Does Word of Mouth Travel Faster than a 30 Second Commerical?

Does a 30 second phone call with a friend telling of her purchase of a new car have more of an influence on you than watching a 30 second commercial of a truck riding through rough terrains?

In his article, GE Study Proves Consumers Respond More to Shared Content Than to Paid Placements , Jeff Neff supported the idea that sharing information from one person to another has more of an effect than a paid placement.  He explained the study GE conducted as a campaign which included a video entitled, “The GE Show” and how it was placed both as a paid placement and online sharing.

Many people have wondered what form of advertisements has the best outcome, but no research was ever conducted to support such claims, until now.

In this case study, GE found a surprising increase in positive attitude towards the company when information was shared from another person.  Could this be a result of trusting the person or people the information was passed down from?  If your favorite aunt, who you always looked up to, told you how great a company GE is and the outstanding services it provided, you would most likely believe her and even begin your own research on GE.  The opposite stands true if the same aunt explained a horrible encounter with the company.  Your feelings toward her would then make you support her and believe anything she admitted.

Dealing with the “brand lift,” consumers were asked, “What comes to mind when you think of General Electric (GE)?”  Jeff Neff explained “Consumers exposed via sharing were also 83% more likely to rate GE “creative” than those exposed to the content via paid advertising on Buzzfeed.”  This illustrated how a commercial or an advertisement could have catchy tagline or creative image, but hearing it from fellow consumers has more influence.

Paul Marcum, director of global digital marketing and programming at GE, recognized through the study how shared media was found to be more successful than paid, he also responded with his belief that “it’s still hard to get one without the other.”  We agree with Mr. Marcum that some form of paid media needs to be present in order to begin and continue the sharing of information among consumers.

Even when we’re meeting with a future business partner, boss, or acquaintance, we were taught how the first impression is the most important.  This holds true for the company’s paid advertisements and also customer service representatives.  The experiences of one person disagreeing with an ad campaign or having an unpleasant encounter with customer services can end up with several of his/her family members feeling the same disappointment with the company; without having to watch one television commercial or speak with an employee, simply because they heard it from someone they trusted.  That is why any company, like GE, should remain an honest and trustworthy company to avoid any negatively shared media and guarantee its customers a positive experience during the fist impression and throughout a continued relationship.

Final lesson…there’s nothing like a personal endorsement.


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About promotionalguru

A marketing communications professional helping other marketing professionals, business leaders and marketing students gain a better understanding of trends in advertising and public relations as well as tips for being a successful marketer.

One response to “Does Word of Mouth Travel Faster than a 30 Second Commerical?”

  1. Anton English says :

    interesting read. thank you

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