This offer is now closed.

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5 reasons to attend MWL2017

After the success of Marketing Week Live ’16, we’re back to take on the UK’s most reputable multi-disciplined marketing exhibition. It doesn’t matter where you sit in the marketing industry – Marketing Week Live is a must attend for all.

Get your pass for MWL

1. Meet the MDs

Rebekah and Paul, the joint MDs of trnd UK will be speaking live about the work that we do here at trnd. Find out how to activate your consumers to deliver strategic objectives and deliver long-term advocacy.

2. Experience collaborative marketing through the eyes of your consumers…

…and get some free sweets! Pay us a visit and you’ll get the chance to try a selection of sweets that aren’t yet available on the market. Give us your thoughts on the flavour and packaging and contribute to the development of the product.

3. Discover something new

Whatever challenge your business is facing, you’re sure to get a fresh perspective. Choose from a mixture of practical, hands on, expert advice, and inspirational case studies from some of the most disruptive brand marketing campaigns of the moment.

4. Learn more about consumer behaviour

Consumer behaviour is changing faster than anyone expected. Learn how the current political and social landscape is affecting the industry and how you can future-proof your brand.

5. Meet the Hollywood A-list

Oscar-winning director, Asif Kapadia, behind documentaries ‘Amy’ and ‘Senna’ will be opening day two. He recently directed Burberry’s Christmas ad and will speak about new approaches to storytelling and how creative video content can engage a new generation of fans.

Register for your pass now

Check out the full agenda

Timpson recognisers the power of the individual

At trnd we're firm believers that consumers should play the leading role in marketing. But sometimes, like in this blog series, we're happy to call out a brand doing something great. This month: Timpson, a company that recognises the importance of the individual.

Timpson, Market Place, Wetherby, West Yorkshire.



Remember Black Cat Wednesday back in Jan (when top CEOs made as much by lunchtime as their average worker will make all year) and the subsequent calls for a cap on bosses’ wages? It's heartening to see that some Chief Executives take a refreshingly different approach, John Timpson being one of them.



‘Top 10 best companies to work for’


The company has a final salary pension scheme in place, owns holiday homes for workers and staff get their birthdays off as standard, add to this, the bonuses for exceeding targets that all workers are entitled to and you’re seeing the beginnings of a dedicated and diligent workforce.

John and his team ensure that staff, from executives to sales assistants, reap the rewards of their work. In 2007, to celebrate huge success over the previous 20 years of trading, Timpson launched the "Dream Come True" programme for staff which, over 12 months, paid for eye operations, reunited families and sent staff on dream trips to Australia. The business has won countless awards, and been in the top 10 of the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For every time it has entered.

When motivated and rewarded, people tend to go above and beyond. In other words,focussing on earning and nurturing a long lasting trust is as important for your workforce as it is for your consumers.

Ex-offenders


Timpson also work closely with ex-offenders, employing more than any other business and running pre-release training in several prisons. It is thought that less than 3% of Timpson employees reoffend compared to 61% in general and as Timpson puts it “We use exactly the same standards we use when recruiting … (non-offenders) … in the knowledge that so few other companies are willing to give them a job, we have the pick of a talented bunch.” Here, we can see parallels with the world of marketing. Stereotyping can be harmful to both the customer (or in this case, the staff) and the business (the employee). Once individuals are seen as just that and their unique strengths and experiences are taken into consideration we begin to reap the rewards of collaborative marketing.


‘Blindingly obvious’


Their success is well deserved and is in no small part down to the committed and hard-working workforce, as John puts it "If you treat people well, it is blindingly obvious that they will do a good job." Quite.

5 strong cases for UGC

Brands are no longer dictating the communication agenda, now consumers hold the power. Here are five good reasons why you should leverage user-generated content if you want to boost sales (who doesn’t?) and increase customer engagement plus brand loyalty.

UGC

1. Drives sales / impact purchase decision

Displaying UGC like reviews in your online store helps increase conversions – because consumers trust the opinions and experiences of people like themselves. This goes for offline shopping too - 82% of shoppers consult their phones about a purchase they’re about to make in-store, so make sure there are credible reviews for them to find when researching your product. A way to overcome barriers to purchase for new customers could be a Q&A with your community, where consumers can ask and answer questions like “How was the fit?” or “Does it look like in the picture?”. Don’t have a community? Start here.

2. Saves you cost

Advertisements with UGC content get 4x higher click-through rates. Plus, user-generated content is 35% more memorable than other media (Ipsos Millenial Social Influence Study, 2014), meaning you don’t need to advertise as much for people to remember you. Using your UGC across several channels can make a little content go a long way for marketing.

3. Builds trust & Adds credibility

UGC is 50% more trusted [than other media] (Ipsos Millenial Social Influence Study, 2014), so adding it to your marketing campaigns will make them more credible. Consumers don’t want to hear about the product functionalities only from the brand who they know are trying to convince them of the benefits, they want to hear from existing customers (‘real’ people like them) who have first-hand experience with the product.

4. Drives engagement & customer happiness

Seeing their images and reviews showcased by their favourite brand will make customers feel special and valued. Brands who demonstrate that they care about what their consumers think, and understand that people appreciate and trust the opinion of others, will see the start of a positive loop where UGC drives customer engagement which in turn drives more UGC!

5. Customer insights

Seeing how your product is portrayed and described by you customers can give you a better understanding of how people perceive and use your product. Plus it can inspire new customers to different uses and applications. And don’t be scared of the negative reviews – they might give you priceless insight into how to improve your product. Maybe you’ll get ideas for new features, and what flavour/colour/extension/update to launch next!

Plus: Proven success from other brands

Hansgrohe
Bathroom specialist Hansgrohe struggled with low consumer awareness. By engaging directly with consumers and encouraging them to share photos and reviews of their showerheads, Hansgrohe increased its social share of voice tenfold. With real life content incorporated into their branded content they also stood out in the competition.

Starbucks – White Cup Contest
In 2014, Starbucks invited people to draw on plain white Starbucks cups and submit photos of their creation under the Twitter hashtag #WhiteCupContest. During three weeks the brand received entries from nearly 4,000 consumers and the campaign generated an enormous amount of social media buzz.

Innocent
In 2003 Innocent started a collaboration with their consumers to knit little hats for the brand’s smoothie bottles and pledged to donate 25p to charity Age UK for each bottle sold. The campaign, ‘The Big Knit’, has now been running for 13 years and Innocent’s fans have knitted over five million hats, raising over 1.7 million pounds!

Watch the recording

The recording from our 30-minute webinar 'Integrate your marketing with your consumers, not with itself' is now available to watch whenever you want!

webinar recording

Watch the recording »

Watch the recording to discover:

  1. How to make the most trusted form of marketing – peer-to-peer recommendations – scalable, plannable and measurable.

  2. How brands can market with their consumers, not at them, to deliver a really integrated marketing campaign.

  3. How Brut Deodorant successfully collaborated with their consumers to drive sales, and achieved a £4 to £1 ROI!

Click here to watch the recording »

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Freixenet reaches 186,214 prospective customers with trnd campaign

In summer 2016 quality Spanish wine producer Freixenet introduced their latest product development Freixenet ICE - a new way to drink cava, over ice and mint. In need of a strong activation campaign that would drive trial and awareness of the new cava, Freixenet worked with trnd and reached 186,214 prospective customers through a Collaborative Marketing campaign.

Freixenet-trnd-community

Photo by trndster benskinley

Aiming to launch Freixenet ICE with a bang and grow their existing consumer base, Freixenet partnered with trnd to create a Collaborative Marketing campaign which encouraged trnd community members to become co-marketers for Freixenet and introduce ICE to friends and family, driving trial and awareness of the refreshing drink.

Identifying the best co-marketers

trnd worked with Freixenet to clearly define the target audience criteria. 4,643 community members applied and of the 1,000 chosen to become co-marketers 99% often drank sparkling wine, 83% tried new drinks and 100% visited new places on a regular basis.

Experiencing and sharing Freixenet ICE

trnd equipped the participants with three bottles of Freixenet ICE to share, a project handbook, an ICE booklet with info on how to pour 'the perfect serve' and research sheets to collect their friends' opinions.

Over the course of the four weeks, trnd inspired and motivated the participants through blog posts and newsletters, and supplied them with everything they needed to discover, share and trigger conversations about Freixenet ICE.

Delivering credible recommendations

Across the campaign the 1,000 participants went on to become real advocates of Freixenet and worked alongside the brand to reach 26,231 people directly, meaning that each member shared Freixenet ICE with 26 people. These people in turn spoke to an additional six people each, delivering a total offline reach of 186,214 prospective customers.

“Loved this project and loved sharing my ICE Cava with friends and family. They have been buying this since testing because it has such a good taste and it's really enjoyable. Would really advise to anyone to buy and try this drink!”

– Project participant Domodavies

From the 3,000 bottles distributed, 813,125 unique trials were generated, about 4.4 unique trials per bottle.

Of the consumers taking part in the project, the majority truly became brand advocates with 96% stating that they would recommend Freixenet ICE. In addition, 86% will definitely or probably buy the product in the future.

“As consumers in the UK are becoming more and more receptive to sparkling wine, we needed a strong activation campaign that would allow consumers to reappraise cava and try our new Freixenet ICE. By working with trnd in developing a word-of-mouth campaign, we were able to expand our existing consumer base and more importantly recruit brand advocates.”

Liza Madrigal, Marketing Director, Freixenet

Download the full case study here »


5 reasons to invest in WOM

Word-of-mouth marketing isn’t just a nice to have. It’s a plannable, measurable and sales-driving marketing tool. We share five facts that prove word of mouth should have a given place in your marketing plan.

offline conversation

1. Nine out of ten conversations happen offline.

It might be hard to believe in this time and age where people seem to engage more with the smartphones in their hands than with each other, but people do still talk in the real world. And these conversations have an impact on sales. A study by WOMMA found that two thirds of the conversations that result ultimately in a sale happen offline, not online.

2. You don’t need broadcast marketing to achieve reach.

In our recent Freixenet campaign we activated 1,000 people to spread the word about a new Freixenet ICE cava, reaching 26,231 people directly through conversations. They in turn spoke to another 159,983 prospective customers. That’s 186,214 people reached by credible, personal recommendations, starting with the brand only targeting 1,000.

3. WOM drives sales.

A study by WOMMA measured the impact of consumer word of mouth in six different categories, and found that online and offline consumer conversations and recommendations accounted for an average of 13% of consumer sales.

A campaign we ran for deodorant Brut resulted in incremental sales of £101k and an ROI of £4 to £1 for the Brut brand, and £21 to £1 for Unilever’s overall deodorant category.

4. WOM enhances the impact of other marketing.

Not only does WOM have a direct impact on sales, but it boosts the effectiveness of your other marketing efforts, too: WOM amplifies the effect of paid media by 15%.

5. WOM works for all products.

People want to share their experiences and offer help and support to others in the same situation. One of our most successful campaigns was one for incontience products. Equip your consumers with the right tools and support, and they will spread the word about the untalkable.

So when laying down your marketing plan, don’t dismiss WOM as just a nice to have. Done right, it could give you an incredible ROI.

Get in touch for how to get started »


Integrate your marketing with your consumers, not with itself

Join our 30-minute webinar 8th December and find out how your brand can market with your consumers, not at them, for a truly integrated marketing strategy.

webinar-december

Register here »

As marketers we invest hugely in integrated marketing strategies. However, the most trusted and influential form of marketing is personal recommendations between consumers, happening offline and out of reach. If we’re not tapping into and developing this opportunity, how ‘integrated’ are we really?

  • 83% of consumers trust the recommendations of friends and family and say they take action on these opinions. (Nielsen)
  • An offline word-of-mouth impression drives at least 5x more sales than a paid advertising impression. (WOMMA)

In our 30 minute webinar 8th Dec (2pm), we’ll talk about how your brand can scale one-to-one conversations, participation, involvement and collaboration with your consumers, facilitating a truly integrated marketing strategy.

You will learn:

  1. How to make the most trusted form of marketing – peer to peer – scalable, plannable and measurable.

  2. How brands can market with their consumers, not at them, to deliver a really integrated marketing campaign.

  3. Case studies: How other brands have successfully collaborated with their consumers to build their brand, boost sales and future-proof their marketing.

Register here »


Adidas recognises the power of everyday football influencers

At trnd we're avid fans of putting the consumer rather than the brand on stage in marketing. But sometimes, like in this blog series, we're happy to call out a brand doing something great in the spirit of collaboration. This month: Adidas, a brand that recognises the marketing power of regular football enthusiasts.

adidas tango squad

Earlier this year Adidas launched the Tango Squad – a community of socially savvy teenage football enthusiasts and content creators. The service gives fans of the brand a chance to try the latest Adidas gear before anyone else, and gives them access to exclusive content before it's made public in the brand’s social media channels.

The Tango Squad (named after one of their first footballs) is an attempt from Adidas to tackle the fact that 70% of global brand referrals happen on dark social rather than on channels where the brand is able to track what is being said.

Many brands are missing out on the opportunities in areas not measured by web analytics, such as links sent via email, online forums or private instant messenger platforms like WhatsApp, not to mention offline conversations between friends. With the Tango Squad, Adidas is hoping to tap into the potential of these exchanges via the squad members spreading the word about the brand to their peers.

“If it comes as a referral from your mate, you’re much more likely to pick it up than if it comes from a brand,” says Florian Alt, Adidas senior director of global brand communications.

Adidas acknowledges that giving a piece of content to a celebrity influencer might reach a million followers, but the message is far more authentic if you give it to 500 kids, each with 2,000 followers.

The launch of the Tango Squad is part of Adidas’ aim to be a responsive brand, and allows the brand to work on co-creation with consumers. The Squads are based in 15 key cities worldwide, and Adidas hopes to reach 500 members per squad by 2017.

“The kids really appreciate the opportunity to engage with the brand,” says Florian Alt.


Read more: Adidas on redefining influencer marketing through dark social

5 insights about truly integrated marketing

Integrated marketing means being consistent in your marketing across all channels to make sure that consumers understand your marketing message. But understanding doesn't necessarily mean they'll embrace it, pass it on or act on it.

Integrated cogwheels

1. There’s a gap in brand storytelling

After planning a marketing campaign and investing in all the latest tech to broadcast the message brands can often only sit back and hope consumers will pick up their message and continue to talk about their brand in the real world, spreading the message as intended. But this can’t be guaranteed. There’s a gap in the line of communication between what brands are broadcasting, and what consumers are discussing peer to peer.

2. People don’t talk in marketing slogans

Advertising copy is an alien language in everyday conversations. You’d rarely hear someone describing a lipstick to their friend saying that it “moisturises with 3x the power of a lip balm”. It’s much more likely they’d talk about that night out when they had dinner and wine and the lipstick stayed put all night, so that’s why it’s great. Brands use ambitious marketing language, but consumers will talk practical benefits connected to their own experiences when discussing a product.

3. Integrated for what?

If the messaging doesn’t resonate with the consumer, it doesn’t matter how integrated it is. The carefully created story that merges beautifully across all your channels will end once you’ve hit broadcast.

4. Bridging the gap will boost conversations

Bringing consumers into the marketing process is a way to bridge the gap between brands’ marketing messages and consumers’ conversations. Brands marketing with their consumers, rather than talking at them, allows for brands to sync their messages with the language consumers use to talk about them; ultimately giving people the tools they need to spread the word further.

