WOM UK becomes WOMMA UK in a move to align US and UK word of mouth industries

July 28, 2010 at 10:41 am | Posted in Events, News | Leave a Comment
Tags: word of mouth, Case studies, womma, Ethics, Research, WOMMA UK, partnership

OK, so the logo on the blog header above might have clued you in already!

Yes, we’re delighted to share the news that WOM UK has now officially become WOMMA UK, formalising our partnership with US association WOMMA in a move to share word of mouth marketing expertise in the United States and United Kingdom. The two associations are working closely together to develop and raise the profile of the fast-evolving industry.

We have had an informal agreement since 2008 but have now decided to collaborate in a much closer way.  The agreement allows WOMMA UK and WOMMA members to share insights, ideas, research and case studies and exchange speakers and experts for events and conferences. Additionally, the partnership helps investigate how WOM works in different cultures and countries by bringing members into a much wider international network.

And, in keeping with our mutual push for better ethical practices among WOM marketers, this agreement helps create a consistent ethical platform for brands and practitioners while working in harmony with laws in different countries.

“We welcome the opportunity to share our expertise and knowledge with our colleagues across the pond in WOMMAUK and look forward to learning from their experience too,” says Paul M. Rand, president of WOMMA and president/CEO of the Zócalo Group. “For many WOMMA members who may not have much international WOM exposure, this agreement provides them with resources they may not be able to access or afford on their own,” Rand said.

From WOMMA UK’s perspective, word of mouth dissolves the boundaries between on and offline, local and global, like no other discipline, so for us a partnership with WOMMA was a no-brainer. In such a quickly evolving industry, it’s essential that we share insights and essential that we present a united stance on ethics, best practice and measurement if word of mouth is to become central to businesses worldwide. We’re delighted to be working with such a strong and enthusiastic team at WOMMA and know that our members will benefit from the partnership enormously.

Our new website is under construction and our Twitter stream has now become @WOMMAUK. We hope you’re as excited as we are at this fantastic alliance. If you have any questions or ideas about how you’ll benefit from the partnership, let us know.

How do you make a product truly contagious?

July 26, 2010 at 10:26 am | Posted in Events | Leave a Comment
Tags: social media, word of mouth, emanuel rosen, WOM, consumer psychology, contagious products

This was the question tackled by Emanuel Rosen in WOM UK’s word of mouth thought leadership event on Monday evening.  Fuelled by cheap red wine and challenger thinking, the assembled WOM UK members and members-to-be (hah!) enjoyed a fantastic hour-long presentation which saw the renowned author of The Anatomy of Buzz use case studies and psychological and sociological research to examine what makes a product a word of mouth winner.

Using the deck below, Emanuel considered both the characteristics which make a product inherently conversational, and the external factors which act to accelerate buzz. As he pointed out, it is essential to consider both – we’re not all trying to sell sexy technology or feel-good charity causes, so we need to deconstruct both product and process to give even the most outwardly uninspiring offering real relevance and traction to vocal consumers. And as brands such as In n’ Out burger to Livestrong demonstrate, it is important to find fresh and collaborative, creative ways to encourage interaction in markets crowded with short-term hype.

The questions afterwards reflected a desire to isolate the different factors leading to success, and to understand what happens without a concerted effort to accelerate WOM.  Emanuel emphasised that the early stages of a product’s conversational life are key – those that get buzz, get more buzz – but that a focus on giving consumers ways to be creative themselves with the brand will also ensure longevity of WOM.

Emanuel’s working on his third book with Stanford Professor of Consumer Psychology Itamar Simonson, so we look forward to welcoming him back as their ideas and findings unfold.

We’re taking a break over August (and working on our new website) but remember to save the date for our next WOM UK event on 8th September 6pm, when Dr Paul Marsden of Viralculture will be talking digital ethnography and more.

WOM and the law: “These days, everything you do will come under scrutiny”

July 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Ethics, Events | Leave a Comment
Tags: social media, word of mouth, Ethics, WOM, law, reed smith, ReACTS

Our new partnership with Reed Smith’s advertising compliance team ReACTS – which brings WOM UK members free legal advice on their social media and word of mouth activity – kicked off in fiery style last week with our breakfast event around WOM and the law.

