Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Growth Through Word-Of-Mouth

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It is no secret that word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools for brands (assuming people are saying good things!). The most obvious way to get good word-of-mouth is to provide a product or service that is worth talking about. Be remarkable. In Seth Godin’s words, be a “Purple Cow”.

But when put into practice, there are strategies to maximize the power of positive word-of-mouth. I’m not talking about the obvious things like providing easy ways to share, like a ‘share this’ link on an e-commerce site. That is a tactic, not a strategy.

The strategy for word-of-mouth is about who you target. The trick is to target niches that are naturally adjacent to each other. Adjacent niches are ones that:

  1. Desire similar benefits,
  2. Talk to each other regularly
  3. Trust recommendations from each other

Without targeting adjacent niches, your brand will be forced to build its reputation and brand equity from scratch for each new market.

If you are a baker, your first niche could be selling to local restaurants. An adjacent niche would be locally owned supermarkets. Both are looking to provide customers with delicious cakes, and local business owners (that aren’t in direct competition with each other) are likely to talk to each other and trust one another. From there, the next niche could be supermarkets in a neighbouring town. Soon enough, you will build up a reputation and develop the critical mass required to launch your brand on a much bigger scale.

Some brands are already big enough that they don’t need to bother with niche marketing. But for the rest of us, targeting adjacent niches can leverage word-of-mouth and bring much faster growth.

What do you think? Does your brand have any adjacent niches that could leverage word-of-mouth for faster growth?


Written by benwisebranding

June 1, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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