July 29, 2014

BrandingBlog Radio: Using Rituals to Generate Word of Mouth

In this episode, Craig Arthur and I discuss how businesses can use ritual to make their customers feel like “insiders” which will make them more apt to talk about the business to others. This is a form of kinetic Word of Mouth.

At the beginning of the podcast, we discuss Sarah Ripley’s article “Where DIDN’T you hear about us?” from the Wizard Chronicles.

I love riffing with Craig. This conversation is a great example of why I’m podcasting. I’ve had many dozens of calls like this over the years with Craig. We finally got smart enough to record them. Enjoy.

Ding Dong SEO Gone Bad

DingDong I'm gonna tell the long story. If you want the short story, skip to the last paragraph. Dinner last night was at Elway's, a bajillion-star restaurant inside the equally starred-up Ritz-Carlton in downtown Denver.

After serving us some amazing steaks, the waiter asked if we wanted desserts. We all declined. He then said, "Look, we're kind of famous for our Ding Dongs. I'm gonna bring you one for the table to sample. You shouldn't miss this."

I've talked about Word of Mouth advertising quite a bit and one of the best triggers is unexpected generosity. The Ding Dong rocked. Awesome. It's the reason I'm writing this story. Yes, I'm giving Elway's some WOM love because Max the Waiter gave me a quarter of a Ding Dong. At $9 on the menu, the dessert is likely made up of less than a dollar's worth of butter, flour, sugar, cocoa and yum. So, for the cost of a few pennies, Elway's got a blog post, a Facebook conversation, a tweet…and it's just the day after. Be remarkable. Be generous.

Now, for the SEO lesson.

After I posted this pic on Facebook, my Australian Wizard of Ads Partner, Craig Arthur, asked, "Is that a chocolate spider?" I thought I'd help him out by posting a link to the official Hostess site. Right now (I hope they change this) the Ding Dong page at Hostess has a video of Ashton Kutcher doing a "Ding Dong Doorbell" stunt and absolutely NO a brief description of one of their best-selling snacks of all time. I'm sure that some genius figured out that they weren't ranking as well as the Ding Dong article on Wikipedia and said they should leverage Ashton's use of a similar phrase to garner some SEO traffic. ARGH. If I wanted Ashton Kutcher, I'd type that into Google. The official Hostess page was in second place, but offered little relevancy. A photo of the box, but no real description of the product. I'm not even going to link to their site because I don't want to reward this kind of stupidity. I have no doubt that this blog post will soon be on the first page for a Ding Dong search and at least I offer a story and a rant about a better Ding Dong than Hostess makes. Go do the search. Let me know when they come to their senses. I'll edit in a link for them. ;-)

On Your Market: Open for Business

I've been working on a soft launch for a project that has been in the works for almost 2 years. The idea is to teach business owners some of the very same techniques that we use when helping our clients with their marketing strategy. I got some very talented colleagues to help out and now I'd like to invite you to have a look. We're giving some free samples and we have it priced extremely low because we're just testing things out right now. You're welcome to sign up for the free stuff and jump in with both feet if you like. It's called On Your Market.

Customer Engagement: A Kinetic Word of Mouth Technique

If you can get people involved in an experience with your product during the buying process, you'll go a long ways to cementing good feelings toward you. You'll also give your customer a reason to blab.

Chevrolet is now offering Corvette customers the opportunity to assist in the assembly of the very engine that will be put into their new ZR1 or Z06. The engine will get a custom plaque before it's shipped to final assembly in Bowling Green, KY.

Imagine if you will, how intolerable these Corvette owners will be in their insistence on telling you how they built their own engine. They'll want to show you the pictures. They'll offer to raise the hood to show you the plaque.

QUESTION: How can you offer a similar experience to your own customers? How can you involve them?

The Fabulous Price of Free…Square offers free credit card reader

If Apple had charged $49 (or even $9.95) for iTunes instead of giving it away, would they have been able to achieve their non-violent takeover of the entire music industry? If they gave the software free, but then required you to buy entire albums, would they still have been the disruptive force?

The internet is full of success stories where a key component is provided free to customers and the company makes it's fortune providing the rest of the solution. 

Square is going to grab the credit card world by the ears by following the same strategy. They are making it incredibly easy for anyone to start taking credit card payments at competitive rates WITHOUT having to shell out money for a credit card swiping machine, WITHOUT having to sign a long-term contract, with NO MONTHLY FEES or minimums, and NO SETUP FEE.

ZZ0B2A6BBB Give the customer all the tools required to use your service. Then, give them à la carte choice on how much to buy from you. Throw in a bunch of other cool features, and watch the fun begin.

Square is GIVING YOU a simple little device that plugs into your iPhone or iPad headset jack and you can start swiping credit cards. This is a no-brainer. They are DISRUPTING the model. They are attacking by taking some of the current profit centers out from under the current players. There are companies making a sweet fortune by selling machines, charging monthly fees, setup fees, etc. Take it all away from them and you have just created CHAOS in their world.

What can you do to disrupt the model in your world?