This was obviously a topic that hit home for the marketers, brand owners and agencies in the room (who remained valiantly undistracted by the incredible view from Broadgate Tower…)

Marina Palomba and Chris Hackford provided an excellent overview of the main issues in the space, and a welcome wake-up call around key areas that are likely to prove increasingly contentious, as  interest in legislating word of mouth activity grows. One example is the proposed extended remit of the CAP Code, which is struggling to gain traction but backed by strong intent.

There were questions throughout and a sense that everyone was starting to realise how little they know about the legal playing field regarding consumer engagement, UGC, transparency, privacy, promotions, moderation, copyright and more. The deck from the event below is a must-read for anyone working in the space.

Marina’s case studies of companies caught out – WalMart, American Express, Sony, TalkSport – proved the importance of sharing legal knowledge throughout a business, and indeed the importance of establishing a strong internal ethical code to protect employees against misguided activity.

It’s a philosophy obviously close to our heart; anyone can access the WOMMA Ethical Code that we and our members subscribe to, or Tempero’s UGC and the Law whitepaper we helped build. Members can also access the WOMMA Ethics Toolkit, which defines best practices and baseline rules, and asks 20 questions to help you ethically comply.

Here at WOM UK we’re also looking at becoming closely involved in the legal debates and motions around this space, with the help of the brilliant ReACTS team, so we’ll keep you posted on any developments. And do let us know – what are your big legal concerns? We’ll use them to shape our next session with the team…

WOM UK July event: Emanuel Rosen on contagious products

July 5, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Events | 1 Comment

Our previous event featuring Emanuel Rosen, WOM guru and author of the industry bible ‘The Anatomy of Buzz’, went down so well we couldn’t resist having him back. And this time he’ll be focusing in on how to make specific products buzz-worthy.

On Monday 19th July, from 6-7pm, Emanuel Rosen will talk about ‘Accelerating Buzz about Contagious Products’ at Grey, 77 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8JS, with discussion, drinks and networking until 8.30pm. Attendance is free and priority for members so email [email protected] now to make sure you get a place.

Some products have what it takes to create good buzz. What are these “contagious products?” How can you further accelerate buzz about them? And how can you stimulate talk about a product that is not inherently viral? Drawing from his own experience in high tech as well as from hundreds of interviews, Emanuel will discuss proven techniques for stimulating buzz online and offline.

Emanuel Rosen is the author of the national bestseller “The Anatomy of Buzz” (Doubleday, 2000) and “The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited” (Doubleday, 2009). Prior to writing these books, he was VP Marketing at Niles Software where he was responsible for launching and marketing the company’s flagship product EndNote which was spread to a large extent by word of mouth. It was during this time that he became interested in buzz and especially in how it can be accelerated. He started his career as a copywriter in Israel, and for his work in advertising he won the Bronze Lion from the Cannes International Advertising Festival, as well as several national awards including two gold medals. He holds an MBA from the University of San Francisco and lives in Menlo Park, California.

Kindly sponsored by:

July espresso briefing: Reed Smith bring you up to date with WOM and the law

June 21, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Events, News | 1 Comment
Tags: Ethics, event, online law, reed smith, social media law, wom uk, word of mouth law

Word of mouth and the law can be a confusing and intimidating area. What are brands and agencies really liable for in the social space? How is this changing and what must we prepare for in the future?

Here at WOM UK we know this is an important but confusing area, so we’re delighted to announce that we have secured a free legal and regulatory advisory service for WOM UK members, to be provided by international law firm Reed Smith’s advertising compliance team, ReACTS.

WOM UK members shall be able, from 7th July, to call the ReACTS team for legal and regulatory advice for up to 15 minutes, at no charge. Advice can be provided in relation to all aspects of advertising and marketing law, including intellectual property, defamation, consumer protection, privacy, social media, the advertising codes and contract law.

And we’re kicking off our alliance with an Espresso Briefing on Wednesday 7th July, 8.30-10.30am, on ‘Do you know your flog from your blog?: The benefits and legal risks of Word of Mouth Marketing in Social Media’

Partner Marina Palomba and Associate Christopher Hackford will speak at the beautiful Reed Smith offices in Broadgate Tower on the opportunities for word of mouth marketing in a social media context and the risks associated with such opportunities. The seminar will include analysis of the Consumer Protection Regulations and defamation law, and discussion on moderation, privacy and advertising to children.

