Pop quiz: If Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was paid $20-plus million for 2018’s “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” and his presence in that movie helped it gross more than $950.8 million worldwide at the box office, what is the likelihood your customers will trust him if he recommends your products or services?
That’s right. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.
Despite the fact that the biggest and most well-known brands continuously hire the latest and greatest celebrities to hawk their products and services, it turns out this approach may not be all that effective. That’s because consumers trust a very specific group of people, and celebrities are not one of them.
In fact, of those polled for the latest Chatter Matters report, 25 percent said they trust no celebrity or famous person to make recommendations.
The only celebrity cited that actually receives any significant trust from those polled is Oprah Winfrey. Yeah, you know, one of the few people in the world everyone instantly recognizes by just their first name alone, and the woman who literally made a career out of “Oprah’s Favorite Things,” which consists of her putting her name as a personal seal of approval on products and services she loves. Yeah, that Oprah.
Even still, a mere four percent of respondents placed Oprah on their trusted celebrity list. An even greater shock: other celebrities who made the list are nowhere near Oprah-status. Sandra Bullock, who I can only assume was on everyone’s mind because “Oceans 8” was released this year, received a whopping one percent of the votes. Wal-Mart, which isn’t even a real person, received one-point-one percent of the votes.
Fun fact: Jesus Christ was noted three separate times by respondents, but we’re pretty sure he’s not available for paid influencer opportunities at the moment.
So, if we don’t trust Snoop Dogg to sell us on Hot Pockets, Sex Pistols’ Johnny Rotten to advocate for British butter, or Samuel L. Jackson’s endorsement of Capital One’s credit cards, who do we trust?
Americans Value Word of Mouth Recommendations from Friends and Family
Pop quiz number two: If we don’t trust celebrities, who do we trust?
Answer: Whose got two thumbs and tons of cachet when it comes to making recommendations on products and services? You do, at least when it comes to your family and friends. And super extra bonus points to you if that word of mouth recommendation is made offline, too.
Turns out that brands really don’t need to break the bank on high-power celebrities or “professional” social media influencers to get people talking about their brand. They need real, everyday people, like you and me.
But before you grab your family and friends and ask them to start posting and talking on your or another brand’s behalf, consider that age and word of mouth recommendation targeting really makes a huge difference when it comes to those who receive those messages:
- Americans up to age 40: This group tends to trust people their parents’ age and older.
- Americans ages 40-60: This group tends to trust people their own age.
- Americans ages 60+: This group tends to trust the opinions of people who are the age of their children.
Unfortunately, and like most things in life, word of mouth recommendations aren’t a “one size fits all” approach, but there is a way to strategically get customers talking about you and for you to their trusted circle, in all the right ways.
How Brands Can Get Customers Talking for Them with Word of Mouth
Word of mouth accounts for as much as 50 percent of all purchases, but you’d be hard pressed to find a brand that has a word of mouth strategy. Thankfully, all brands have to do to turn customers into volunteer marketers via word of mouth recommendations is to find their unique Talk Trigger.
Talk Triggers are differentiated, talkable customer experiences: every brand has one. It’s just a matter of finding what compels customers to talk. DoubleTree by Hilton does it with delicious, warm chocolate chip cookies at check-in. The Cheesecake Factory does it with an impossibly large novel of a menu. Five Guys Burgers does it with an almost-literal mountain of fries. And your brand has one, too. It most likely already exists—you just have to uncover it.
Just recently, Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin walked users through part of their process on how to find compelling Talk Triggers on The Content Experience Show podcast, but they also lay it all out, in full step-by-step glory in their new book, “Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth.” TLDR; when it comes to Talk Triggers, same is lame, and different and memorable are talkable. But there’s also so much more to it than that.
I’m not a celebrity or a paid social media influencer, so you can trust me when I say that Chatter Matters really is filled with amazing and compelling insights, the podcast is a great primer for getting your creative brain going, and Talk Triggers is your best bet for turning your existing customers into volunteer marketers. And if we were in person, I promise you I would 100 percent tell you the exact same thing.
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