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.

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: Ethics, law, ReACTS, reed smith, social media, WOM, word of mouth

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…

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!

Social media disclosure: best practice

April 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Posted in Case studies, Ethics | 2 Comments
Tags: social media, word of mouth, womma, Ethics, ftc guidelines, best practice

Ethics are one of the four pillars of WOM UK. Best practice in terms of listening and engagement is a big issue in word of mouth, where legislation is lagging behind activity, and the lines are often blurred between brand and consumer spaces.

We help both practitioners and clients keep on top of the latest ethical standards and case studies via our blog posts and events but members also get access to the WOMMA ethics assessment tool and case study library, as well as the collective knowledge and guidance our own WOM UK Council.

WOMMA’s latest contribution is this deck, essential reading for anyone looking to understand the landscape in the US, which is of huge relevance to our industry here.

Do you think we’ll move towards some FTC-style guidelines? What are the different challenges our side of the pond? Post your thoughts and comments below and do think about joining WOM UK if you’d like much, much more where this came from.

What we can learn from Yelp’s WOM whitewashing debate

March 3, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Ethics | 1 Comment
Tags: Ethics, negative review, social media, the law, ugc, WOM, yelp

Coming hot on the heels of Tempero‘s eGuide UGC and the Law (which WOM UK contributed to and debated at the launch), the news that a veterinary practice in California is suing consumer review site Yelp for allegedly offering to hide a bad post for payment made us prick up our ears.

As reported by The Times, Greg Perrault of the Cats and Dogs Animal Hospital in Long Beach claims that he asked Yelp to take down a negative review posted 18 months before – outside the site’s 12-month relevancy guideline – and was in turn invited to advertise on the boards for $300 a year.

Of course, if this were true, it would represent some seriously unethical, as well as illegal, moderation of consumer conversation for financial gain. However, Yelp’s defence on their official blog is thorough and clear, and all the more believable because it emphasises the importance of trust for the company: people’s belief that the reviews they publish are legitimate and fairly regulated is what keeps businesses and punters invested in the site.

What we find particularly interesting is Dr Perrault’s failure to address the content of the negative post. He did not respond to the facts or fictions of that 18-month old moan, nor did he say that he was looking at how to improve the surgery’s service to prevent similar comments, or reach out to other customers in a more positive way.

Whatever the courts decide, this story reflects the panic that businesses feel when faced with negative conversation, and their inability to know how to handle it, apart from trying to get that often valuable WOM removed from the public domain.

If you want help in understanding how you can engage with disgruntled consumers in a rather more productive way – for them and for you – get in touch and we’ll introduce you to our raft of expert members and educational events touching on just these issues.

In the meantime, check out the eGuide to know where you stand legally in the UK with moderation of UGC.

View this document on Scribd

What are your burning issues in word of mouth marketing?

November 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Posted in News | Leave a Comment
Tags: education, Ethics, Events, roi, WOM, womma, word of mouth marketing

Ethics. Metrics. ROI. Ownership. Internal education.

These are the big five topics we hear raised again and again when it comes to the word of mouth industry in the UK. Brands big and small really are accepting the value and power of WOM as part of their future survival, but they’re still struggling to a) do it authentically and ethically, rather than as a short-term reactive activity, and b) get buy-in, integration and ownership throughout the company.

question via dullhunk @ Flickr

When many social media conferences and meet-ups are little more than glorified geek-outs about cool tools and insider networks, we’re committed to creating safe spaces where people can share their real challenges, fears, hopes and ideas about effective word of mouth – from questioning the Guardian’s latest influencer research to examining when WOM doesn’t work.

We’re looking forward to finding out what the hot WOM potatoes are in the US at WOMMA’s Summit in Vegas a couple of weeks, but it will be interesting to see if they differ from our key concerns here. So let us know: what are your big issues around the industry? What questions would you like to see broached at debates and events? What topics can’t you find sufficient education, research or case studies on? What are you afraid of? Which great people and projects deserve more airspace?

Drop us a comment below or, if it feels a little exposed, get in touch privately, and let’s start directing the WOM agenda in a truly collaborative way.

Make your affiliations clear with CMP.ly

October 20, 2009 at 12:18 pm | Posted in Ethics | Leave a Comment
Tags: advertising, cmp.ly, disclosure, Ethics, social media, word of mouth

Interesting post over at Mashable about new service CMP.ly, which allows social media users to broadcast any affiliations they have with advertisers and brands. Coming on the heels of the new FTC Guidelines in the US (whereby lack of transparency can be punished with a hefty fine), the site will prove useful to online opinion-formers from any country who want to protect themselves and their readers. CMP.ly provides six simple bits of code to grab and display at the bottom of a post or tweet to express your degree of independence, such as complete freedom; employee; sample or trial; paid conversation; and a custom badge.

comply

It’s an interesting nod towards just how different social media could look in the future, as self-consciousness around advertising and the power of the consumer voice trickles down to even the most casual users.

OK, so it’s a bit of a WOM UK sales pitch

October 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm | Posted in News | Leave a Comment
Tags: Ethics, membership, professional development, social media marketing, wom uk, word of mouth marketing

We’ve just produced a shiny new one-pager outlining the membership benefits and levels of WOM UK, so it seemed only fair to bring it to your attention. Seriously, if you’re interested in the word of mouth industry and you haven’t yet joined the agencies, brands, data bureaux, research firms, academics, and social media movers and shakers already taking full advantage of our professional and ethical development resources and events (see our list of current members here), you’re missing out on a very vibrant scene. We’ll help you stay at the frontline of the marketing revolution, and this is definitely the time to get involved.

Download our PDF below and email [email protected] to ask any questions, sign up, and make sure you’ll get everything you need out of WOM UK.

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