5. You should integrate your marketing with your consumers, not with itself.

While ambitious marketing campaigns may drive attention, what’s more likely to drive the actual purchase is a recommendation from a friend. Integrating your marketing with the people who’ll drive these recommendations is what will make your marketing truly impactful on sales.

Watch the replay of our latest webinar

Although there's heaps of technology available to marketers today, marketing is still fundamentally human. Our latest webinar gives you practical advice on how to use tech to trigger, nurture and boost human connections between your brand and your consumers.

webinar recording

Watch the recording here »

People talk to each other out of earshot and out of control of our brands. There’s a gap between where marketing ends and human conversations begin. Bridging that gap and encouraging and boosting those word-of-mouth conversations can significantly increase recommendations and sales of a product.

This 30-minute webinar will give you practical advice on how to use technology to trigger human storytelling, one-to-one conversations and human connections between brands and consumers.

You will learn:

  1. How to use technology to spark consumer conversations and recommendations about your brand, at scale
  2. How to extend the reach of your marketing by collaborating with consumers who will carry your message for you
  3. How other brands have used technology to make human connections with their consumers that result in increased sales (3 case studies)

Watch the recording »


Integrated Live: How ‘integrated’ are we really?

Want to grow your brand by getting your consumers to do your marketing for you? Grab a free ticket to Integrated Live and we’ll show you how.

Grab your free Integrated Live ticket here »

trnd at Integrated Live Come see us at stand E65, Integrated Live, ExCel London, 16-17th November


As marketers we invest hugely in Integrated Marketing strategies. However, two thirds of the most influential and trusted branded conversations happen offline and out of reach, so how ‘integrated’ are we really?

This is what we'll discuss in our talk at Integrated Live.

Content Theatre, 12:30 - 12:50, Wednesday 16th November

We’ll talk about how to power sales by integrating offline conversations into your media strategy.

o Using technology to ensure the oldest form of marketing – peer to peer – is not forgotten in the midst of all shiny new tech.

o Discuss how brands can market with their consumers, not at them, to deliver a really integrated marketing campaign.

o Three case studies of brands who’ve used technology to collaborate with their consumers to build their brand, boost sales and future-proof their marketing.

Don't miss out! Grab your free ticket here »


WEBINAR: How your brand can use technology to be more human

So you've spent months planning a marketing campaign and invested in all the latest tech to broadcast your message. And then what? You sit back and hope your consumers will pick up the message and continue to talk about your brand in the real world, spreading the message as you would like it?

girls using ipad and smartphone

You don't have to wait with fingers crossed. With the right tools word of mouth can be planned, measured and scaled.

Get our top tips for how to ensure your brand story travels on in the most trusted form or marketing: peer to peer.

Read more & sign up to the webinar »



5 reasons we’re pumped for Technology for Marketing

Technology for Marketing is the annual event to discover trends and technology to transform your marketing. Here’s five reasons you really don’t want to miss out, and should join us at Olympia London 28-29th September.

visit our stand at TFM

Get your free TFM ticket here »

1. Learn new marketing skills

200 speakers at 15 targeted stages will make sure you get practical advice on exactly the areas of marketing that you want to improve. Check out Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft UK on the Keynote Arena, but most of all, don’t miss our joint MDs Rebekah and Paul talking about how technology can actually bring you closer to your consumers:

'How Your Brand Can Use Technology To Be More Human'

Marketing & Ecommerce Solutions theatre, 2pm, Weds 28th Sep

2. Try fun stuff at all the exhibitor stands

Meet the blue Beast of TFM at BlueVenn’s stand and come try three prototype sweet flavours at our very own stand: T1326. Are you brave enough to try the HOT mini chilli peppers?

While munching on the chewy sweets why not take the opportunity to chat with us about how we can power your customer base to do more than just buy your products and help you raise awareness and drive sales?

3. Discover marketing tech that’ll help you build customer relationships

Find the perfect tech to support your teams and transform your marketing by meeting with over 100 marketing technology and service providers.

If you’re looking for that missing piece to connect the dots between your rich data and your consumers we’ll be there with our Software-as-a-Service solution trndsphere™ – a Collaborative Marketing Suite plugging into your existing CRM and allowing you to utilise the full potential of your platforms and customers with collaborative marketing campaigns.

4. It’s free

You’ll get two fun and inspiring days out of the office, make great connections to boost your career, gain lots of insights to improve your marketing and maybe a freebie or two – and it won’t cost you a penny to enter!

5. Covers the complete customer journey

With your visitor badge, you don’t just get access to one great expo – you get three. TFM has teamed up with eCommerce Expo and Customer Contact Expo to create Customer Series Live, for your complete customer solution.

  • TFM = Make your marketing content more valued
  • eCommerce Expo = Build a seamless transaction process
  • Customer Contact Expo = Discover the tools your customer support team need to give your customers the TLC they crave

Get your free ticket here & tweet us if you’re gonna be there! @trndUK #TFM16

How to be a responsible brand – 5 insights from Project Superbrand

Gone are the times when people bought products without caring who or what was behind the brand. Today, consumers’ expectations of companies and brands go beyond just producing goods and making a profit. Failing to acknowledge this can be the end of a brand as a majority of consumers avoid buying products that have a negative social or environmental impact.

Super Mario toy

In the 2016 study Project Superbrand Havas Worldwide looks at how the movement toward corporate social responsibility has evolved over the past eight years. What do consumers expect from brands when it comes to corporate social responsibility? How does this affect their purchase decisions? And what do brands need to do to become a responsible Superbrand?

We share five insights from the study in which 10,131 consumers from 28 countries (including the UK) took part.

1. Conscious consumption

The way we consume is changing. While we used to fill up our wardrobes, cupboards and garages in the post-war boom, consumers no longer get the same satisfaction from mindless consumption. Price is still important, but a sustainable value is even more essential when choosing products or services.

2. Transparency is no longer optional

70% of people actively seek out information about the company from which they purchase a service or product, now apps and other tools make it easier than ever for consumers to determine which companies and brands have been acting “good” or “bad”. Companies and brands failing to meet consumers’ expectations of a responsible behaviour will pay the price with loss of revenue.

3. Invaluable values

Brands should clearly communicate their brand values. Consumers want brands that stand for something and make their purchase decisions based on those values. A majority of the consumers surveyed said they prefer to buy from companies that share their personal values.

"Consumers want brands that stand for something – Ben & Jerry’s and Dove are examples. What we find is [that these brands] grow twice as fast as those who don’t have sustainability at heart… That’s where the juice is, the pockets of growth… Consumers want brands to be more responsible." – Jan Zijderveld, President, Unilever Europe

4. Brand heroes wanted

Consumers believe that businesses are just as responsible as governments when it comes to driving positive social change. 62% of the respondents want their favourite brands to play an active role in solving social problems and are convinced that sociopolitical change requires cooperation from big businesses.

5. Consumers say: Together is better

People want to see governments, corporations, NGOs and citizens working together to tackle the world’s problems that no one can solve alone. 8 in 10 of the influential Prosumers* want to see corporations working with governments and businesses working with consumers to make the world a better place.

Prosumers are proactive and informed men and women who are today’s leading influencers and market drivers. They embrace emerging technologies and social media, and influence the brand choices and behaviours of others. Simply put, what Prosumers are doing today, mainstream consumers are likely to be doing six to 18 months from now. – Havas Worldwide definition*

Read more: [Click here for the full Project Superbrand report.]( http://www.havasgroup.com/insights/studies/actualites/project-superbrand-10-truths-reshaping-the-corporate-world)

5 practical ways to boost Christmas sales with Word of Mouth

Summer’s coming to an end and the count-down to Christmas is on. By now most brands will have their ATL activity locked down, but there’s still time to power that magical buzz that makes your product fly off the shelves come December.

Christmas presents

A word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendation from a trusted friend can be a massive help when it comes to making purchase decisions – not least when shopping for Christmas presents.

With the below tips your brand can tap into this to boost Christmas sales.

1. Mobilise your fans

Mobilise the people who are already buying your products and motivate them to share their love for the product with their friends (who trust their opinions), in turn influencing them to buy your brand.

Don’t worry if you don’t yet have a community in place – you can tap into ours: 2 million engaged consumers at your service!

2. Follow Berger’s STEPPS

Make sure your product and communication follow the key principles that make things ’WOM-able’, defined by Berger as STEPPS: Social currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical value and Stories. This could be giving a select group of savvy consumers some insider information about your brand that they’ll be eager to tell their friends (Social currency). Make sure there’s a useful tip in there (Practical value) and perhaps give them samples that they can hand out to friends (Triggers to talk about your brand).

3. Showcase real-life content

Consumer-generated content will add credibility to your message and will resonate with your audience because it’s created by real people – people like them. Showcase real-life consumer stories on your website, or use consumer-generated photos and claims in your Christmas ad campaign.

4. Sneak peeks for your biggest fans

Identify your most engaged consumers and give them a peek behind the scenes, or the chance to purchase before the official launch date. Let people get excited!

5. Ask for help

Use your community of consumers to [get feedback on your products]() and campaigns. Find out what they love, what they want to see more of and what encourages them to buy in the first place.

Perhaps you already have a community in place on your website, in which case maybe all you need to do is open up a dialogue with them to get the word going. For those who aren’t lucky enough to have this direct connection, trnd have access to millions of consumers, ready and willing to work and collaborate with your brand up until Christmas and beyond.

WOM is a powerful tool for driving sales – act now to make sure you’re all set for a lucrative Christmas!

What is Collaborative Marketing?

First time here and not really sure what we're all about? Let's take a look at the trnd philosophy.

Collaborative Marketing vs traditional marketing

In traditional marketing, the consumer’s role is simply to consume. Brands market at their consumers, leaving no space to engage so real connections are rarely formed or investment sustained.

In a truly collaborative approach companies work with their consumers at eye level and involve them at all stages of the product life cycle. This is marketing with your consumers as co-marketers.

Once activated, your customers will become an extremely powerful and effective marketing force to drive sales, trial and awareness at launch via Word of Mouth and Online Buzz, produce User Generated Content to enrich your content marketing and help develop the products of the future through Real-Life Market Research or Co-Creation.

Too often the full marketing potential of consumers remains an untapped resource, but trnd has all of the building blocks (proven, data-driven campaign formats, 2 million consumers and the technical infrastructure) you need to adopt a more collaborative approach to your marketing and unlock the power of your consumers!

Nielsen research: Branded content outperforms pre-roll advertising

To battle ad-blocking technology, brands are taking on branded content (marketing that combines interesting editorial content with brand messaging) as a new way to engage consumers.

Nielsen recently assessed consumer reactions to branded content and compared it to the reactions to pre-roll advertising (e.g., promotional videos that run before the content the user has selected).

Two of the main findings were:

  1. Branded content can drive higher brand recall and brand lift than pre-roll advertisements

  2. When viewers enjoy content, they view the integrated brands more favourably

Higher brand recall from branded content than from pre-roll

Nielsen chart -  brand recall

The Nielsen analysis showed that consumers recall brands more after seeing branded content than pre-roll ads. The branded content generated an average of 86% brand recall among viewers, compared with 65% from the pre-roll ad.

Nielsen chart - purchase intent

Additionally, the purchase intent among viewers was higher for branded content (13%) than pre-roll (10%).

Nielsen chart - recommendation intent

Finally, consumers were more likely to recommend the brand after seeing it featured in branded content compared to in a pre-roll ad – 20% vs 16%.

Enjoyable content = likable brand

Nielsen's research also found that viewers who enjoyed the content viewed the integrated brands more favourably. They were also more receptive to the brand message if the content was captivating and involved characters that were relatable. Finally, they were more likely to view the content in the first place if they felt the content was “for people like me”.

So how can you ensure that your content is enjoyable and relatable?

When it comes to ensuring your content resonates, who better to have on your team than the people you want to view it? Communicate directly and effectively with your consumers and co-create your branded content with them - you can bet that their friends will only be a click away.

5 tips for compelling content

Traditional digital advertising is more often than not being blocked by software built for an increasingly uninterested audience. To conquer this, brands need to step up their game to create engaging content that their customers actually want to see.

go pro selfie

Get help from the people you want to reach. Here are five tips for how brands can work with their customers to create compelling content:

1. Identify the everyday influencers in your category

There’s a high chance that your most engaged consumers already have an interest in the product category that your brand belongs to – whether it’s cosmetics, smartphones or home care. In fact, they are probably considered experts in their particular field by their friends and networks who seek out their expertise when faced with their own purchasing decisions. Collaborate with these everyday influencers and you can effectively push trusted recommendations about your brand and product.

2. Don’t dictate messages

Traditional advertising language is generally not how people would talk to a friend – dropping slogans and USPs just doesn’t come naturally in a peer-to-peer exchange. Let customers use their own words to describe their product experience and you’ll probably find it’s a lot more impactful. There’s a reason [77% of consumers]( https://content.trustpilot.com/blog/Trust-Economy-Report-2014.pdf) seek out online reviews before making a purchase – other consumers’ words are compelling content.

3. Relinquish some control

Some brands are scared of what consumers might say if they are allowed to speak freely about their brand offline and online. But truth is control has always been with the customers and the conversations are happening whether brands are involved or not. Brands can choose to ignore it, or join in the chat and listen to what customers are saying.

4. Be transparent

Domino‘s Pizza Turnaround campaign is a great example of how listening to, and disclosing, critical customer feedback can pay off. Domino‘s published videos of customer critique about their pizzas, then went back to the drawing table, reworked the recipes and filmed those same customers reacting to the new pizza. The results were incredible.

5. Motivate them to talk about you

Facilitate and inspire your customers’ conversations by sharing exciting insider information with your most engaged fans. Let them have a say in that new flavour you’re planning to launch, or give them a sneak peek of your latest product update, not yet on the market. Make them feel special and they’ll be motivated by psychological factors to spread the word.

Webinar: How to use 'everyday influencers' to grow your business

Watch the recording from our latest webinar to learn how to identify effective 'everyday influencers' and turn ordinary people into brand advocates.

How To Use 'Everyday Influencers' To Grow Your Business

webinar recording screenshot

Watch the recording here »

This webinar covers:

  • How to identify and activate the consumers who will have the most impact on your sales
  • How to inspire these consumers to spread the word about your brand
  • Practical advice on how to collaborate with consumers in a profitable and measurable way
  • Insight into the psychology behind why consumers become influencers

Speakers:

Paul Mitchell, co-MD, trnd UK

Gill Green, Clinical & Organisational Psychologist, ORConsulting

5 ways consumers can amplify your marketing team

Not many brands can afford to employ a marketing team of 1,000 people within their own organisation. But by working with existing customers as co-marketers, that expanded marketing team of thousands can achieve things far beyond the means of traditional marketing.

Tug of war - consumers helping brand

Here are five things consumers can do to support (and maybe even outperform) your marketing team:

1. Highlight & resolve problems

Consumers can work with the brand’s development team to highlight and resolve problems with the product or service. When assessing how to improve the existing product, or what flavour sweet to launch next as a confectionery brand – who better to consult than the people you want to buy your goods?

2. Produce content

Content needs to be meaningful and relevant to cut through the noise, and since people want to hear from other people this is where your consumers could be more successful than your marketing team. What better way to ensure you speak your customers’ language, than to use their own words.

