As a follow up to my post back in 2007 and presentation on the 36 Reasons Why We Buzz (inching up to 5,000 views), I have provided an elaboration on the different and sometimes strange reasons (to us anyway) on why customers, fans and influencers and stakeholders buzz stuff about 20 times per day.
The graphic above points to which camp these WOM attributes of your brand characteristics, customer/marketing experience provided and person/influencer interacted with fit. The matrix outlines from most brand/product centric to people-centric (from left to right) and goes from most internally motivated to most incentive-laden (from top to bottom).
Contrary to popular social media opinion, you simply just don't buzz about stuff or brands that are involved in conversations (although increasingly it helps). That denies a whole area of innovation, creativity, operational excellence, product design and brand dvelopment its fair shake. So, we've identified the 11 inescapable things about your brand or product that start the chatter, the 15 things about the experience shared with your customer/influencer that fire up recommendations and the 10 things about who the individual person is that's being influenced that drive passionate referral.
On each one of three camps, people can get jazzed for intrinsic, extrinsic and explicitly-based reasons.
Intrinsic WOM - "I believe, therefore I buzz" - in this form of word of mouth, people act oftentimes without the added effect of incentives or external appreciation - typically driven by a feeling of connection with the brand or group, a shared affiliation with the brand motives or deeply held belief about the favorable characteristics or values of the enterprise, brand, people involved or inititaive and/or an obligation to a cause or moral responsibility
Extrinsic WOM - "I will be recognized, therefore I buzz" - this type of word of mouth is driven by factors outside the person themselves and can include the non-monetary external incentives of: prospect of fame and being noticed, a feeling of exclusivity or being treated specially, an opportunity to display talents or creativity to a wider or well-heeled audience, a satisfaction of ego needs and/or an ability to achieve greater social connections and status
Explicit WOM -"I will get something, therefore I buzz" - this is a transactional relationship where the word of mouth generated is driven by some type of explicit reward received, whether that be hard and fast monetary* or product rewards, eliminating a problem, gaining expert knowedge and insider information or receiving the privledge of an aspirational or VIP experience - the idea of talking about your individual reward can be driven by an opportunity to gift/regift, bragging rights or helpful advice/inside scoops to others who might like to receive the same benefit
If you're curious, we've developed a 60 premium WOM survey at Agent Wildfire to tease out what kind of word of mouth building blocks is likely to drive your particular business. Just remember, frequently a successful word of mouth effort mines at least 5-6 of the above attributes.
* to be clear, Agent Wildfire does not support monetary rewards to drive word of mouth unless in rare siutuation where the request for performance (i.e. mystery shopping or content development) consumes a large amount ot time, effort and resources and substitutes for hiring staff to perform the same role