With breakfast at 8.30am, the presentation from 9-10 and discussion and networking until 10.30am, the session is FREE but bound to book out fast so register now by emailing [email protected]

See you there!

Reevoo prove that independent consumer reviews drive sales

May 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Posted in Events, Measurement | Leave a Comment
Tags: consumer reviews, reevoo, roi, sales, social media, word of mouth

Yesterday’s WOM UK espresso briefing got to the heart of what every brand and marketer wants to know: can word of mouth really drive cold, hard cash?

According to founder and CEO of independent consumer site Reevoo, Dr Richard Anson, the answer is most definitely yes. With the wealth of data from Reevoo itself and their many partnering brands and retailers (such as Kodak, Sharp, Sony, Dixons, Tesco Direct and many more), Richard was able to demonstrate direct links between reviews and sales, as he explained how Reevoo leveraged trust, transparency and impartiality for business benefit.

Richard also shared the insight that Reevoo users seem theoretically willing to share their email addresses with others wanting to talk to them further – a surprising finding considering the prickly debates around online privacy – and that retailers are actually using the reviews to change their activity – reassuring proof that they’re treating word of mouth as more than a lip-service dialogue.

Check out his deck and let us know your thoughts; the packed audience of WOM UK members was certainly full of questions.  One interesting issue raised was whether one damning review could negate a torrent of positive ones; Richard promised to try and do some clever reverse-engineering of his data to see if he could track a trend. There was also a discussion around how to integrate peer-to-peer reviews offline, with suggested tactics including generating them at point of sale via receipts, and photographing barcodes or products themselves to access user generated metadata.

It was great to see the conversation around word of mouth move from the why (which Richard had amply proved) to the how, and there was a sense that this was the tip of the iceberg in proving WOM ROI.

Want more? Be sure to book now for our next event with Mark Earls, author of HERD, on 10th June.

WOM UK June event: Author of HERD Mark Earls examines how influence really works

May 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Posted in Events | 1 Comment
Tags: herd, influence, mark earls, recommendation, social media, social media event

Our next Thought Leadership session is truly not to be missed. Renowned author and speaker Mark Earls is coming to WOM UK for a presentation and networking evening on Thursday 10th June, 5.30-8.30pm at Porter Novelli, 31 St Petersburgh Place, London, W2 4LA. Attendance is free so email [email protected] now to secure your place early.

In “Push or Pull? Influencer or Influenced? What does social learning tell us about how influence and recommendation really work?”, Mark Earls will ask what if…

What if behaviours, ideas and emotions spread through populations not so much through what folk say or do to each other but by what they take and learn from each other? How would that change the way we think about WoM? Mark Earls explores the science behind social learning – Homo sapiens’ key learning strategy – to nudge us towards a new way of thinking about influence and word of mouth.

Mark Earls is a recovering account planner whose HERD consulting is at the forefront of understanding and applying leading edge behavioural and cognitive science to help marketeers understand and shape human behaviour more effectively. Previously, Mark worked in agencies radical (St Luke’s) and just plain big (Ogilvy Worldwide) but is much better now (thank you). His writing is widely read and debated – he has won prizes from ESOMAR, MRS and two of his articles have been deemed among the top 50 Management Science pieces published anywhere in the world. His latest book (HERD) explores human behaviour through the lens of what science tells us about our fundamentally social nature.

Kindly sponsored by:

May Espresso Briefing: Richard Anson of Reevoo discusses the value of independent consumer reviews

May 17, 2010 at 11:28 am | Posted in Events | Leave a Comment
Tags: consumer reviews, event, reevoo, social media, word of mouth

Our next Espresso Briefing session is on Thursday 27th May from 8.30-10.30am, at Golin Harris, Fox Court, 14 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8WS. That’s only a couple of weeks away, and it’s booking up fast, so if you haven’t registered yet, email [email protected] asap – and don’t forget, it’s free to everyone.

Why should you come along? Well, Dr Richard Anson, Founder and CEO of Reevoo, the website that collates independent, impartial reviews on a range of products, will be speaking on a topic that’s relevant to every brand and marketer today: “The Value of Independent Consumer Reviews to Brands”.