One brand that’s taken this to heart is Lidl. The food retailer has a recipe section not only on its website, but also on its community site – providing a space for their consumers to share recipes that they have tried themselves.

3. Spread the word

Happy consumers are likely to share their experience with friends. A study by [Lithium]( http://www.lithium.com/pdfs/infographic/lithium_nine_big_reasons_for_serious_WOMM.pdf), found that just 1,000 customers can generate up to 500,000 conversations about a brand. And since a personal recommendation is [the most trusted form of advertising]( http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2015/global-trust-in-advertising-2015.html), chances are these conversations hits home better than an advertising campaign from your marketing team, no matter how creative it is.

4. Generate buzz on social media

Most people are only marginally interested in branded content in their social media feeds (if they even see the posts in the first place), but if it’s a post shared by a close friend it’s much more likely to 1) be shown high up in their feed, and 2) be deemed relevant and interesting, thus have an impact.

5. Design, create and innovate

Brands can invest millions into research and development and still fail to meet the needs of their consumers. What if it’s as simple as to just ask your customers what they want from your brand? Nurturing a branded community provides the perfect platform for co-creation with your consumers – see MyStarbucksIdea.

Leave it to the experts

No matter how hard you try, it’s unlikely that your brand’s marketing team can fully replicate the meaningful interactions happening on a peer-to-peer level between consumers. So leave that to the enthusiastic fans already talking about your brand, and focus your efforts on identifying and supporting that team of co-marketers, and facilitating and boosting their conversations.

The secret to great copy: 5 tips to make your copy work for you

Communication is key in nurturing a meaningful relationship with your consumers. Done well, marketing copy can build brand loyalty and drive action. The good news is, writing good copy doesn’t have to be hard. Here are 5 simple tips for writing effectively:

copywriting - typewriter

1. Believe your own message

The only way to get your customers to believe your message is to believe it yourself. Consider the genuine benefit to what you’re saying/selling before you attempt to share this message. How would it make YOUR life better? That’s always a good place to start.

2. Do your research

Know who you’re writing for and what it is they need. Skip this step and you risk losing out on forming a lasting connection with your audience. And while we’re at it, beware of generalisations. ‘Women over 50’ don’t all think, act or look the same – take this in to consideration before you speak to them as though they were one entity.

Take the time to consider and understand your audience – they’re paying attention whether you are or not.

3. Never talk down to your customers

Long gone are the days when you could fill your advertising editorial with superlatives and have it blindly believed. Your customer is almost definitely more media savvy than you’re giving them credit for.

The customer is your best friend, she’s your sister, or wife, your husband or father. Treat your customer with respect and dignity, they’re on an equal footing to you. In fact, you almost certainly need them more than they need you.

4. The headline is king

If you’re only going to get one thing right, make it the headline. Make sure your headline is strong and people will read on. Think back to point one, why should they read this? How will it make their day better? Lead with a benefit, make them want more.

5. Your copy is important, treat it that way

All too often, copy is seen as an afterthought. Most people secretly believe that writing (and, indeed, marketing) is easy to do well – it’s not.

The truth is, writing copy takes time and energy. If you want results then creating compelling copy needs to become an important part of your business. Dedicate time and energy to getting this right; don’t just tack it on at the end. Communication with your consumers is key and the first port of call is the copy.

The impact of collaborating with everyday influencers

The latest of our breakfast briefings looked at the impact that everyday influencers can have on the success of a brand. Some attendees were expecting to talk about traditional influencers such as celebrities and bloggers, but by the end of the morning everyone was really excited about the ordinary people who might not have not have a huge following on social media, but whose recommendations are trusted and sought out by their friends and family, making them highly effective everyday influencers.

trnd breakfast everyday influencers

Want to learn more about growing your business with 'Everyday Influencers'? Sign up to our webinar Thurs 7th July:

Read more & register »

Speakers at the event were Gill Green, a business-focused clinical psychologist at ORConsulting; Rebekah Mackay Miller, joint MD of trnd UK and Aaron Ayling, campaign manager and data analyst at trnd.

Is there a movement building in the market towards a more collaborative approach to marketing?

Rebekah: “Brands are becoming more collaborative. User-generated content is often a huge part of a brand’s strategy. But there is some confusion, too. Collaborating with everyday influencers is not about paying a social media star or a high-profile blogger to promote your product. It’s about working with the people who will recommend your product to their friends. The value is far greater – people trust their friends more than they trust someone who they know has been paid to promote something. And the impact is longer term. If a brand invests money creating a great story, they want to know that story will continue beyond the initial telling.”

On the frontline of a campaign, what strikes you about the members of the trnd community?

Aaron: “People are very forthcoming and opinionated. They’re passionate about brands and how they communicate with customers. They understand that the power is in their hands. They want to be appreciated, and they want honesty from the brands.”

Does this mean that brands have to give up control, and let their consumers do the talking?

Gill: I’ll counter that with another question – did brands ever really have control over people’s conversations? Control has always been with the customers. Brands can choose to facilitate the conversation and listen to what customers are saying, or ignore it. The conversations are happening whether brands are involved or not.

Where does collaboration fit in to the media plan?

Rebekah: “Collaboration enhances the impact of all media, so it should be a key marketing strategy. It flips the sales funnel on its head in many ways. If you identify a few influencers who are genuinely passionate about your brand, they’ll have a huge impact – not just on their friends who’ll buy your product, but also on the ROI of other media campaigns.”

What metrics should brands focus on when measuring the success of a campaign using everyday influencers?

Aaron: “Our key metrics are based on online and offline reach, volume of user-generated content (such as reviews), and things like how many people tried the product. We also partner with external companies such as IRi to determine the impact on sales, or research companies to delve deeper into the impact on behaviour. But as recommendations are still the most trusted form of advertising, this should be the most powerful indicator over the long-term.”

Is collaboration and user-generated content really a more compelling incentive than discounts and freebies?

Gill: “We all love the immediacy of getting something for free. But people also know that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and that’s ok as long as the brand is upfront about it. So if you say: “We’ll give you this to try and in return we want your opinion on it” that’s very powerful. People love to be asked their view. They’ll really engage. It’s a sign that the brand respects their customers. They’re the experts, and their view is valued. They can influence their friends' views. That lasts much longer than the freebie.”

What sort of content can brands expect to get from a campaign?

Aaron: “They can expect to get all sorts of user-generated content: verbatim, video, photos, testimonials and so on – but also insight into their product, which is incredibly valuable.”

What are the benefits to brands of investing in building an owned community over using a social media platform?

Rebekah: “Social media is great for reach. But Facebook is a paid advertising platform essentially. And of course you don’t own the data. You can’t identify the real everyday influencers on social media, but you can in your own community. To build trust among influencers, you need real two-way dialogue, at scale. Importantly you must be able to take data from those interactions and integrate it into your CRM."

"Don’t forget that two-thirds of all word-of-mouth recommendations for brands happens offline, in real conversations. One offline impression drives five times more sales than a paid impression."

“If your objective is to drive recommendations and sales, an owned community will have more impact.”

Three key take-outs from the event:

  1. Be mindful of your objectives. Reach is not the same as impact.

  2. Two-thirds of all word-of-mouth happens offline.

  3. Market with your consumers, not at them. This will future proof your brand communications.

Experience Collaborative Marketing with Vidal Sassoon Salonist

Try Collaborative Marketing from the consumer perspective by taking part in our latest project with Vidal Sassoon and their revolutionary home hair colour range Vidal Sassoon Salonist.

Vidal Sassoon Salonist trnd project

Over the next eight weeks 2,000 lucky ladies will have the chance to be part of a revolutionary movement in home hair colouring, and learn to master the salon technique from the comfort of their own homes.

If you'd like to get full understanding of how Collaborative Marketing works, plus get the chance to try out Vidal Sassoon Salonist, why not apply for the project?

Read more & apply on our community site »

5 things you need to know about identifying influencers for your brand

The most powerful influencers can’t be found through a Google search. Because they’re not celebrities, vloggers or famous internet personalities – they’re real people. And what motivates them is not a paycheck or growing their social media following…

everyday influencer

Here are five things you need to know about identifying the real influencers:

1. More followers does not equal more engagement

A Markerly study found that users with fewer than 1,000 followers on Instagram received an average of 8.03 “likes” and 0.56 comments per post. That’s more than those who had between 1,000 and 10,000 followers, who garnered an average of 4.04 “likes” and 0.27 comments.

2. Consumers don’t trust paid influencers

Only 18% of consumers trust content generated by influencers, according to a Forrester study. Seeing as their motivations for partnering with brands are often to raise their own profile, or make a bit of extra cash, this is not really surprising.

3. Recognise the difference between reach and impact

If the goal of your influencer activity is to drive sales it‘s essential to understand where your influencer’s following comes from. Is that person considered an expert in a particular category, or do people follow him/her just to see what crazy stuff they’ll get up to next? The latter may deliver reach, but will unlikely impact sales.

A savvy consumer – the ‘everyday influencer’ – might be more influential on your product sales than a celebrity vlogger, because their strong relationships among the people they influence (friends and family) are far more important than a vast social media following. Peer-to-peer recommendations are the number one driver of purchase decisions.

4. Online presence is not as important as you think

One offline word-of-mouth impression can drive up to five times more sales than a paid media impression (which a post by a paid influencer is). And seeing as offline word of mouth produces two thirds of measured business impact, online presence holds less value. Peer-to-peer recommendations that drive purchase happen offline as well as online, when real people share real product experiences.

5. Finding the right influencers takes research and time. It’s worth it.

You can pay someone to participate in your ad campaign, or endorse your products to their social media audience. But consumers are savvy and will realise when it’s just not credible – you cannot pay for a genuine, personal recommendation. To earn these you have to get to know your consumers and invest time in building a relationship with them, turning them into powerful (and volunteer) marketers for your brand.

Want to learn more about how to grow your business with 'everyday influencers'? Check out our webinar from 7th July.

Watch the recording here »

Read more: You can’t google your most powerful Influencers

Airbnb - A community-driven superbrand

We're all about putting the consumer centre stage in your marketing, but in this blog series we put the spotlight on brands showcasing a collaborative spirit. This month: Airbnb - a brand very much at home with people power.

airbnb host greeing guests

Airbnb is one of the most popular travel websites on the internet, offering an alternative to standard hotel rooms by enabling real people to let their homes to holidaymakers. We’re convinced a big part of its popularity is due to its people-centred brand strategy.

“Being human, humanity, human values, human experiences – that’s the common factor of Airbnb,” says Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO at Airbnb. He highlights that all their campaigns are developed with the people as a starting point. And it’s as real as it gets – every Airbnb ad you see features genuine hosts in genuine homes.

Airbnb and word of mouth

Some people might be hesitant about staying in a stranger’s home for their vacation. But there’s one key to picking an Airbnb property for your trip: word of mouth. Honest peer-to-peer recommendations brought to the uncertain vacationer in the form of customer comments.

Checking out the customer comments for each home featured on the site is a way to get an idea of what the home, host and area is like. And Airbnb guarantees that the comments are authentic as you can only leave a review if you’ve actually fulfilled a reservation.

Airbnb and user generated content

It’s a well-known fact that holidaymakers snap a lot of photos, and Airbnb gets a ton of pics, film, recommendations and opinions from both its users and hosts. And the brand is not late to use this, and do it well. In the latest version of their app, Airbnb includes guidebooks with tips on the best restaurants, bars and attractions around – all knowledge from Airbnb hosts in the local area.

It’s a win-win situation! The brand gets amazing content from happy consumers, and their users benefit from credible recommendations from travellers just like them.

Airbnb and the community

With the new guidebook feature being the first step into the realm of content curation, Mildenhall says he wants the Airbnb community to shape the narrative and tell their own experiences of the platform. He plans on using the consumer-generated content as video, social media, Snapchat and even putting it out into the world through paid media. “Curating the very best content from our community is one of my top priorities.”

As firm believers in people power, we are sure that a big part of Airbnb’s popularity comes from the fact that it uses real people and real homes. And Mildenhall seems to be on the same page regarding the power consumers can put behind a brand.

"I want it to be a community-driven superbrand,” he says.

5 ways brands can avoid repeating the same old marketing

New technology and social media tools pop up daily with promises of new ways of engaging with consumers. So why are so many marketers using these new platforms to repeat the same, tired, marketing tactics – talking at people, not actually with them?

Broadcast marketing old radio

We share five measures brands can take to avoid falling back into traditional marketing habits:

1. Facilitate word of mouth

People are already talking about your brand, so empower them to spread the word even further. Give your customers social currency (insider information and maybe samples to share) and they will want to talk about you to their friends = quality awareness for your brand.

2. Use the content your consumers generate

What better way to ensure you speak your consumers’ language than to use their own words and content? Bathroom specialist Hansgrohe collaborated with trnd to drive real-life content from consumers online and increased their social share of voice tenfold!

Download the Hansgrohe case study »

3. Reinforce development with co-creation

The smartest people might not (yet) be working for you. Consult your consumers at the product development stage to bring in fresh insight from a team far larger than your own staff. Starbucks do this well with the initiative MyStarbucksIdea – over 300 ideas generated by their community have been actioned by the brand so far.

4. Understand where your true resources lie

It’s about investment, but not the financial kind. People with time, energy and emotions invested in a brand are far more likely to choose that brand over another. Your biggest resource is not capital, it’s your consumers. Invest back in them and they can do so much more than just buy your products.

5. Use marketing technology right

Technology should bridge the gap between the customer data you already have and the real people behind it, not be another channel to broadcast at people. Use tech to enable two-way, authentic interaction, at scale with your consumers and it can help power brand awareness, be a spring board for reviews, fuel consumer generated content and produce priceless insight.

Read more: [Four ways collaboration can invigorate marketing]( http://www.fourthsource.com/general/four-ways-collaboration-can-invigorate-marketing-20972)

Keeping marketing human

The discipline of marketing is getting more scientific, programmatic and automated, which is fantastic for the opportunities that it offers, but we mustn't forget that it's real people at the other end of our marketing activities.

Even though marketing has changed, human nature and consumers haven’t. With a collaborative approach to marketing we can make sure that we’re holding on to the human element - creating campaigns for, and working with, the people who are ultimately buying our products.

In this video we hear our UK MD Rebekah Mackay Miller, Business Psychologist Aedrian Bekker (ORConsulting) and Jessica Baah from The Drum discuss what consumers get out of collaborating with brands.

Keller Fay study: How to use influencers to drive word of mouth

With the ever-evolving developments in social media, many marketers are focusing their influencer efforts on celebrities with millions of followers on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. However, new research by Keller Fay proves that everyday people can offer significant value to marketers because of their strong relationships among the people they influence.

word of mouth two ladies talking

Note: Keller Fay define influencers as "everyday consumers who are substantially more likely than the average to seek out information and to share ideas, information, and recommendations with other people. They do this both through volunteering their opinions about products and services that they feel passionate about, and by being turned to for their knowledge, advice, and insights".

We’ve summarised the key take outs for you here:

1. Focus on offline conversations

In this digital world, word of mouth (WOM) is considered an online-driven activity by many marketers. The truth is that offline continues to dominate in peer-to-peer conversations, both in volume and in impact.

At trnd we’ve been firm believers of this since 2005, and have [proven tools]( https://company.trnd.com/en/products-solutions/trndsphere-collaborative-marketing-suite) and campaign formats to drive impactful conversations about brands and products offline as well as online.

