Megan McQ’s Musings

Digital Word-of-Mouth

Posted on: March 9, 2009

Word-of-mouth (WOM) is the strongest influence on consumer purchasing decisions. Take for example a conversation you had with Uncle Bob last Thanksgiving:

Uncle Bob: You know what really grinds my gears? Nationwide Oil Change, Co.

You: Why, Uncle Bob?

Image of "Uncle Bob"

Image of "Uncle Bob"

Uncle Bob: Well, there was just nothing special about my oil change from last week. I took my car into my local branch for their signature service but they took nearly 6 hours to give me my car back. It was quite a horrible experience.

Now, apart from Uncle Bob’s Minnesota accent, there’s just nothing funny about this story–especially in terms of Nationwide Oil Change Co.’s bottom line.  While you had no personal interaction with Nationwide, you’re less inclined to frequent the store. The next time you need your oil changed, you’re more willing to try out the no-name shop as opposed to the large oil change chains (say that 3x fast).

New media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are creating new ways for customers to disseminate WOM. These tools, then, could have potentially damaging reputational implications for your brand, even if 9/10 customers have amazing experiences with your company.

One customer with a poor experience could tweet about it and could potentially reach hundreds of people. These people could become less likely to invest in your brand because ultimately, they trust their friends’ opinions over paid advertisements.

The point is, new media is changing the way companies interact with their key publics. There has been a paradigm shift from one-way traditional advertising and marketing to a more dynamic and integrated approach. Companies must leverage their online presence to engage with their public and increase brand recognition.

Of course, nothing in life is that simple. Which is why I’m writing this blog. I’d like to help de-mystify the new media space as well as analyze new trends and platforms from a reputation management standpoint.

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1 Response to "Digital Word-of-Mouth"

Intriguing post, looking forward to more posts about new media trends.

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