I recently had a delivery that had been left on my door step and was getting rained on. As such I did the modern thing and took to Twitter to complain and I lost 45 minutes of my life to the beautiful catalogue of Hermes delivery stories from other disgruntled users of its service:
This shows a few but it really is endless (search Hermes delivery).
As I say I am ordinarily no keyboard warrior but surely it is fine to criticize Hermes like this because as the saying goes ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’!
OR IS THERE!??…
Yes there is, and the strongest publicity often comes in the form of Word of Mouth (WoM) or user generated content. Here we enter the fascinating arena of Word of Mouth Marketing (WoMM) which is one of the most credible forms of advertising.
A few stats to showcase this point [Impact]:
With game-changing numbers like those, it’s important not to neglect the importance of reviews, ratings, and recommendations when it comes to planning your organisation’s marketing strategy.
So where could this potentially leave Hermes? Well they are ASOS and Amazons’ chosen delivery service so they are getting a lot of business from these giant companies, probably because their offering undercuts competitor delivery costs. Though with so many disgruntled Hermes customers begging to Amazon and ASOS to ‘please stop using Hermes’ there may be a tipping point when one of these companies listens. Hermes should be worried about public perception because public perception has power.
So how does WoMM and user generated content fit into the wider marketing landscape as a whole? Well simply the positive content that comes from users mouths and keyboards is the foundation of a successful company, the top of the funnel of perception. It is the platform to which paid advertising can be a success. Also we are simple beings and much more likely to notice paid advertisements from a brand of which we have been told about by our peers.
Circumstantially speaking, I recently learnt of a fashion brand for the first time; Balenciaga. My friend told me of their new stylistic direction under their new creative director. The following day I noticed a print advertisement for a pair of Balenciaga trainers . Firstly, and very Baader-Meinhof of me I do not think I would have noticed the advert or remembered it if I had not been made aware of the brand by a trusted friend the day before, but because she told the tale with positivity, I immediately had a positive opinion of the brand.
Fundamentally, brands can spend as much as they have on paid advertisement but a lot of this will be wasted if they do not have a product or service that people are happy with and in particular are talking about and spreading.
A well placed advertisement may only send a consumer to a research phase where they need that user generated content to finally purchase, and in turn a well placed ad may seal the deal on the user journey to conversion if they already have a positive opinion of the brand.
For fun, please check out how one Vice journalist managed to take a completely fictional restaurant to TripAdvisor’s number one spot in London using fake ratings and false user generated reviews.
Tipping Point: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2000/apr/22/extract