2. Start with a people-centric strategy, not channel-centric

Consumers are not loyal to a single channel, they will use whatever channel is the most convenient or suitable for the sharing they intend to do. This shows that it’s important in the planning of any marketing activity to start with the people, not the channel.

Collaborative marketing is the idea of putting people (rather than products or channels) centre stage in your marketing and development plans. It takes a big shift in thinking for many companies. But it pays big results, too.

3. Aim for positive contributions

Many marketers fear the risk of negative word of mouth so much that it holds them back from engaging openly in conversations with consumers. But the fact is that most word of mouth being spread is positive. According to Keller Fay, positive word of mouth outweighs negative by a margin of more than 8 to 1. In addition, positive word of mouth is perceived as more credible.

By showing consumers that you’re keen to hear their feedback you’re already off to a good start when it comes to earning their trust and getting positive contributions back. Enabling this dialogue we’ve had some amazing results and consumer generated content from previous trnd projects.

4. Make it easy for influencers to engage with your brand

Influencers all have one quality that is especially helpful for marketers: They actively want to engage with brands and they’re willing to share their knowledge. For this reason it’s important for brands to respond to incoming enquiries and make useful (and shareable) content available on their website.

We see the same in our communities, consumers come to us because they want to do more than just buy products – they want to have a more meaningful relationship with brands.

5. Word of mouth can complement paid advertising

WOMMA’s ‘The Return on WOM’ study found that one third of the sales impact of word of mouth is due to WOM working as an amplifier to paid advertising. One of the earliest findings of the power of influencers found that advertising is effective not by directly changing consumer preferences, but by stimulating conversation between so called opinion leaders and other people/followers.

Our own research supports this: word of mouth is a powerful tool to enhance the impact of your traditional media.

6. Engage influencers in a meaningful two-way dialogue

Influencers like to be the experts, to have insider knowledge before others so that they can share it. Make sure you give them content that’s easy to talk about (‘womable’) and that they will want to share, ask for their opinions to acknowledge their expertise and you’ve got a two-way dialogue that’s likely the start of a meaningful relationship.

At trnd, our community managers moderate and respond to tens of thousands of online comments, reports and emails from consumers participating in collaborative marketing campaigns every month, around the clock, nurturing an ongoing and natural dialogue between brand and influencer.

Collaborative Marketing – What’s in it for me?

Increased product awareness, positive sales impact, authentic pieces of UGC… Brands have a lot to win from collaborating with consumers, but what’s in it for the consumers that choose to engage and collaborate with brands?

In this guest blog Gill Green, consultant psychologist at ORConsulting Ltd discusses what drives people to collaborate, and to participate in marketing programmes with companies.

What's In It For Me?

When brands genuinely involve us and invite our feedback and criticism, we feel rewarded. We hear the message “you matter and we trust your opinion”. But beware, the key word here is genuine…our brains are hardwired to mistrust anything that sounds fake. However, there’s a solution.
We just need the answer to one simple question:
‘What’s in it for me?’ This is the “WIIFM”.

Recent neuropsychological studies conducted by David Rock at UCLA suggest our limbic system (the “oldest” part of our brain) scans our surroundings for signs of threat and it does this about every 5 seconds. Without us realizing it, the brain can react to anything it doesn’t trust - words, body language, tone of voice or physical presentation - as if it were a real threat.

Brain limbic system

This matters because in turn, brain activity shapes our behavior. Our brain will encourage us to avoid a threat, whereas we will be attracted by and seek out a reward. We are looking for the “WIIFM”.

Using sophisticated brain imaging techniques, Rock has identified five factors (the SCARF model) which can trigger either threat-avoid or reward-approach brain activity. Brands can use these SCARF factors to increase their credibility. They need to tailor their message, just for us.

SCARF and the WIIFM

  • Status/Standing: If I buy into this brand, will it make me look good? Will it enhance my social standing? Will others be impressed? Does the brand make me feel special?
  • Certainty: Is the brand being clear about what it offers? Are its messages straightforward or misleading? Does it keep its promises? Will it keep me well informed about new developments?
  • Autonomy: Does the brand let me choose? Does it treat me like an individual, respect my intelligence and personalize my experience? Does it give me control?
  • Relatedness: Do I feel connected to the brand? Does the brand make me feel part of a ‘like minded’ community? Are other customers real people I can relate to?
  • Fairness: Does the brand act fairly and respect my values? Does it fit with my view of ethical behavior and justice?

So brands can win our trust and attract us by understanding these SCARF factors and answering, genuinely, “What’s in it for me?”

Gill Green, Consultant Psychologist, ORConsulting Ltd

5 reasons to visit Marketing Week Live

The UK’s most reputable multi-disciplined marketing exhibition is just a week away. It doesn’t matter where you sit in the marketing industry – Marketing Week Live is a must attend for all.

marketing week live 2016

The two day event has industry leading speakers and an exhibition experience with solutions to your every marketing need. We’ll be there with a stand and insightful talks on both the Marketing Tech stage and the Brand Engagement & Innovation stage, so join us to get the latest update on marketing that really resonates.

Our top five reasons to attend Marketing Week Live:

1. Learn all about Branded Communities and the technology to power them

Get an insight into branded communities and what they can do for your business by joining our session in the Marketing Tech theatre 27th April. You’ll learn how to integrate consumers into your marketing strategy and how to power your community to deliver against strategic objectives – in a plannable and measurable way.

2. Experience collaborative marketing through the eyes of your consumers

Stop by stand MB25 to get a unique insight into a collaborative marketing campaign from the consumers’ perspective.

3. Meet a community whizz

Meet our community managers who moderate over 70,000 online comments, 80,000 user reports and countless emails every month, around the clock, and quiz them about how they spark authentic and natural dialogue between brands and their consumers.

4. Co-create a new bar of chocolate

At stand MB25 you will get a chance to try three mouth-wateringly delicious chocolates, not yet available on the market. Give us your opinion on the different flavours and packaging, and be part of product development.

5. Try the challenges in the MWL show app

This year’s show isn’t just about getting great insights and finding the best suppliers and solutions. MWL has added a fun element of gamification to their brand new show app: take part in the challenges during the event and win fantastic prizes!

Check out the free agenda »

Get your discounted session pass »

5 reasons to invest in Branded Communities

2015 was said to be the year of branded communities. Have you still not jumped on the train? Here are 5 reasons to get on board:

trnd consumers

1. Because social media doesn’t deliver

It’s a known fact by now: social media isn’t the place to build meaningful engagement with people. The majority of social media posts only reaches a fraction (2%) of fans and followers and is then only shared or liked by 0.2% of those. And even clicking the 'like' button does not necessarily mean a wish to engage.

2. Because your CRM has untapped potential

By adding a social element to your CRM you can join the dots between the real people that are your customers and the many streams of data - engaging and activating existing customers to form a powerful marketing force and unlocking the full potential of your CRM.

3. Because Branded Communities deliver great returns

Engaged community members will generate word of mouth, authentic and credible content, real-life insights and tons of ideas for development for your brand. Nurtured the right way, an active community will strengthen your brand messages, increase customer loyalty, save marketing costs and ultimately drive sales.

4. Because consumers want that connection

87% of consumers want a meaningful relationship with brands. Only 17% think that brands actually deliver. It’s time we build up strategies for social relationships around websites in order to offer the connection that brands need and consumers want.

5. Because it future-proofs your marketing

Working at eye level with the people you want to buy your products will make sure you stay up to date with their expectations and needs. By encouraging their conversations, listening to their opinions and acting upon these a mutually beneficial relationship is born with which both your business and your marketing is fit for the future.

Want to learn more and get the full details?

Join our free breakfast seminar ‘Future-proof your marketing with Branded Communities’ on 13th April. Sign up here: trndbreakfast.eventbrite.com

Or come see us at Marketing Week Live 27-28 April.

A Collaborative Big Knit

At trnd we're all for putting the consumer on stage, but in this series of blog posts we'll be shining a light on some brands we think show a collaborative spirit. First up: a heart (and head!) warming example of brand-consumer co-creation by Innocent.

Innocent smoothies with knitted hats

In 2003 Innocent started a collaboration with their consumers to knit little hats, put those hats on smoothies and for each bottle sold Innocent pledged to donate 25p to charity Age UK. ‘The Big Knit’ has now been running for 13 years and so far UK knitters of all ages have created more than five million hats, and together the brand and its consumers have raised over £1.7M!

What is co-creation?

Co-creation (or crowdsourcing) is a collaborative marketing practice to engage consumers in the development process, be that for a new product, a redesigned packaging or a communication strategy. No matter how big your company is, it’s unlikely that all the smartest people in the world work for you, so getting your consumers involved can help spur amazing ideas, content and goods.

In the case of Innocent, the initiative ‘The Big Knit’ is co-created by the brand itself, Age UK and thousands of Innocent fans knitting tiny hats for smoothie bottles to raise awareness for vulnerable older people at risk during the cold winter months.

They key to consumer hearts

More than a decade of hat knitting proves that the connection between Innocent and its consumers is strong. But what makes consumers so eager to engage with the brand?

We believe it’s because Innocent has involved its consumers in its story from the very beginning on: in 1999, the first bottles of Innocent smoothies were sold at a music festival in London. The three founders asked their customers whether they should give up their day jobs to make smoothies by voting with their empty bottles in a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ bin. The pleased customers voted yes, and Innocent got real-life insights confirming that they were on the right track even before the official launch of the company.

The key to a successful collaboration (or co-creation if you will) is that it must benefit all parties. The Big Knit is great for everyone involved: the brand gets lots of buzz, word of mouth and social content, Age UK raises awareness (and money) for its cause and consumers enjoy getting involved in a good cause while being creative. As an added bonus they get the thrill of possibly finding their own unique knit on a product in store…

The success of the Big Knit truly proves consumers’ willingness to collaborate with brands that know how to make sure cause and communication benefit everyone involved. At trnd, we help brands harness this potential and have supported various brands in the matter. Click to see our country examples.

5 steps to avoid delisting

Last year, Kingsmill lost their shelf space in Tesco. The threat of 'delisting' is real and something even established brands need to take action against. We've listed five steps brands can take to avoid being delisted, using the power of their consumers:

1. Focus on the people

In all the talk about the retail industry's segments, audiences, customers and consumers we mustn’t forget that ultimately it's people buying and using our products. Don't forget to consider what people actually want when you're looking for new ways to generate profit.

2. Create a meaningful connection

Your brand needs consumers who already know which brand they'll buy when they get to the supermarket. By engaging with them in an online community tailored to be a place where your customers can speak to, make suggestions to and be listened to by your brand, you can reinforce loyalty and nurture a meaningful relationship long before they head to the shop.

3. Invest in Word of Mouth

Empowering your customers to spread the word about your brand can have great effect on awareness, trial and sales. As 92 per cent of people trust personal recommendations over all other forms of advertising, engaged and loyal consumers recommending your brand to friends and family will create an even bigger customer base and an even stronger buying force.

4. Demonstrate demand

With the right guidance, your consumers can drive footfall into selected stores and trigger remarkable sales growth; a collaborative marketing campaign we ran for ready-meal brand Brillante à la Sartén generated a sales uplift of 28% after engaged consumers drove trials amongst their friends and family.

Nurture your customer base in a meaningful relationship, and they can show supermarkets that your brand is supported by a real, engaged buying power. And should their retailer delist your product tomorrow, they wouldn’t hesitate switching to a competitor that still stocks their favourite brand.

supermarket

5. Stop second guessing

Remember that the best way to get accurate insights about your product is to ask your consumers directly. If sales are declining and the threat of delisting is getting real, work with them to solve the challenge rather than trying to second guess what they’re thinking. Keeping an ongoing dialogue with your consumers will ensure your brand stays secure on the retailers’ shelves.

Read more: Online Communities can Combat Delisting

Future-proof your marketing with Branded Communities

Join us in London on 13th April for an insightful breakfast to find out how your existing customer base can be converted into a powerful marketing force through the use of branded communities.

Three breakfast images

A delicious breakfast will be served at restaurant KuPP. while you learn all about branded communities and how they can benefit your business.

Limited availability – secure your free ticket now!

When

8.00am-10.30am

Wednesday 13th April

Where

KuPP. Unit 53, 5 Merchant Square, Paddington, London W2 1AS

What will you learn?

  • How to define the term ‘Branded community’
  • How to integrate consumers into your marketing strategy and develop long-term advocacy
  • Powering your community to deliver against strategic objectives
  • Making it plannable and measurable

Agenda

8.00 Registration and breakfast

8.30 Branded communities and the technology to power them

8.50 ROI and proven case studies

9.10 Live WOM experience - experience Collaborative Marketing through the eyes of your consumers.

9.30 Panel discussion and Q&A

10.00-10.30 Networking and 1 to 1 consultations

Read more and register here

5 tips on how to make marketing fun

The Marketing industry has become a little too serious of late says our co-MD Rebekah Mackay Miller. Here are her top 5 tips on how inject a little fun into your strategy:

1. Celebrate your consumers’ voice

By welcoming and enabling word of mouth you’ll turn your consumers into an effective and trusted, not to mention budget friendly, communication channel. You’ll not have complete control over what they say (you never did anyway!), but you can be pretty certain that it won’t be dismissed as advertising noise or worse, blocked.

caution fun ahead

2. Make your message interesting, not advertising

People love to talk about themselves, so the key to driving word of mouth is to create product experiences that bestow a social currency worth sharing. Providing triggers, practical value or stories that ignite emotion will ensure you’re front of mind.

3. Embrace consumer generated content

Today anyone can be a copywriter, content creator or critic. Rather than investing time and energy policing this, brands should harvest the authentic and credible UGC and integrate it into their broader content strategy.

4. Co-create something wonderful

The pressure to create the next big thing is very real. The chances are the best ideas will not come from within your organisation (and that’s fine) – so make sure you bring in the experts; the people who you hope to actually buy your product.

5. Use technology as an enabler

View technology as an interface through which you can play with your consumers, nothing more nothing less. Yes, the right platform (and it’s important that it is the right platform) will enable you to interact, engage and involve your consumers in a plannable, measurable and scalable way, but it is the people on either side of that interface that make the magic happen.

Read more: Finally! Marketing is fun again.

5 things you can achieve with Collaborative Marketing

At our recent Collaborative Marketing breakfast we asked some industry (and people) experts what the real opportunities are when it comes to Collaborative Marketing.

Getting people to talk about your brand is the holy grail of marketing. But what you can achieve with word of mouth (WOM) and Collaborative Marketing goes far beyond verbal buzz. Here are the top 5 things you can achieve by collaborating with your consumers:

1. Drive awareness, trial and sales

Used strategically, WOM can drive traffic to your store or e-commerce platform, push trial and have remarkable impact on sales. As many as 50 per cent of all purchase decisions are influenced by word of mouth, and a single WOM impression drives at least five times more (and up to one hundred times more) sales than a paid media impression.

2. Generate compelling content

With ad-blocking on the rise, marketers need to work even harder to create meaningful content that people want to see. And your customers can help you out here. By engaging with them in Collaborative Marketing you can spur authentic and credible User Generated Content to boost your other marketing activities.

3. Power your media mix

With mass media you can reach huge masses of people, but ultimately you’re not going to reach all the people that you want to. This is where Collaborative Marketing comes into play, adding highly targeted qualitative reach to complement your other marketing efforts.

