I was asked the other day by a friend what did I think was the sign of good PR and I replied that truly great PR would be PR that you weren’t aware was PR. And in this answer lies the root of the problem of what is wrong with word-of-mouth marketing.
Some of the biggest word-of-mouth marketing campaigns on Facebook such as the HSBC student overdraft backtrack and the campaign to get Cadburys to reissue the Wispa chocolate bar were both orchestrated by marketers (the NUS and Publicis on behalf of Cadburys). I know that this was the case and so does the general public. It is easy to assume that people are stupid because they like Hello magazine, but they know when they are being sold to or played.
Real-world world-of-mouth marketing is almost anti-marketing. Why the picture of Tiger Balm? I have never seen a Tiger Balm advert, yet it has been recommended to me dozens of times by friends and colleagues to help with colds, helping you staying awake when your driving or muscle aches. The same is true for New Balance trainers which doesn’t have a marketing budget and third-party endorsements like Nike or adidas/Reebok yet still manages to attract the cool kids and avoid employing sweatshop manufacturing.
I wanted to finish this post with a quote from Jonney Shih, CEO of Taiwan-based technology company ASUSTeK in a recent interview with Digitimes – Currently, we don’t think working on sales and marketing is a good idea. We believe that if ASUSTeK can do the best job it can, then there is no concern that the market will have a bad impression of the brand. Think of it this way, most people only know of the highest mountain, Everest, not many remember the second highest.
You may have not heard of the ASUS eeePC (made by ASUSTeK), but it is one of the fastest-selling laptops this Christmas on Amazon, putting it in the gadget hotness zone with the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, the Nokia n810, the Apple MacBook and the Apple MacBook Pro. Nuff said.