Word-of-mouth and Influence is everywhere, at your company's watercooler, in your living room, at your local cafe or watering hole or in the stands at your kid's hockey game. It's part of the fabric of our lives. A study from Northeastern University claims that 1 out of 7 conversations of an average person's day has word of mouth imparted about some product, service, retailer or idea.
So no special people have ownership of this communication channel. At least in a free society like Canada, word of mouth is a perfect democracy. That's what makes it so effective and trusted for marketers.
But there are traits of people that are markers for highly effective word of mouthers - traits the people who are more prolific, trusted and respected with word of mouth are identified with. You know them in your own life - the "keep 6 plates in the air" soccer mom, the "leading edge" culture maven, the tremendously talented fix-it-upper neighbor, the go-to restaurant recommender, the seriously connected business colleague...and other archetypes. They may rarely make it into the society pages of your local newspaper but man do they word-of-mouth well.
We've borrowed liberally from "The Anatomy of Buzz" and placed the 7 core traits below as being the strongest "shorthand" signals for word of mouthers.
The seven habits of Highly Successful Word of Mouth Evangelists form a consumer friendly acronym: ACTIVES. If you can confidently say "yes" to at least 5 of them, you're likely a talented word-of-mouth advocate.
Ahead in Adoption - you may not lead the pack but you certainly are in the front part of it, you enjoy novelty and new experiences, you purchase earlier and are motivated by things that solve problems, provide new solutions or perspectives
Connected to a Lot of People - you have a breadth of social connections that are large and across a set of different types of groups, you live to socialize and you enthusiastically join causes and organizations, people enjoy your company
Travel A Lot/Outgoing - you lead an "active" lifestyle - you are frequently "out and about" and have broader experiences than most, you are a frequent travellers, rarely go to the same place twice and focus on exotic and different places as destinations for travel and everyday life
Informationally Curious - you read the side of packages for ingredients and information, you read magazines/newspapers/blogs (you found Buzz Canuck somehow), you can speak about a wide variety of subjects, you're as much a good listener as you are a talker and you like to get objective information from sources like Consumer Reports, Amazon reader reviews and other third party reviews
Vocal - you take an activist stance on issues, you frequently provide recommendations on things you've experienced or know about, you have firm opinions on things although they can be flexible with new information, you are an intelligent and captivating conversationalist
Exposed to a Lot of Interests - you are a Renaissance person - Business networking on Mondays, Rock Climbing on Tuesdays, Book Club on Wednesdays, Speaker Series on Thursdays, Family Dinner on Fridays, Night on the Town Saturdays and Kiteflying in the Park on Sundays - you have a few core interests and a lot of things you'll try at least once
Sway over your Friends - perhaps most importantly, you "stir the drink" within your social networks, you organize group outings, you are more likely to be the centre of the conversation, you overcome sceptics, you convince others to do or buy stuff they wouldn't normally
Sounds like you - if it does, than we'd love you to join our Buzz Canuck Advisors Hub - a one-stop exchange of discovery, experience and opinion from Canada's leading voices.