4. Trust and long-term advocacy

When we get included and consulted by brands who welcome our feedback or criticism, we feel rewarded. Businesses that engage with consumers in a genuine and open way (e.g. in a branded community) demonstrate that customer opinion matters and build a foundation of trust in the brand that will ultimately contribute to future sales.

5. Insights that you own

The biggest benefit for brands using the right platforms to generate Collaborative Marketing is data. Rather than generating insights from small focus groups, you can gain insights from thousands of people in real life. And unlike data collected from social media like Facebook and Twitter, you own every single bit of it and can use its full potential to power your brand.

Read more: 5 things that your Collaborative Marketing activity should be delivering

Next week's InsightInFive: 5 ways to avoid your brand getting delisted

Vox Pop: Are we over sharing services?

As an increasing number of companies build their business on peer to peer services (think Airbnb, Uber, Deliveroo) the way we receive services as consumers is changing. Collaborative consumerism looks like it's here to stay and members of The Drum Network discuss: are we oversharing?

Tricks of the marketing trade is a regular column in The Drum, inviting The Drum Network's members to offer insight and opinion on what is happening right now in the marketing industry. Our UK managing director Rebekah Mackay Miller joined the latest Vox Pop discussing collaborative consumption.

"Collaborative consumption is not a new thing," she argues. "We’re taught to share almost before we can walk and it’s our innate ability to work together as human beings, be it to find food or shelter etc. that has enabled us to survive. Knowing who to trust (another skill we learn very early on) plays a vital role in our ability to collaborate and this is where the sharing economy has excelled, as it puts choice and trust back in the hands of the consumer."

Rebekah suggests that what is really interesting for us is the lesson big brands will take from this and how they’ll respond. Read Rebekah's full comment here, and see what representatives of Yoyo Design, Chapter and Media IQ say in the matter.

The beauty of marketing with your consumers

Using celebrities to endorse products is a tried and tested marketing practice in the beauty sector, but many beauty brands have yet to discover the marketing potential of collaborating with people like you and me – their consumers.

The health and beauty market relies heavily on word-of-mouth influence – who hasn’t bought a new beauty product based on a friend’s recommendation? Little beauty tips and tricks are commonly discussed amongst peers, no matter what age or gender. You probably know who’s battling frizzy hair or acne-prone skin, and perhaps your friends come to you for tips on styling products or where to find the best skincare.

While celebrity endorsement is a long established marketing tactic in the beauty sector (we’ve all seen Cheryl Cole push for Elnett hairspray and Charlize Theron indulge herself in Dior fragrances), many brands have yet to discover the marketing power of collaborating with people like you and me – their own consumers. Using a celebrity as an influencer is just another version of a traditional ad – it’s paid reach. But a word-of-mouth recommendation from one friend to another is the most effective advertising a brand can get, and that is something money can’t buy.

Influence can be bought and manufactured, but real brand advocacy cannot. To achieve advocacy you need to build a meaningful, two-way relationship with your consumers. By engaging with them in a branded community, and giving them exclusive access to behind-the-scenes insight, product samples to share with their friends or an early peak at a new product, you can start nurturing a force of enthusiastic co-marketers. Feeling involved with your brand will encourage them to talk to their friends about you, and this is the most effective way to drive trial and boost sales. As much as 50% of all purchase decisions are influenced by word of mouth, according to Lithium; and WOMMA research shows that an offline word-of-mouth recommendation drives at least 5 times more (and up to 100 times more) sales than a paid ad impression.

The most exciting thing is that people are happy to get involved. If the product and the means of communication is right, people will happily engage with brands. And the results can be remarkable, as shown in this case for Yves Rocher.

19% sales uplift for Yves Rocher

Worldwide cosmetics and beauty brand Yves Rocher wanted to drive awareness of their anti-aging line Elixir 7.9, generate trial in their target group and increase footfall into selected Yves Rocher stores. With the help of trnd the power of their existing consumers could be unlocked and applied to achieve the objectives.

Co-marketers driving footfall

1,500 consumers that perfectly fit Yves Rocher's target group and had great word-of-mouth potential were educated to become Yves Rocher co-marketers. Equipped with samples and exciting insider information their mission was to promote and try out the new anti-aging line Elixir 7.9 with their friends, family and colleagues, and ecourage them to visit Yves Rocher stores.

Snapshots of Yves Rocher co-marketers

More customers, more sales

Thanks to the trnd campaign, footfall into the selected Yves Rocher stores increased by approximately 13%. The additional store visits induced a 6% sales uplift on store level and 19% uplift for the Elixir 7.9 products.

Download the Yves Rocher case study

Read more:

Why beauty brands are rethinking marketing - Rebekah Mackay Miller, MD of trnd UK

Instant market leader in Fairtrade chocolate

The Change Chocolate launched as a new player in the Fairtrade market in 2012. Not only do they make delicious Swiss chocolate, but their chocolate also serves a good cause. For every five bars of chocolate sold, the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation pledge to plant a tree.

Co-marketers spreading the word

trnd proudly supported the launch of The Change Chocolate in a Collaborative Marketing campaign.

trnd co-marketers

A team of 50,000 consumers with great word-of-mouth potential were educated to become enthusiastic co-marketers for this particular chocolate and equipped with some tasty samples.

Their mission: to introduce The Change Chocolate to friends and family and inform them about the good cause of the Plant-for-the-Planet organisation.

The result: instant market leader!

During the campaign period (June/July 2012) the chocolate co-marketers generated more than 1 million conversations and huge trial of The Change Chocolate – simply via their recommendations to friends and family. In just a couple of weeks, The Change Chocolate became market leader in the Fairtrade chocolate industry in Germany. And by the end of 2014, Plant-for-the-Planet had planted more than 1,000,000 trees thanks to the sales boosted by the trnd campaign.

The change chocolate

Download the full case study to read more, or message us for a printed version in the post.

A tenfold of online buzz for Hansgrohe

trnd activates consumers

German bathroom specialist Hansgrohe, established in 1901, is known for its innovative and beautifully designed showers and taps, yet awareness of the Hansgrohe brand among consumers was low. To improve brand awareness, trnd implemented a Collaborative Marketing campaign, focusing on generating genuine experiences from real consumers, and encouraging them to share their thoughts and opinions on social media.

Hansgrohe co-marketers

Hansgrohe photos

We started with a group of 25,526 carefully selected consumers and educated them about the Hansgrohe product range and the optimal shower experience they deliver. The 500 participants with the best social media potential were then equipped with a Hansgrohe Raindance shower head, and the tools needed to become Hansgrohe co-marketers. Their task: to share their new shower experiences online via their social networks and blogs, and to provide Hansgrohe with authentic consumer insights from using the product in real life.

The result: 10 x more online buzz

The Hansgrohe co-marketers generated 825,589 real-life conversations and product recommendations about the brand among friends and family and published 9,648 posts on social media. The social media measurement showed 10 times more online buzz for Hansgrohe after the campaign and, importantly, the sentiment of the published content was 100% positive!

Hangrohe quote

Download the full case study to read more, or email us for a printed version in the post.

Securing the Future of the Internet: How Collaborative Marketing can Help

Ad blocking technology is at the forefront of many marketers minds and understandably so; the number of users who block online adverts (via browser extensions, or other tools) grew by 82% in the year up to June 2015.

At this year’s Dmexco, industry experts discussed the impact this could have on the future of the internet and questioned how content providers would be able to continue to provide free online content, should brands lose confidence in online ads.

ad blocking

It’s important we figure this out as an industry. Online advertising funds a massive part of internet freedom. To survive, it needs to evolve. We don’t have the answers yet (although I’m confident the best brains in the industry are already on it), so in the meantime, what practical advice can we give to brands feeling the heat?

To answer this question, we need to look at why people block ads. Why does some advertising content strike a chord and yet most just irritates? One fundamental problem is that so much advertising intrusively forces people to view an ad (“you can skip this ad in 5,4,3…seconds”), rather than focusing on creating content that people actively want or choose to see. It becomes a chore, or a test of patience rather than a meaningful interaction.

Market with people, not at them

If consumers are using ad-blocking technology to prevent advertisers from forcing their message on people, then a more collaborative approach to marketing – in which consumers inform, or even become the media channel – is the antithesis.

Too often advertising focuses on the product. It interrupts and screams “Look at me I’m great, choose me and choose me now…” if a person were to behave the same way on social media we’d cull or at the very least block their updates immediately. Ad-blockers simply enable us to do the same to brands.

Reverse the analogy and think of how we respond to photos and shared experiences and you start to see how brands could, by sharing experiences of the people using their product, create meaningful content. By collaborating with consumers and incorporating real opinion and reviews into marketing communications, it becomes useful and credible. By being mindful of where consumers go to seek out that information and ensuring they find it there (instead of shoving it down their throat when they’re trying to do something else) it suddenly becomes very powerful indeed.

Co-create communications

Advertising needs to evolve from a creator/viewer relationship, to a collaborative effort where brands and their advocates exchange concepts and creations.

The important question to ask here is why do people create content? The answer is twofold. Firstly, it makes them look good! Being seen as having the inside track or expertise elevates social standing. Secondly, consumers want a stake in the brands they love, according to Edelman 87% of people want a more meaningful relationship with brands and they demonstrate this through the content they share.

Once advertisers acknowledge and begin to build their communication strategy around this, they turn the consumer into the media channel, eradicating the need for ad-blocking software. Knowing as we do that peer to peer recommendations are trusted over any other form of advertising (Nielsen), it’s a win-win approach.

Successful advertising isn’t just about clicks or view counts, but engagement and brand loyalty. These factors can be difficult to quantify over the short-term but are both vital to the long-term success of the brand.

Take it offline

If all else fails and the internet goes kaput, solace can be found in the knowledge that two thirds of all word of mouth still happens offline, between real people in the real world.

According to WOMMA one offline impression drives 5% more sales (up to 100% times more) than one paid media impression, and organic word of mouth drives 13% of all consumer sales. In context, all paid media drives 20%-30%. The best advice we can give to brands is to not underestimate the hidden powers of your consumers. Focus on how to collaborate with them to ensure your message spreads far and wide, regardless of what ad-blocking technology throws your way.

First published 10 November 2015 in Digital Marketing Magazine.

5 trends shaping Collaborative Marketing in 2016

The end of 2015 flooded the internet with lists of marketing trends to look out for in 2016. Overwhelmed by what we as marketers are supposed to be doing in the year ahead – mobile, video, embracing wearable tech and watching out for the [robots taking over our jobs]( https://company.trnd.com/en/blog/could-a-robot-really-do-a-marketers-job) whilst dealing with rising challenges like ever expanding media channels and ad-blocking – we decided to summarise the 5 most important marketing trends for us and Collaborative Marketing in the year ahead.

1. Authenticity

Forget about chasing perfect reviews glorifying your brand and product. Consumers are savvy and will be suspicious if something is marketed as perfect. Striving for 5-star reviews won’t make your brand more authentic. Consumers see through the “too good to be true” façade and might even ignore products that lack negative feedback.

Research shows that consumers are more likely to buy products with an average star rating of 4.2 to 4.5. A balanced mix of good and bad reviews conveys brand transparency. Authentic reviews are the way to go in 2016 and nurturing a meaningful relationship with your consumers is the best way to stimulate these.

2. Real people marketing

Celebrities are 2015, consumers are 2016. Rather than using celebrities to endorse your brand, use the influencers you’ve built relationships with through positive experiences with your brand and products – your consumers. Empowering your consumers to become marketers for your brand ties in with the rising importance of meeting consumers where they are, instead of on marketers’ terms. Getting real consumers to help spread the word will guarantee highly targeted messaging while not being intrusive, as all communication takes place between peers.

friends selfie - real people marketing

Word-of-mouth and personal recommendations are the most trusted and impactful forms of advertising, and they’re authentic. Learning to harness the power of your consumers will transform your marketing this year.

3. Ad-blocking

We’ve written about it before. The rise of ad-blocking software forces brands to move from traditional advertising to other marketing practices that consumers will actually want to engage with.

Removing ad-blocking software isn’t the answer (or even an option). As marketers we have to respect the fact that some people don’t want to see our ads, and find a better way to interact. Rather than pushing out messages at people, we need to collaborate with them, listen to what they want from our brand and talk to them on their terms. Technology and community platforms allow you to do this successfully, at scale.

4. Online communities

Social media entered the marketing world promising grandiose new levels of engagement between brands and consumers. But many brands have been disappointed to realise their social media efforts are not paying off as well as expected, and that social media isn’t as suited to build meaningful customer relationships as they might have thought. It’s time brands focus on connecting with consumers in a space fit for purpose that actually enables brand-consumer dialogue to go beyond the more one-sided relationship social media channels offer.

Building and nurturing an online community the right way turns your brand into a success by boosting brand engagement, driving awareness and loyalty and importantly, increases sales. A [2014 study]( http://www.lithium.com/company/news-room/press-releases/2014/lithium-communities-drive-nearly-12-times-more-sales) proves that customer communities drive almost 12 times more sales than other social channels.

Technical solutions, such as trndsphere enable brands to add a social relationship element to existing platforms and CRM systems, so start now and open a two-way communication channel exactly where consumers are looking to engage with you.

5. The rise of UGC

Tying in with both the authenticity trend and the rise of ad-blocking, marketers need to re-think what content will grab (and keep!) the attention of consumers. Brands looking to create compelling content must look beyond the ad agency and acknowledge the relevance of user-generated content (UGC).

Always a valuable tool, it’s only in the last couple of years that we’ve started to view UGC as a marketing strategy in its own right. Used properly it could and should add credibility to all elements of the media mix.

The best bit?

Making our top 5 trends for 2016 work for your brand is easy, because you already have the most important resource in place – your consumers. Whether you focus on leveraging authentic UGC or choose to invest in technology that will transform your existing CRM systems in to a highly efficient Collaborative Marketing platform, succeeding in 2016 will require a shift of mind set that sees brands marketing with, not at, their consumers.

Nielsen study - Global Trust in Advertising 2015

Nielsen’s 2015’s edition of "Global Trust in Advertising" study including new, Europe-specific figures is out.

Whilst we’ve had to do with global numbers in our articles and whitepapers until now, the new 2015 report contains European data, allowing us to make more meaningful claims about our UK market and playground.

Trust in advertising Europe

The new report shows that offline and online word-of-mouth (WOM) are the top one (78%) and two (60%) most trusted forms of advertising in Europe. No other advertising form is considered as trustworthy as word-of-mouth recommendations by European consumers.

But hang on a minute, in the study from 2013, WOM was trusted by 84% of consumers. Has the trust in WOM dropped?

The answer is no. The 84% that’s been referred to in articles all around the world up until now is the worldwide average, and not specific to Europe. Looking at trust data in general, it is evident that respondents were more trusting in Africa and Asia, whilst Europeans were less trusting in general, accounting for this apparent drop. The following chart demonstrates that worldwide, trust in WOM still is at an average of 84%, so all you WOM enthusiasts out there can relax.

Trust in advertising worldwide

An actual (albeit minor) decrease can be found when looking at online WOM. The chart above shows that trust in online WOM has dropped by 2% compared to figures from 2013. This may be a result of web users becoming increasingly savvy and having discovered that not all companies are as honest as one might wish, and that unfortunately not all ratings and reviews are authentic, damaging the reputation of online opinions across the board.

