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 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: barak libai, event, Measurement, Research, roi, social media, WOM

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.

Exclusive download of WOMMA 09 Summit materials

January 14, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Case studies, Events, Measurement, Research | Leave a Comment
Tags: Research, social media case studies, wom uk, womma, word of mouth case studies

Last November’s Summit organised by our US partners WOMMA was one of the most exciting industry idea-sharing and -storming sessions of the year; a collision of brand case studies, new research and trends and academic debates that sparked some deep investigation into where word of mouth marketing currently stands.

WOM UK President Molly attended and posted an overview of what went on, but we’re delighted to announce that all WOM UK members can now download the decks presented by the keynote speakers, along with live videos from the general sessions,  from the WOMMA Member Center here.

All you need is your WOMMA library username and password, provided to every WOM UK member when they join. If you’ve lost track of yours, email Julian and he’ll send it over. And if you don’t have one? Well, joining WOM UK could be just the New Year’s resolution you need…

How HR professionals score as social networkers

December 14, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Posted in Research | Leave a Comment
Tags: hr, Research, social media, word of mouth

We like to share the great research and thinking around word of mouth and social marketing that is constantly being done by our members, so take a look at the whitepaper WOM UK member and social media agency Pass It On Media have created in collaboration with CHA, the workplace communications specialists.

Conversations at your fingertips: How HR professionals score as social networkers looks at “how well HR professionals and consultancies are embracing this new medium, and how their organisations could benefit from a strategic approach to social networking to build closer relationships with clients and customers, employees and suppliers.”

As the graph above suggests, the findings might come as a surprise; the majority of work and career conversations are positive, despite the current difficult environment. The study found that HR professionals’ nervousness about embracing social networking is not vindicated by the online content, and that the field is still wide open for commercial players to get involved in conversations to build their brands, position themselves as thought-leaders and attract staff, clients and interest from influencers through word of mouth.

Look through the full whitepaper below and let us know your thoughts in the comments; if you’d like to discuss further or set up a WOM UK debate or workshop on the subject, drop us a line.

The latest WOM issues and insights from WOMMA Summit 09

November 23, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Posted in Events, Research | 3 Comments
Tags: Measurement, Research, roi, social media, wom uk, womma summit, word of mouth

WOM UK President Molly Flatt hit Vegas last week for the annual conference of our US sister organisation, WOMMA…

Having arrived back in Heathrow at midnight, I’m still dogged by jetlag and trying to assimilate the great eclectic beast that was WOMMA’s 2009 Summit in Vegas, no less. With three days of keynotes, panels and case studies from some of the biggest US brands active in the WOM space such as Ford, HP and Coca-Cola, as well as research from the likes of Forrester Research, Nielsen and The Keller Fay Group, it was a mindblast of the latest theories and commercial applications of WOM.

Measurement was predictably high on the agenda. Clients are crying out for industry-wide standards, but there was an acknowledgment that meaningful metrics will be be different according to client objectives (visibility, sales, loyalty etc) and therefore project-specific education is still essential. Conversation relies on context, while most ad metrics are stand-alone and focused on scale alone. Consequently, the most successful examples of effective measurement involved a brand combining insights and figures from other departments (sales, eyeballs, customer services calls etc) with a broad range of qual and quant WOM data.

Internal ownership was also a massive issue, with some great sessions from IBM & Newell Rubbermaid and Mars on how they’ve integrated WOM listening and advocacy programmes into their existing structures and processes. This was related to an ongoing conversation about how Customer Services links with WOM. A panel including Pete Blackshaw from Nielsen, Frank Eliason from Comcast, Tom Asher from Levi Strauss, Denise Morrissey from Toyota and John Bernier from Best Buy looked at examples such as @TWELPFORCE and @comcastcares which fully integrate Twitter into CS. The main takeaway was: just try, keep communicating, and help employees learn and progress from their mistakes. Take the risk, and as long as your approach has integrity and strategy behind it, the benefits will be enormous.

Another highlight was Steve Knox from P&G’s Tremor using cognitive psychology to explain why customers talk – apparently if you disrupt their schema (the model in their head of how the world works and their assumptions about a brand) it’s WOM gold. And the panel of WOM academics tackling the toughest questions in the industry had some powerful messages, in particular the importance of overlooked visual, aural and offline WOM triggers; the need for research into geographical and cultural differences in behaviour; and the use of future visioning to sell in the value of WOM to brands: if we do or don’t engage this talkative customer, what will the impact be?

Steve Knox from Tremor on cognitive psychology. Spot me earnestly taking notes on my Mac…

On the flipside, some of the examples I saw were still too based around an old-school marketing approach. Isn’t a moderated, branded page or forum in an independent community (such as Tropicana for BlogHer) really just a microsite dressed up in social clothing? From a WOM UK perspective, it was interesting to observe the differences in approach between the US and UK. I’m not sure that some of the more gung-ho, blatantly branded adovacy groups such as the Feld Family Activators at Mom Central would gain much traction in a nation that tends to be highly sceptical of associating itself so strongly with commerce. And some agencies were even stipulating time limits whereby participants were ‘expected’ to talk in return for goods or experiences – where’s the spontaneous, independent and heartfelt advocacy in that?

Overall it was a rich and stimulating event and I’m sure more thoughts and observations will trickle through across the next few weeks. For more, check out my live tweets from the Summit @WOMUK, as well as video highlights here and photos here. And if you want a more detailed lowdown on insights and issues raised, just drop me a line and I’d be happy to take you through it over a coffee… or indeed a Vegas-themed cocktail.

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