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: 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…

Reevoo prove that independent consumer reviews drive sales

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

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.

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: social media, word of mouth, event, reevoo, consumer reviews

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: barak libai, CRM, Measurement, roi, social media, social networks, WOM, word of mouth

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.

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.

WOM UK events: Barak Libai, Mark Earls, Rory Sutherland and more…

April 6, 2010 at 11:37 am | Posted in Events | Leave a Comment
Tags: wom uk, word of mouth, Events, rory sutherland, mark earls, paul marsden, barak libai, david brennan, richard anson

We hope you all had a great Easter and are planning on keeping your WOM education and networking up this spring by coming along to some of the fantastic events we have lined up.

Helmed by the world’s best consumer psychologists, academics, authors and practitioners on WOM, both morning and evening sessions are FREE to all:

  • 5-8pm 27th April: Prof Barak Libai, from the Marketing Faculty of Tel Aviv University, shows how to assess the value of customers’ word of mouth
  • 27th May: Richard Anson, Founder and CEO of Reevoo, talks about the value for brands of independent review sites online
  • 10th June: Mark Earls, author of Herd, talks about how to change mass behaviour by harnessing our true nature
  • 24th June: David Brennan, Research and Strategy Director of Thinkbox, discusses how TV can be integrated with WOM
  • 2nd September: Dr Paul Marsden, of Viralculture, discusses the latest WOM consumer psychology
  • 16th September: Dr Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, explains how to build in talkability to NPD

Put these events in your diary now, email [email protected] to register (first come first served), and keep an eye on here for more details as they emerge.

We’re thrilled to have secured such an eminent and eclectic lineup and look forward to seeing you there – and if you enjoy the events, please think about becoming a WOM UK member – the only way we can continue to provide the best, free, social-spirited WOM programme in the UK.

Your chance to host a WOMMA webinar

March 31, 2010 at 10:44 am | Posted in News | Leave a Comment
Tags: social media, webinar, womma, word of mouth

WOM UK members are being offered a fantastic opportunity to host an international webinar to members and friends of WOMMA, our US counterpart.

WOMMA’s webinars are renowned for being practical and to the point, helping brands and marketers to understand the issues and challenges around WOM and social media from some of the world’s top practitioners. Recent speakers include Steve Rappaport, ARF Knowledge Solutions Director on ‘A Crash Course in Listening’ and Waggener Edstrom’s Editor in Chief, David Patto, on ‘The News Engine That Powers Your Social Media.’

WOMMA are looking for more international perspectives, so if you think you have something to contribute to the cross-Atlantic WOM community, email Julian with your details and an overview of what you’d like to cover. Paid up WOM UK members only please.

Like Minds: Let a thousand flowers bloom

March 29, 2010 at 10:42 am | Posted in Case studies, Events | 5 Comments
Tags: social media, word of mouth, drew ellis, scott gould, like minds, reach, spread

Clay Shirky’s famous description of how to survive in social media was aptly used by Scott Gould last Thursday as he explained Why Spreadability Beats Reach at the latest espresso briefing for WOM UK.

In a relaxed, interactive session over coffee and pastries, Scott shared exactly how he and fellow Like Minds founder Drew Ellis managed to create an enormously successful event – and a burgeoning network of top social practitioners – from scratch, in six months. Here he is, captured by one of our attendees, Lucy from Contagious:

By adopting an approach of strong leadership (including vision, passion and meaning) teamed with a purposeful abdication of control over how and where the Like Minds brand, content and conversations spread, Scott demonstrated the power of an approach based on guidance rather than governance, and personal relationship rather than public relations.

Scott used the case study of X-Factor versus Rage Against the Machine to demonstrate that reach doesn’t necessarily achieve the best results. He also emphasised the importance of working in teams rather than factories, showing that being adaptive, flexible and personal brings results as well as good will. Check out his deck below.

Any brand or marketer would love to achieve what Like Minds has in the past half year, so insights were relevant and inspiring. WOM UK is delighted to be part of the LM movement and the fact that we were thrown out of our venue for talking so long after the presentation is a pretty good indication of the quality conversation stimulated by the morning’s ideas.

The widespread agreement that diversity and eclecticism is the lifeblood of social media sent the gathered crowd out into the day with a renewed commitment to making more flowers bloom.

Many thanks to Porter Novelli for hosting.

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