Human instincts unswayed by evolving marketing landscape

Peer-to-peer recommendations are yet again proven to be the most credible form of advertising out there, as 8 in 10 respondents in Nielsen's study completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. But another interesting finding is that trust isn’t confined only to our inner circle. Despite the dip, two thirds of people still trust the opinions of fellow consumers online.

The advertising landscape is evolving at an extraordinary pace, but basic human instincts such as trust and the need to connect with our peers remain unchanged.

The science behind collaboration

Team work is the way to go and the science behind collaboration proves brands have a lot to gain by collaborating with their consumers.

From priceless perks like word of mouth, co-creation and real-life insights, brands don’t need to dig deep to engage further loyalty and further marketing reach through collaboration. But what’s in it for the consumers, why is it that collaborative marketing works as a win-win for both parties? Can the important stuff, like sales impact and ROI of word-of-mouth still really be measured using collaborative marketing?

A basic instinct

Humans are innately collaborative, essential for survival. “The human race has only survived through our ability to collaborate and reciprocate…it’s a basic playground skill and we learn it through interacting with others” says Gill Green, consultant psychologist at ORConsulting Ltd.

Collaborative marketing A desire to collaborate is becoming prominent in B2C marketing.


A similar desire to collaborate and build relationships and conversations is becoming increasingly prominent in B2C marketing, and it’s driven by the consumers themselves. But what makes consumers want to provide their feedback for free? It’s about trust and rewards, Green explains.

According to neuropsychology, we are equipped with a “friend or foe” detection system, which helps us determine who the good guys are. When people make false claims or send inconsistent messages, we experience these behaviours as threats and may react with avoidant responses, such as fight, flight or freeze. But when we feel included and consulted, these responses change from threat to “approach” – in other words, we instinctively prefer collaboration to being told what we should or shouldn’t think.

As a result we feel rewarded when brands involve us and welcome our feedback and criticism. So show your consumers that you are willing to listen and that their opinion matters and you’ll be able to fully make use of the intrinsic reward mechanisms for engagement. And if you want to be deepen the relationship further, remember that consumers will feel even more rewarded when you act upon what you tell them.

There are clear incentives for brands and consumers alike to collaborate in marketing. But how do we bring this to a strategic and measurable level?

Profit from the data maze

Data is and will continue to be a hot topic, but marketers today are struggling to close the loop between the power and potential of the data they hold, and putting it to use in real life.

Collaboration drives solid data, which feeds back into your CRM system, powering future engagements. Collaborative technology means that every conversation (offline as well as online), action, email, and contact point between you and your community can be tracked, measured and analysed by technology, and integrated to CRM systems to inform your marketing campaigns and make them more effective.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) including factors like online and offline reach, consumer generated media (blog posts, ratings, reviews, social media mentions etc.) and product trials make collaborative marketing plannable and measurable.

Join our breakfast event to learn more

It’s clear that the collaborative approach encourages all types of success for brands, from customer experience to data, further engagement to further customer loyalty. The ‘Marketing Breakfast; market with your consumers rather than at them’ will be a free breakfast event for those in marketing wishing to reach out and shake up their marketing point of view. Join The Drum Network and trnd for a free breakfast event to learn all about how the analytics and psychology behind consumer collaboration work.

First published 29 September 2015 on The Drum

trnd at the Festival of Marketing

The Festival of Marketing is approaching and we’re looking forward to an exciting one this year, and we’ve got a secret to share: it’ll be packed with all kinds of delights...

Festival of Marketing, 11th-12th November

festival of marketing

A yearly event by marketers for marketers, the Festival of Marketing is all about bringing together the superheroes in the business to talk all things marketing. From news to trends, insights and networking opportunities, it’s guaranteed to inspire your marketing for months to come.

trnd at the Festival

We’re not just exhibiting this year, but also sharing a couple of insights with you over at the Insights stage. Pop over for a chat at our stand (no. 4) or come and listen to Rebekah’s and Paul’s talk on how to market with your customers, not at them on Wednesday the 11th at 3.45pm.

Festival of Marketing speaking slot

Experience Collaborative Marketing

We’re looking forward to meeting you in person and we wouldn’t want you to leave our stand empty handed, so we’ve prepared a special little something for you to take home. Collaborative marketing is all about customer engagement, so we’d like to invite you to experience one of our campaigns from a consumer perspective – we promise that it’ll not just be rewarding, but also lots of fun… and that there’s something fabulously tasty in it for you!

Get your ticket to Festival of Marketing now

and let us know that you will be there!

Breakfast at trnd's

The morning of the 21st October was rainy and gloomy, but at The Fable Bar in central London the scent of coffee was welcoming marketers to a Collaborative Breakfast, hosted by trnd in collaboration with The Drum Network and ORConsulting.

Rebekah Mackay Miller

Rebekah Mackay Miller, MD of trnd UK, kicking off the morning by challenging the audience to scrap the word consumer and invite their loyal customers and fans as co-marketers.

Oliver Mayer, international analyst

First key speaker Oliver Mayer, international analyst at trnd, presenting case studies of what WOM can achieve for a range of different brands and sectors. Brand awareness, increased sales, product awareness and even an increase in UGC (up to 10 times in some campaigns) are just some of the benefits of adopting a collaborative approach to marketing.

Aedrian Bekker, ORConsulting

Business psychologist Aedrian Bekker from ORConsulting enlightening the attendees on the perspective of the consumer – what is it that motivates them to collaborate with brands?

Live WOM

After two insight packed seminars the event moved on to its interactive session: a mini Collaborative Marketing campaign from a consumer perspective.

Live WOM participants

Marketers stepped into the shoes of their consumers, testing prototype chocolate bars and discussing their package design and flavours.

Live WOM participants 2
Live WOM Aaron
Panel discussion trnd From left to right: Paul Mitchell, joint MD of trnd UK; Rebekah Mackay Miller,trnd UK; Jessica Baah, The Drum Magazine; Oliver Mayer, trnd; Aedrian Bekker, ORConsulting.

Wrapping up the event with a panel discussion, our experts covered the most common questions evoked when introducing Collaborative Marketing to brand managers and marketers.

Thanks to everyone who showed up on the day!

Were you not able to make it? We're more than happy to send you more information on the topics that were covered. Just drop us a line! And look out for our next event to learn more on how to market with your consumers, not at them.

Could a robot really do a marketer's job?

The developments in artificial intelligence are about to reshape Britain’s workforce. Oxford University researchers scored 365 professions against their chances of becoming automated over the next 20 years, and junior marketers are amongst those at risk.

Based on nine key skills required to perform a job, over three hundred occupations were investigated for their likelihood of becoming computerised in the coming decades.

Robot marketer

Junior and mid-range marketing occupations, labelled in the study as ‘marketing associate professionals’, have a 33% likelihood of being automated, whilst more senior roles such as marketing and sales directors are less at risk with only a 1% chance of their job being replaced by artificial intelligence. Telemarketers, however, might want to start looking for a new occupation as they rank top of the risk list, with an intimidating 99% chance of becoming obsolete.

But robots can’t replace the real deal

Sure, robots can tackle many tasks a lot more efficiently than us mere mortals. They can filter and analyse vast amounts of consumer data in seconds, identify underlying patterns and trends quicker than any human brain and, as if that wasn’t enough, they can do all this without a single coffee break. But technology can only take you so far. Successful brands know that marketing is all about building lasting relationships with your customers and that you need a human touch to develop a truly meaningful relationship with your consumer base. Only real people can listen to other people on a personal level and make genuine connections with them.

Real insights about your brand and products will not spring out of labs or from machines – because however intelligent they are, they’re not the ones buying and using your products. The truly invaluable insights come straight out of your consumers’ homes and experiences. Your most loyal customers are your biggest fans and they are willing to go all out for their favourite brand, so rather than bringing robots into your marketing team you should be looking to invite your consumers in! Let them, and they will rave about your brand via word of mouth, generate online reviews for your spanking new product, or provide carefully thought out and honest feedback.

The next marketing force to unleash is not a technological one to look out for in twenty years, but already exists and is just waiting to be activated – your consumers.

Collaborative Marketing breakfast: "Market with your consumers – not at them"

Learn how to market with your consumers rather than at them.

Collaborative breakfast

trnd is teaming up with The Drum Network for an insightful breakfast event on how to build a lasting and rewarding relationship with your customers. By attending you will gain a greater understanding of what can be achieved when you bring your consumers into the marketing process, while networking with some of the best brains in the industry.

When: Wednesday 21 October, 8am-11am
Where: The Fable, 52 Holborn Viaduct, EC1A 2FD

What’s on the agenda?

• Understand how to make your existing customer base part of your marketing force.
• Live word-of-mouth campaign – experience Collaborative Marketing first-hand through the eyes of your consumers.
• Learn the psychology behind successful brand-consumer collaborations.
• Opportunity to discuss the challenges brands are facing in reaching consumers through marketing, and how to overcome these.
• Hear from brands like yours to see what is possible.

More information and free registration

First-come, first-served – sign up now!

Introduction to Collaborative Marketing

Humans are innately collaborative – it has been essential for survival. In the marketing world, collaboration has traditionally meant brands working with other brands in order to market more effectively. But more and more companies realise that the most rewarding collaboration happens when you involve consumers themselves – marketing with your consumers, rather than at them.

Who better to get input and help from than the people you actually want to buy your products?

Luckily, consumers are very open to this idea. They no longer want to just consume, but desire a more active role in engaging with their favourite brands. There is a demand for collaboration, relationships and conversations in marketing, driven by consumers. According to Edelman’s brand share study, 87% of people want ‘more meaningful relationships’ with brands.

Adopting a collaborative approach to marketing

So, how do you meet the new demands of customers and involve them in a meaningful relationship with your brand? Stop seeing people as the end of the chain, with the only task of buying your products. Think about how you can involve them much earlier in the product life cycle and work with them to create things that they really like and want.

Share

Give your customers social currency – something valuable to share with friends – such as product samples and some exciting insider information, and they will be more than happy to spread the word. Let them feel that their opinions are valued and show them that you are willing to learn and develop based on their feedback.

Collaborative marketing is about putting people rather than products centre stage in your marketing. The best news is that entering this field of collaborative marketing is easy, you already have the most important resource in place – your consumers. Involve them in your marketing process to future-proof your marketing and secure the survival of your brand.

Join our Collaborative Marketing Breakfast with The Drum Network and learn all about how to involve your customers profitably in your marketing activities.

Register for free here!

Or check out the latest project on our community platform.

The Return of the Branded Community

Social media strategies are considered an essential part of marketing plans today, but for a lot of brands their social media efforts are not paying off as well as expected. Many have been disappointed to realise social media isn’t necessarily the place to build any kind of meaningful relationships with people.

Fans

Despite having thousands of fans and followers, the money and time invested into social media marketing doesn’t always result in engaged consumers. Research shows that the majority of social media posts only reaches a fraction (2%) of fans and followers and is only shared or liked by 0.2% of those. The real interaction and engagement with consumers just doesn’t occur.

Nate Elliot, Vice President of market research company Forrester argues that Facebook and Twitter simply don’t offer the kinds of relationships that marketing managers desire. He urges marketers “to start building up strategies for social relationships around websites” in order to offer the connection that brands know they need and consumers know they want.

More than just a marketing strategy

It’s time for brands to stop wasting their efforts chasing likes and followers on social media, and focus on connecting with consumers in forums that actually work. A strong and engaged customer base is the ultimate asset for a consumer-facing business.

A branded community is a place for your customers and fans to unite over a mutual interest in your brand, and it’s important to acknowledge that the community does not exist to serve the business, it’s for the people who are in it. However, nurture your community the right way and it can turn your brand into a success by increasing customer loyalty, saving marketing costs, strengthening brand messages and stimulating tonnes of ideas for developing your business via co-creation. A branded community isn’t just a marketing strategy, to deliver powerful returns it has to be an integral part of the business strategy.

Technical solutions with the human touch

You probably already have a CRM in place. You have all the data - email data, purchase data, online behaviour - but often nothing really to join the dots, because at no point are the actual consumers, or consumer interactions integrated into the system. Most CRM programs render the potential of existing customers as an untapped marketing force. However, there are technical solutions covering content, data collection and measurement tools as well as community management and engagement, that enable brands to add a social relationship element to their own branded communities and opening a two way communication channel exactly where consumers are looking to engage.

Put the people centre stage of your marketing and communicate with them to find out what they actually want out of your products. Work to understand and meet their needs, encourage their conversations and listen to their opinions. With appreciation for your community and by truly engaging with your consumers you can nurture a branded community that delivers great returns.

Integration of trndsphere enables brands to work with their consumers at eye level and involve them at all stages of the product life cycle, be that driving awareness at launch via Word of Mouth, producing content, co-creation or offering insight in real-life research. This will help to unlock the true potential of a brand’s CRM. And the best news? The biggest resource that you need to get started – your consumers – is already in place!

Four brand new case studies available

We’ve just had four brand new case studies delivered from our printer. Brilliant examples of how a trnd campaign can help you meet your objectives, each in a handy booklet. Read the summaries below and get in touch for your copy!

Whatever your marketing challenge is, collaborating with your consumers can help you solve it. Just check out these success stories from four diverse sectors.

success folders

Powered e-commerce

Multinational e-commerce company Zalando wanted to promote their online shop in Italy, acquire new customers and find out more about their consumers' online purchase behaviour. In this case study we tell you all about how trnd involved 50,000 consumers in the campaign and achieved over 10,000 new customers for Zalando.

Read the full case study here

Awareness via online buzz

German bathroom specialist Hansgrohe creates innovative and beautifully designed showers and fittings, yet their brand awareness among consumers was low. Through a Collaborative Marketing campaign focusing on generating genuine experiences from real consumers and encouraging them to share their thoughts in social media, trnd helped Hansgrohe achieve remarkable results!

Read the full case study here

Instant market leader

The Change Chocolate is not only a delicious Swiss chocolate, but it also serves a good cause. For every five bars of chocolate sold, the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation pledge to plant a tree. Launching in the Fairtrade market in 2012, the Change Chocolate went from being the new player straight to market leader, with the support from trnd and our collaborative marketing solutions.

Read the full case study here

Impressive sales uplift

The world‘s largest trader of rice, Ebro Foods, wanted to generate awareness and drive trial for their new product range Brillante a la Sartén, a rice-based ready meal. By activating the power of real consumers and inspiring them to become enthusiastic participants in the Brillante marketing team, trnd helped Ebro Foods achieve a significant 28% sales uplift.

Read the full case study here

Get your hands on one (or all) of them now! Download the PDF versions or email us and we’ll be more than happy to send them to you in the post.

Marketing with women, not at them

Marketing to women has traditionally focused on demographic groupings that just don’t work any more.

The way brands market to women is finally changing. Thank God. No more ‘release the product in pink and she’ll buy it’ - although I’ll miss some of the brilliant, funny responses to those products. (We’ve all been reminded of Bic for Her thanks to Bic SA this week!)

Actually, scrap marketing to women altogether. Brands whose customers are predominantly women are waking up to the power of marketing with women.

Marketing to women has traditionally focused on demographic groupings that just don’t work any more. We don’t fit into convenient categories; ‘stay at home mum’, ‘working mum’, ‘career woman’, ‘superwoman’. We’re ambitious, intelligent, mindful, creative, funny, entrepreneurial, powerful… Our roles, personalities and aspirations are fluid and not – despite much of the advertising out there – confined to having a clean house and a happy family (or even having a house or a family at all).

marketing with women Research shows women are natural storytellers.

