Marketers should tap into non-ad brand conversations

By Wenlei Ma | 23 October 2013

Seventy-eight percent of brand conversations aren't prompted by advertising, but marketers can harness this chatter to create evangelists, argues word-of-mouth expert Geno Church.

Speaking to marketers and adlanders this morning at the Influence Group breakfast, Church recited the statistic. He said: “Advertising prompts only 22% of conversations people have about a brand. That means 78% of conversations about brands aren't related to advertising. That's a giant playground of touchpoints.”

Church, who is the word-of-mouth inspiration officer for Brains on Fire in South Carolina, defines word-of-mouth marketing as any business action that earns a recommendation from a customer. He advocates that brands need to understand why people talk about them instead of blindly, and inauthentically, executing social media strategies just to tick a box.

“If we understand why people talk, we have a greater chance of inspiring them to talk,” said Church. “Brands can bring people together, we can connect customers with other customers who share a passion.”

To that point, Church argued, brands can, and should, harness the 78% of conversations about them that are unprompted by advertising. He said the industry should engage and undertake more research to understand in understanding consumer touchpoints – how people are introduced to the brand, their first interaction, when they adopted the brand and when they evangelised it.

He added: “That's where the opportunity is. As marketers, we should be able to find a way to get into consumers' lives and add value to it. Then they will become a messenger and the message will be what we create, which is beautiful.”

Geno was quick to point out word-of-mouth marketing is not just about social media, it is about private person-to-person conversations.

“Brands must therefore embrace and encourage people talking in their private settings. The power of that conversation is invaluable as consumers want brands to see them as a family member or friend.”

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Have something to say? Send us your comments using the form below or contact the writer at

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus