"Happy customers are the best advertisements." So says Andy Sernovitz, CEO of GasPedal, and it is this principle that defines the explosive success of word of mouth (WOM)--that is, the concept of passing on information verbally, especially via recommendations of a brand, product or service. This form of marketing communications has always existed, but its recent proliferation can be attributed to a handful of factors: the communications landscape has shifted from B2B and B2C to C2C (consumer-to-consumer); intangible values are increasingly important as trust becomes the basis of corporate reputation; and executives must now earn the trust of consumers to lead successful businesses. Statistics back up this phenomenon: According to the GolinHarris 2007 Trusted-Media Index, consumers prefer hands-on, direct experiences with products and services, and WOM directly follows suit. This means one thing for communications professionals: "WOM should be a line item in media and PR planning," says Idil Cakim, Golin Harris' VP of interactive media.
Catching The WOM Bug: Going Viral Via Consumer Evangelism
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