Research presented at the M2W conference in Chicago this year highlighted a number of trends that are important for brands whose products are bought by women. In particular, women are natural storytellers. We share our experiences, insights, complaints and helpful information with our friends. We listen to and learn from each other, and trust recommendations from friends, family or peers to influence our purchase decisions above everything else. We also do our research – on average, women refer to 10 different sources of information before a purchase (this compares to an average of two sources for men).

This makes word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing a critical part of a brand’s marketing strategy to reach women. A robustly planned and executed WOM programme harnesses this natural human behaviour, technology enables it to be driven at scale.

But it has to be collaborative to work effectively. If women are prepared to share their stories, brands must listen to what they have to say. We know from our own experience of building a network of millions of people, that the communication must be two-way – by engaging with companies at eye level women are empowered to share the inside track on products with their friends, and are given the confidence and means to give feedback to brands.

The best bit? It’s win-win. Given the chance we genuinely enjoy being welcomed into the inner circle of our favourite brands (and the social currency it bestows) and companies benefit from an infinitely huge marketing force spreading the word about their products.

Tapping into a network of women who will help you market your product means ditching some of the old methods of marketing to women, and focusing on collaborating with them, instead. Here are my top five considerations when creating a WOM marketing programme for women:

1. Identify the women who are already your fans through your own branded community, rather than on social media (so you’ll own the data). If you don’t have your own community, use an existing WOM network that can identify your influencers for you. Drop the marketing stereotypes, and instead, look at interests, skills, influence and personalities.

2. Make them feel special. Give them the tools they’ll need to become experts on your brand and keep them in the loop, so they’re always the first to hear about new products and have lots of interesting topics to then share with friends.

3. Let go! Try to control how, where and what is said about your brand and you’re guaranteed to lose credibility. Instead, be the enabler. Empower women to share honest experiences and opinions with those around them, and then ask them to feed back to you.

4. Listen to what they say, act on it and then thank them for it. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing your voice is heard and valued, and these kinds of rewards reap much higher returns when it comes to loyalty than a price promotion ever will.

5. Amplify and integrate your WOM campaign across all of your media channels. Insight and testimonials generated as a result of a WOM campaign are hugely powerful assets and will resonate with your audience, because they’re the words of real women, just like them.

First published 3 September 2015 on Netimperative

Respect Reviews or Lose Respect

Sixty-one per cent of customers read online reviews before they buy. Placing power in the views of our peers is nothing new, it’s how society has operated for millennia, so businesses shouldn’t be surprised that customer opinion holds so much weight when it comes to sales.

Research from Bazaarvoice found that there was, on average, a 58% conversion rate when consumers read peer reviews. The research also confirmed that with more reviews come more sales, with one review increasing the likelihood of a purchase by 10% and 50 reviews by, a not to be sniffed at, 37%.

Review_pen

However reviews can also be damaging. Not because they might portray a product in a negative light - in fact one study reported by the Harvard Business Review found that negative reviews can increase sales. The danger is when the source or authenticity comes into question, and we’re already starting to see the cracks. In a world where performance is measured against star ratings and review counts, how can consumers trust that reviews are real and brands avoid finding themselves in muddy waters?

The answer is of course transparency. But knowing exactly what it is within reviews that makes consumers tick, and focusing on this rather than sheer quantity goes a long way too. A study published in The Journal of Marketing found that positive star ratings didn’t influence sales, if anything, seeing only ‘5 stars’ arouses suspicion. Crucially, content that readers can relate to written using a tone that emanates real user experience had a positive effect on conversation.

The practice of rewarding (read: paying) consumers to review your product has saturated the market and I’m sure we all we know at least one person who’s shared an overzealous post in the hope of winning a year’s supply of free clothes/food/loo roll…this is where working with your consumers comes into play, and it can be a winning tactic.

Consumers no longer want to be at the receiving end of your marketing plan; they strive to be an active part within it. One way brands can collaborate with customers is through reviews and a great place to start is by demonstrating how much consumer opinion is valued. Negative reviews should be seen as an opportunity, both for the business to improve, and for it to resolve an issue for the customer.

Similarly, brands should show their appreciation of positive reviews, not just skim over them in search of the more critical ones. Showcasing amazing user generated content (and the content creator) across other channels will not only be far more rewarding for the consumer than 10% off their next purchase, but will make your content marketing more meaningful too.

Businesses that practice authentic communication by working with consumers in a genuine and open way demonstrate that customer opinion matters and build a foundation of trust in the brand that will ultimately contribute to future sales. This is not radical stuff, but it is all too often overlooked.

Actions speak louder than words. Consumers are intelligent beings and see the difference between reviews that tickle an ego versus those that genuinely contribute to a company’s evolution. Reviews are a hugely important tool for marketers, but they must be respected by brands, or brands will soon lose the respect of their consumers.

First published 20 August 2015 on Digital Marketing Magazine

Vox Pop: the future of mobile vs. ad blocking

Rebekah Mackay Miller, MD of trnd UK, expressed her opinion on mobile ad blocking in The Drum's Vox Pop on the 12th August.

With ad blocking software on the rise publishers risk losing a fortune in advertising revenue as more and more European audiences choose to block ads on their content hubs. The Drum Network asked a few of their members about theirs thoughts on ad blocking and how it will affect the way advertisers reach out to audiences.

Rebekah Mackay Miller, MD, trnd UK

"If people want to block your ads, you’ve got a bigger problem than ad blocking software. Advertisers need to think more creatively so people actively want to engage. If you’re serious about putting people at the heart of your campaigns, you’ll respect the fact that some of those people don’t want to see your ads, and then work out what to do about it.

Removing ad blocking software isn’t the answer. Stop trying to show people stuff they don’t want to see, and find a better way to interact. Collaborate with people, rather than marketing at them. People are generally pretty receptive to working with brands if they’re approached in the right way. Listen to what they want from you, and talk to them on their terms. This is easier than it sounds: technology and community platforms mean you can do this at scale.

We need a shift in thinking on the open web model if the ad-based model is dead. Newspapers are having to do it, the music industry’s having to do it, and publishing’s having to do it. If people want to block ads, fine. Let’s collaborate as an industry and find something that people want, to replace it. Stop flogging a dead horse, and change the terms of marketing."

Read the full Vox Pop article including opinions from representatives of RBH, Hunterlodge Advertising, Invisible Artists Sydney, Silverbean and Strawberry on The Drum.

Why your next marketing collaboration should be with your customers

‘Collaborative marketing’ refers simply to the process of collaborating with others in order to market more effectively. Traditionally, this has meant collaborating with other companies or brands, however, there is growing evidence to suggest that that most rewarding marketing collaborations are actually those with consumers themselves.

There is a real drive towards collaboration, relationships and conversations in marketing, driven by consumers. According to Edelman’s brand share study, 87% of people want ‘more meaningful relationships’ with brands and we see this in our campaigns too – the consumer no longer wants to just consume, but craves a more active stake in their favourite brands.

So how should we respond as marketers? Here are four key areas in which brands could and should be collaborating with customers:

Word of Mouth

92 per cent of us believe recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of advertising (Nielsen). Today technology enables us to connect with and open a dialogue with the people on the ground, and engage large groups of your biggest fans, at scale. A study by Lithium found that talking to 1,000 people can spawn 500,000 quality branded messages, experiences and conversations about a brand all with near zero wastage, because intrinsically we only share things with others that we know they’re interested in.

Word of mouth doesn’t just achieve awareness, it also influences purchase behaviour. As many as 50 per cent of all purchase decisions are influenced by word of mouth, according to Lithium, and a recent landmark study by WOMMA showed that one offline WOM impression drives at least five times more (and up to one hundred times more) sales than a single paid media impression. Add to this that WOM boost the effects of all media by 15 per cent and conversation becomes a metric worth paying attention to.

Social content

Content marketing is a huge topic that’s not going anywhere, but content for the sake of content can be really damaging for brands. The crux lies in understanding how to make your content meaningful and your customers can help you out here. A great example of a brand using UGC in their ABL activity is Lidl, with their campaign ‘Lidl surprises’, which showcases tweets shared by customers. But there are also lots of other ways your customers can work with you to bolster your ABL activity. Websites and owned channels are an obvious way to showcase testimonials and real life stories, insight and visuals add huge credibility to PR executions. Content created by real people resonates with your audience.

Real-life research

Customer collaboration can happen at any stage of a product lifecycle, you don’t need a product that’s ready for market and if you involve customers much earlier in the process you’ll not only gain priceless insights, but your customers will thank you for it. In fact a report by Ipsos SMX found that 9 out of 10 consumers view brands more positively when they involve real people in product development.

Co-Creation

New products appear almost daily to entice fickle customers away with the promise of a new aspiration, look or experience. Innovation is critical to keeping customers inspired – but who says that innovation is best placed to come from within?

McKinsey talks about the impact that co-creation has had at P&G, where co-creation strategies have led to ‘dozens’ of new products. Lego – possibly the ultimate co-creation brand – invites fans to submit ideas of new products and Heineken, who openly admit that they do not have all the answers, strive to connect with the outside world through their Innovators Brewhouse. With 90 per cent of us reportedly more likely to purchase products from companies that involve them in co-creation, collaboration at the ideas stage pays too (Ipos SMX).

Collaboration of this nature is a brave step for brands. Relinquishing control can be a daunting proposition, but when you get it right, magic happens. And the best bit? The biggest resource, your customer base, is already in place. You’ve been nurturing it for years.

Now is the time to activate it.

First published 5 August 2015 on The Drum

Word-of-Mouth milestone – landmark study proves the sales impact of WOM

Word-of-mouth (WOM) is not just the oldest form of marketing, it is also the most credible and effective. As the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) celebrated 10 years they presented a study on the ROI of WOM, showing some remarkable results: online and offline conversations and recommendations drive 13% of consumer sales.

The study 'Return on WOM' was published in November 2014 and funded by companies such as PepsiCo, Weight Watchers, AT&T, Discovery Communications and Intuit.

The study shows that online and offline conversations and recommendations drive 13% of consumer sales, whilst the word-of-mouth impact in higher price-point categories accounts for almost 20% of sales. Compare this to all paid media that in total account for 20%-30%, and it’s clear that the power of peer-to-peer conversations must not be underrated.

Measurable impact – a landmark in WOM marketing

The findings, based on market-mix modeling from independent analytics consultancy Analytic Partners, show that both online and offline WOM are strong purchase drivers. Whilst online word-of-mouth accounts for one third of the sales impact, it’s the offline WOM – accounting for two thirds – that has the real penetrating power. According to 'The Return on WOM' an offline word-of-mouth impression drives five times more sales than a traditional paid advertisement. The impact of word-of-mouth is also more immediate than that of conventional advertising as purchase usually occurs within two weeks of a WOM impression.

This study is a landmark in the world of word-of-mouth marketing as it allows us to reliably measure the impact of WOM campaigns in specific product categories. Evidently WOM not only strengthens the impact of traditional (paid) media, but also works independently and in different channels. This is great news for all producers who have already added word-of-mouth to their marketing plan!

Word-of-Mouth by trnd

As firm believers in the power of peer-to-peer recommendations, the results hardly surprised us here at trnd. Since 2005 we have shown the effects that involving your consumers in your marketing can have on sales figures and publicity of products. trnd was the first company in Europe to make word-of-wouth marketing plannable and measurable, and has proven the effects of WOM for a wide range of products and services in more than 800 WOM campaigns.

By activating thousands of volunteer co-marketers – your consumers – trnd helps you tap into the unused WOM potential of your existing customer base. As verified by the WOMMA study, letting your consumers spread the word is not only the most credible form of advertisement, but also extremely effective and highly targeted.

Want to know more? Read more about trnd WOM campaigns here or click here to read the full results of the 'Return on WOM' study.

The Age of Collaboration - How to market WITH your consumers, not AT them

Webinar with Rebekah Mackay Miller and Paul Mitchell, Joint MDs of trnd UK.

Recent studies show people want to develop more meaningful relationships with brands. The rewards for brands who truly collaborate with their customers and involve them at the heart of their marketing are great, with genuine advocacy leading to more sales, increased brand awareness, meaningful customer insights, user generated content and more.

This webinar will share how, by putting your customers centre stage, you can develop the meaningful relationships they seek and work with them to thrive in this brave new era of marketing.

Webinar: The age of Collaboration

Watch the recording of the webinar here.

Collaborative marketing: building meaningful relationships between brands and people

How do you build a meaningful relationship between a brand and a consumer? Rebekah Mackay Miller, MD of trnd UK, offers tips on adopting a collaborative approach to marketing.

Does anyone really want a relationship with a brand? According to Edelman’s brand share study, the answer is yes: 87% of people want “meaningful relationships” with brands. (They are mostly disappointed.)

The important word here, of course, is ‘meaningful’. How do you build a meaningful relationship between a brand and a consumer?

A good place to start is probably to ditch the word consumer. Instead of seeing people as passively consuming your products, start thinking about how you can work effectively with them to create stuff that they really want. Get them involved with the brand, so they feel a real connection to it. Not a like on a Facebook page, but a real feeling of involvement with and investment in the brand.

Collaborative marketing is the idea of putting people (rather than products) centre stage in your marketing and development plans. It takes a big shift in thinking for many companies. But it pays big results, too.

There’s nothing like launching a product knowing that it’s going to fly off the shelves. If you’ve collaborated ahead of launch with not just the people who’ll buy it, but those who influence them to buy it, then you’re a long way towards guaranteeing success.

But collaboration requires openness from a brand, and the willingness to listen and learn. If you ask for people’s feedback, you should be prepared to act on it. It could open up new product ideas, that you could co-create with the people who suggested them, and who will influence their sales. Or you could involve people in an early launch of a product, to give them a sneak preview, behind the scenes information, or a product to test and share with their friends. (If there’s something not quite right with that product, hearing about it from the group of people you hope will buy it, before it’s gone through hard launch, could save you from making bad, very expensive decisions.)

Then, when you’re ready to launch, you’ll have an army of real people who already know and love your product, who will help you spread the word and generate the much sought after awareness once it hits the shelves

There’s no marketing that’s more effective than people talking to each other about great product experiences. We love to share good stuff we find. It’s a natural human behaviour. Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising report tells us that 92% of people trust recommendations over any other form of advertising. So for a brand to build a relationship with people that results in genuine advocacy, where real people talk about their experience with a brand – and actively encourage their friends and networks to buy from that brand – is the holy grail of marketing. But it is achievable.

Technology means you can scale the process of building those relationships, seeding conversations, and gathering insight. Social media might be great for people who want to share information about your brand, but it isn’t necessarily the place where the brand can build any kind of meaningful relationships with people. You need a community of influencers, interested in your brand, who actively want to connect with you. And according to a recent Forrester study, consumers want this too, and are far more likely to engage via a branded platform than any social media site.

But technology can only go so far in building a relationship. You still need to add a human touch, to make people feel part of something. That might be as simple as sending products to try in their own home, or interesting titbits and insider information they can share with friends. By offering up such fodder and putting them in the know, you give something valuable to share with friends – what could be more human than that?

And while technology can help you sort and prioritise the feedback data of thousands of people, you still need humans to listen, respond to questions, select the great ideas that you can act on, and make genuine connections with the people who’ll influence your success.

Amazing things happen when people work together. The brands that collaborate with their consumers will be those who really do make those meaningful relationships happen. It will be these brands who thrive and survive in the brave new era of marketing.