Using case studies, Richard will cover:

  • Why brands are choosing to use independent consumer reviews
  • The costs, benefits, and perceived risks related to consumer reviews
  • How independent consumer reviews form the cornerstone of a social media strategy
  • Using reviews in a multi-channel world
  • What the future holds

Richard is passionate about the power of real-world reviews. Prior to founding Reevoo, he was a senior strategy consultant at KPMG covering the technology space, was previously interim Head of Group Planning at Orange, covering 22 countries, and was on the small deals team managing investments of up to £5 million at 3i. He has a PhD and MBA from the Cranfield School of Management.

Breakfast will be laid on with networking from 8.30-9, presentation from 9-10 and discussion from 10-10.30am. As always with WOM UK events, come prepared to contribute your own questions and views!

Thanks to Golin Harris and The Royal Mail for sponsoring this event.

“Word of mouth agencies and clients need to start talking money”

April 30, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Events, Measurement, Research | 1 Comment
Tags: social media, word of mouth, Measurement, roi, WOM, barak libai, CRM, social networks

This week, Professor Barak Libai gave WOM UK members a glimpse into the future of WOM measurement and ROI as he presented his latest research and thinking on the value of consumer conversation.

We were delighted that Professor Libai, Marketing Professor at Recanati Graduate School of Business, Tel Aviv University, and award-winning researcher on the economics of WOM, narrowly escaped ashgate to present to the brands, agencies, fellow academics and students who piled into Grey’s London offices.

He began with establishing the importance of CRM in the past 20 years, and the need to start seeing the value of WOM in CRM terms, focusing on both customer lifetime value (CLV) and social value, and the lifetime and social values of people’s wider networks.

While Professor Libai admitted that there are still big holes in our knowledge of exactly how value creation is achieved through WOM – “we don’t necessarily know how, but we know that before and after, something happened that led to sales” – he also emphasised that the volume of data we now have access to is enormous, and is leading to a revolution in quantifying individual and social contributions.

His own work in simulating social networks to investigate how and why brands WOM spreads, using models from biology and anthropology, prompted questions from a crowd eager to know how accurate these trials could be, and how soon we might see more scientific approaches to measurement.

Professor Libai’s own international perspective also led to a discussion about rates of uptake in different countries, and the session ended with a quick delve into the tricky area of measuring offline WOM before everyone got stuck into the free wine and some relaxed networking.

With Dr Robert East in the audience bringing his perspective to bear on the research, and a real variety of attendees, this was the sort of event we love – challenging, thoughtful and with a real community feel. Big thanks to sponsors Royal Mail and Grey.

Next up, on the 27th May, Richard Anson, Founder and CEO of Reevoo, talks about the value for brands of independent review sites online – make sure you pre-register now.

WOM UK April Thought Leadership event: Professor Barak Libai on ‘Assessing the value of customers’ word of mouth’

April 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Posted in Events, Measurement, Research, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment
Tags: social media, Measurement, roi, WOM, Research, barak libai, event

Book now for the first of our great free spring events on Tuesday 27th April, which brings renowned WOM researcher and speaker Professor Barak Libai all the way from Tel Aviv to London to give his latest insights to WOM UK.

The event is being held at Grey, The Johnson Building, 77 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8JS from 4.30pm, with the presentation at 5-6 and relaxed discussion, drinks and networking extending until 8pm. It’s essential to pre-register with Julian to reserve your place (WOM UK members get priority).

Assessing the ROI that results from customers’ word of mouth is a key challenge many marketers face today, especially given the plethora of word of mouth programs and social media investments by firms. However, most measures used are simplistic and do not necessarily capture the complex way in which social interactions turn into monetary gains. In ‘Assessing the value of customers’ word of mouth’, Prof. Libai will present the basic approaches to value customers’ word of mouth, highlight some major limitations, and discuss new approaches for understanding the “social value” of customers.

Professor Barak Libai , currently on the marketing faculty of  the Recanati Graduate School of Business, Tel Aviv University, was also Visiting Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management from 2006-2008, and has a Ph.D. in Marketing from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Prof. Libai’s research deals with the economic value of customers’ word of mouth, and relevant questions he examines include how different is customer  lifetime value when word of mouth is taken into account; what is the ROI of word of mouth programs; and how advertising effectiveness measurement should take social effects into account.  His research on the economic consequences of customers’ word of mouth has won prizes from The Marketing Science Institute, The American Marketing Association, the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Service Research, and ESOMAR.

This is bound to be a lively evening of thought leadership and networking, and we look forward to seeing you over a few beers. Big nod to Grey and Royal Mail for generously sponsoring the event.

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