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:

Matt Morrison explains why social media is inherently marketing resistant

October 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Posted in Events | 3 Comments
Tags: influence, porter novelli, social media marketing, word of mouth

There was a sense in the room, at our WOM UK espresso briefing yesterday morning, that Global Head of Digital for Porter Novelli Matt Morrison (aka @mediaczar) was saying what many marketers are secretly realising but few are brave enough to admit: that pushing brand messages in social media doesn’t work.

WOM Espresso 1

After the packed room of agency professionals, brand execs, academics, and interested civilians had had their fill of coffee, croissants and networking, Matt explained the different ways in which PN have attempted to model the influence of individuals in social media in order to push brand messages – and just how inadequate those models have proved to be.

In his presentation (embedded below), Matt looked at the elements that make someone influential in a network – their popularity (otherwise known as reach), their betweenness (how central they are in connecting others), their homophily (how they flock together with likeminded folk) and their susceptibility (how persuadable they are) – and demonstrated how PN created visual maps of influence for key individuals. However, he also discussed how impossible it is in practice to truly track our influences. Most social media campaigns simply result in an unsustained and isolated  ’hiccough’ of activity thanks to the inevitable clash between brand self-interest and the motivations of their customers.

This isn’t to say the conclusions were entirely bleak. Matt agreed that an ethical and authentic word of mouth approach, which puts the messages and needs of the consumer before those of the brand, and relies on listening and co-creation rather than one-way broadcasting, is both effective and inspiring. The problem is instead the reluctance of brands to value this approach, or invest the required budget in a fully sophisticated WOM strategy.

The takeaway message was that education is essential – brands must understand what truly effective and consumer-focused word of mouth means, and costs, if they are to have any meaningful engagement in social media. Until then, many agencies will get away with cheap, pointless viral campaigns that give WOM a bad name. For me, it was an empowering endorsement of WOM UK’s mission to provide education and professional and ethical development.

This is what we love to see in our espresso briefings – provocative issues and challenges aired in a safe space where those interested in WOM can illuminate and debate what’s really happening in the industry. Look out for November’s espresso being hosted by Face, and come along to hear Dr Martin Oetting on November 18th if you want a taste of just how powerful WOM marketing – done the right way – can be.

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