First published 9 June 2015 on Netimperative

Building Advocacy via Word of Mouth for a New Product

Word of mouth for a new product can make the difference between launching to a fanfare and a queue around the block, and a damp squib of an affair that barely leaves a mark.

But how do you ensure great word of mouth as an outcome of your launch activities? We believe it is by taking a collaborative approach to your marketing: putting consumers centre stage and involving them in the process. If you make your launch about their experience of your product, they will thank you for it. And they will talk about it. And as 92% of consumers trust recommendations over any other form of advertising, empowering your consumers to work with you has never been more relevant.

Word of mouth starts by identifying the consumers who are really passionate about your category; clean freaks will swoon over a new Limescale remover and budding beauticians at the mere mention of a new serum. Access to a community of the right people via the right digital platform enables you to do this at scale. If instead of identifying 100 influencers, you involve 1,000 or 10,000 real people suddenly the level of awareness, or trial or online buzz they’ll generate becomes quite formidable. But only if you use a platform built for this purpose – many ‘social’ platforms are surprisingly unsociable.

Next you need to connect, really connect, in meaningful and genuine way – the key is to create a VIP experience that makes the consumer feel special, like an insider. To do this you first need to understand what is important to them, and then equip them with the tools to enable them to spread the word in a way that resonates within. This could be product, it could be content or info, it could be as simple as opening a feedback channel. Think about how you can inspire people, make them feel special, entertain them.

And you can start talking to the consumers who will have the greatest impact on your sales, before your new product even hits the shelves. In a truly collaborative approach your consumers should be involved right from the start. What do they think of the concept? Do they need it? Do they love it? They will almost certainly be able to suggest how to improve it. By listening to your consumers and tweaking the product accordingly throughout the NPD (New Product Development) stage, you will have a much better, more desirable product come launch. And you’ll already have a base of connected fans ready to go out and spread the word about the amazing product they helped develop – now that is worth talking about.

There’s nothing more human than sharing information and suggesting new things to friends, it’s how we’re wired. Recommendations are powerful and they resonate. The trick that companies must master to ensure a successful product launch is how to harness this power, and use it to their and their consumers' benefit.

First published 24 April 2015 on Digital Marketing Magazine

Word-of-mouth marketing in the digital age

Word of mouth is marketing nirvana for brands. We’re far more likely to buy something if it comes with a friend’s endorsement. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers around the world say they trust recommendations above all other forms of advertising and a recent landmark study by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) revealed that an offline WOM impression drives at least five times more (up to one hundred times more) sales than a paid impression.

Personal recommendations drive sales, and we know it. Research from the American Marketing Association and WOMMA shows that 64% of marketers believe WOM marketing is ‘more effective than traditional marketing’, yet only 6% are ‘advanced’, so why is this Holy Grail of marketing so hard to grasp?

Womm-digital

It happens in real life – the biggest (and original) social network and goes way beyond just shares, likes, reviews and the much over-used term ‘engagement’. Two thirds of WOM happens offline, so the WOMMA study tells us.

Picture the guy on the market stall; he might have an interesting story to tell about how he grows his produce, he might throw in the occasional freebie or make a suggestion to try something new. In return the customer might suggest new wares to sell on the stall or even new places to set up shop, and they’ll definitely have a tale or two to share with friends.

They go back not because his stall’s the cheapest, but because of the meaningful and trusting, two way relationship with the trader. Brand loyalty comes from feeling as though you have a stake in the brand.

According to the WOMMA study, WOM accounts for an average 13% of sales. To put that in context, all paid media accounts for just 20%-30%.

Accelerating that process and driving WOM at scale is possible by using the right online communities and platforms designed and built for this purpose (contrary to popular belief not all lend themselves to WOM engagement ) because digital enables marketers to scale the market stall scenario, by opening the dialogue between brands and people.

This belief is at the heart of collaborative marketing and word of mouth. Add to this razor sharp targeting and influencer indicators and we have a very powerful tool in our hands.

Important to consider is that the process of collaboration needn’t start when a product hits the shelf, instead consumers should be involved much earlier in the product life cycle. To revisit our market stall – imagine that sales are starting to slump, his previously loyal customers seem to frequent the stall across the way.

Our trader knows he needs to bring a new offering to the table, but what? He could spend a season nurturing a new crop of exotic and expensive veg (that it turns out his customers do not want) or he could just ask them. This way his customers once again feel valued and more invested in the stall than ever.

By involving consumers in testing ideas and prototypes you find out what they love and what needs changing. Do this at scale and you’ll have a ready-made market at launch, and a wealth of ambassadors ready to spread the word once it’s hit the shelves.

It means making your marketing truly collaborative, and putting your customers right at the heart of your campaigns.

First published 20 April 2015 on Brand Republic the Wall blog

Why social media reach has nothing to do with involvement

Curtain call for: the consumer! / Classic marketing showcases the product. Collaborative Marketing celebrates the consumer.

Nowadays, some 80% of online content is user generated*. Consumers have taken centre stage and hijacked the microphone. Instead of painstakingly showcasing their products in a style representative of classic marketing, today businesses and brands can profit by inviting consumers to their stage. The secret is to focus on the so-called “curator class” rather than on high fan numbers. Just look at the majority of thriving collaborative platforms, where consumers and brands engage in a dialogue to bring value added to both sides.

One example is Lady Gaga. She operates a highly successful community that concentrates on a small percentage of her hardcore fans – her so-called “little monsters”. The term stems from one of her songs and is also the name of her platform. Although Lady Gaga may take centre stage when she performs, within her community it’s the fans who steal the limelight – all the while basking in the glamour of their idol.

It’s this principle that Collaborative Marketing providers and enablers like trnd adhere to. The credo: Collaborative Marketing brings business and consumers together, helping to channel consumers’ energy and individual skill sets into profitable marketing. Collaborative Marketing projects by trnd work because they filter, address and secure the most dedicated members – regardless whether a project requires 50, 500 or 15,000 consumers.

At trnd, consumers are recruited from a pool currently numbering some 2 million members. Some businesses are already using the technical solution trndsphere on their own to transform millions of their customers and advocators into unpaid marketing messengers. As soon as genuine fans enter into a dialogue with a brand, they begin to discuss it within their own circles. Not because they expect an incentive, but because they’re excited about the brand, the project and the contribution they, as individuals, are making. They don’t just want to buy a product. They want to help promote new products, to contribute to shaping the product’s future and to tell others all about it.

Consumer approval translates into sales

The value added for companies is obvious: a competitive edge and sustainable rates of growth. Consumers on the other hand profit from optimised products and the exhilarating experience of supporting their favourite brands. Passionate consumers can make a real difference to a market and this difference translates into sales. Sales are the consumer giving the business a figurative round of applause. These are consumers who can identify with a brand, who feel involved, who the brand listens too and regards as friendly neighbours rather than faceless shoppers. They may also be consumers who have been “recruited” and introduced to the brand by other “super fans”. Businesses often completely neglect the diverse range of skills and the energy their consumers can bring to the marketing table. But the best thing companies can do is to work with them. It’s a unique opportunity to unlock the potential of thousands of consumers.

What do consumers really want?

One of the first questions is: do consumers really want to join us on stage? The answer is yes, they want it more than ever. Research backs this theory up. Nine out of ten consumers wish there was more mutual appreciation by brands, as one of the latest brandshare case studies by PR agency Edelman in 2014 shows. Some 80% of consumers want brands to listen to them, but only 13% believe this is currently the case.

It is not just consumers’ desire for more intensive brand relations that supports the idea of Collaborative Marketing. The level of trust consumers have in specific advertising is further proof. Over 80% of consumers trust recommendations by friends and family, as Nielsen has been showing for years in its “Global Trust in Advertising and Brands” research. Less than half of consumers are convinced by TV commercials and under a third trust online ads and banners.

The same applies both online and offline: Word-of-Mouth recommendations from existing contacts are much more credible than traditional advertising. They hugely impact brand perception and how consumer opinions are formed, thus boosting the purchase probability. This notion is backed-up by the case study “Return on WOM” carried out by independent US research company Analytic Partners and published in November 2014. It found that 13% of all market sales, a total of some 6 billion US dollars, are the result of online or offline conversations and recommendations. It’s a strong contrast to the 20-30% of sales generated by conventional advertising, and a clear indication of how powerful Word-of-Mouth can be.

Intensifying dialogues with consumers is definitely a worthwhile strategy. And this is where Collaborative Marketing begins. It links businesses and consumers, helping to unleash new skill sets and channel members’ energy into profitable marketing ideas for a brand.

To conclude, the size of a database size is no longer central. What really matters is whether a business has the tools, the skills and the resolve to create a platform where they can engage with a group of people excited about the prospect of working together.

*Fjord Trends 2013 http://ctap.it/VO7GEh

Why the era of Collaborative Marketing is only just dawning

“We need to talk” – four marketing opportunities for the future in light of Facebook Zero.

Ever since Facebook changed the focus of its business model to paid advertising instead of fan pages’ organic reach, the marketing world has been up in arms. Businesses are faced with the shock realisation that their Facebook pages – previously used to establish communities and interact with fans – are not actually their own. Suddenly marketing strategies are being more closely scrutinised to counter the apparent end of dialogue-oriented marketing on Facebook.

However, rather than signalling an end, current developments could potentially lead to the exact opposite. Facebook Zero has prompted brands to reconsider the opportunities they have to enter into a real and intensive dialogue with consumers. And one thing is now crystal clear: Facebook was never a place where consumers and brands meet to converse. It was always a place for friends. Nothing more, nothing less.

The next logical step for the marketing world is for businesses to establish their own individual brand communities. Communities where consumers become brand messengers and partake in an authentic dialogue with companies as equals. Consumers who are genuinely interested in a product and its development. Consumers who brands regard as serious partners and advocates. These kinds of communities should not be confused with Facebook fans or groups. Businesses working with these members, advocates and consumers represent Collaborative Marketing in the true sense of the word. Consumers become valuable partners collaborating with companies as equals. So much more is possible in this scenario than with a fan who – maybe purely by coincidence – once clicked the “like” button.

Facebook Zero promises four key marketing opportunities for the future:

1. Facebook is the perfect place to recruit members for a brand community

Businesses can still post tailor-made content on Facebook geared at targeting suitable members for their own digital platforms. To work effectively, Collaborative Marketing needs people who are enthusiastic about a brand and/or a product. People who are happy to engage in an intensive dialogue, sometimes in greater depth. People who want to belong to a brand community – whether for the interim or for the long haul. Facebook can help identify these people.

2. Sincere collaborations replace superficial fan relations

Collaborative Marketing is more than simply leaving a comment or liking a photo. It goes beyond clicks and likes to engage with consumers in a way that reflects their opinion is valued and appreciated. Businesses become partners to discover what their consumers really want and what interests them most. This is the only way a brand can harness the energy of thousands of consumers for successful marketing.

3. An individual platform means individual data

When brands create their own data pools and platforms they establish a self-regulated site for consumer collaboration and dialogue. This also shields users from the latest trends and hype within the world of social media, allowing brands to remain autonomous within their own digital home. This is where they can establish and foster relationships based on trust.

4. Organic growth is the aim of the game

Anyone who has created a community or platform so appealing it attracts new members without extra help has sussed it. Good Collaborative Marketing amplifies itself. New members automatically attract more members. This organic growth leads to communities among which campaigns can reach response rates of 90%.

Rather than the end of an era, these four opportunities demonstrate that Facebook Zero signals the dawn of a new age. The age of real Collaborative Marketing. Only now can collaborations between the brand and (the passionate) consumer begin. The quest for likes is over. It’s a worthwhile investment for businesses. As well as profiting from the genuine enthusiasm and commitment within their own communities, they can also look forward to a growing pool of useful data and even more advocates for their brand and products.

Why consumers would rather make recommendations in person than on facebook.

Many marketers find online recommendations useful for their brand. Now a new study shows why most consumers prefer to share their opinions offline, rather than online.

Online and offline WOM from a marketing point of view.

At trnd, we are constantly dealing with different word-of-mouth objectives - for some clients, it makes sense to get consumers to spread word of mouth on the Social Web. Their products are more costly and durable, so it's more useful for them to spread reviews and opinions across the Web. As consumers try to reduce risk when a product is more costly, the various postings from campaign participants leave a positive impact on the brand's search rankings, and on the overall perception potential buyers get when they look for the brand online.

Other clients make consumable products that people buy frequently in the supermarket, at lower costs. People don't usually research such products online before a purchase. As a consequence, spontaneous offline recommendations and real-world trial, usually based on product samples, is a much more suitable approach to WOM for these brands. But that, of course, is the marketing point of view.

Consumers prefer to recommend a brand face-to-face.

An interesting new piece of research now looks at the consumer side of this issue. The researchers found that consumers generally prefer to share their opinions offline, rather than on social networking sites! The reason: people find it more risky to share permanently available opinions with a large circle of online friends; when speaking offline to a smaller circle they can control better to whom and how their opinion spreads.

The willingness to share on Social Media sites reaches the same level as offline only for those consumers who have a high need to "enhance their public profile". In other words: those who have particular concerns about how they are perceived by others will be as happy to use social sites for sharing their opinions as real-world conversations.

This is matched by our own observations from our WOM campaigns: generally, offline WOM far outnumbers online WOM in campaigns that do not have a specific focus on online WOM.

The study: Eisingerich, A.B., et al., Why recommend a brand face-to-face but not on Facebook? How word-of-mouth on online social sites differs from traditional word-of-mouth, Journal of Consumer Psychology (2014).

Build word of mouth into the product: external network effects.

The marketing power of word of mouth cannot only be inserted into the “Promotion P”, but also the “Product P” as well. You can cleverly build word of mouth into the product’s development.

Anybody who uses Skype to call will recommend others to also install the Skype software. The more people you are able to Skype, the better.

family using skype

Those who upload their jogging activities via Nike and iPod to the internet will also profit if lots of other people are also doing so – only by doing this does it enable “virtual battles“ to take place.

Panini sticker collectors profit when lots of their friends are also buying the stickers, as it allows them to trade with others.

All of these examples use “external network effects”: The products are more useful the more friends and family use them. We reckon it’s pretty clever.

Are your URLs suitable for word of mouth?

One of the basic principles of word-of-mouth marketing is to make spreading the word as simple as possible.

So, it makes perfect sense to take a look at all received advertising and information materials in terms of “ability to pass on”, and, where necessary, optimise it.

One factor that is often overlooked is the URLs – the web pages where products and services can be found on the Internet. A bad example of a URL for a product looks as follows:

http://www.company.com/shop/WEBSHOP.extreme/Your Company-company_com/Website/ABC/com_DE/-/-/execute/EUR/ obiwan/W_ShowProductInfo/GoTop? Category=63dasjhg77&Shop=786shhjs&ProductID=876 asdjh&ProductID=76876duz&UserID=7866sdfhhh& SpecialID=s78676s

This would be a lot better:

http://www.company.com/brand/product

It’s a lot easier to relay shorter web addresses (for example during a phone call). Also, when used online in emails and social media, shorter URLs don’t get broken up on different lines – they remain clickable and well recognizable.

Our Word-of-Mouth tip:

Internet address should be set up to be readable to real people, should contain no programming codes and be as short as possible. A good URL should be as significant as a good headline. Then it also works well when spreading the word.

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