At Territory Influence, we believe that the power of recommendation does not have limitations and is necessary for brands to stand out. What can be a better touchpoint for conveying messages than trusted peers and experience-based content? To be not only heard, but listened, remembered and preferred? In its 2020 study “Power of Connection“, Kantar confirms that assumption and positions “recommendation” in the second place out of 18 touchpoints around the world. TV is n°1 in terms of brand equity, but conversations with friends & family are definitely elected for brand impact with 150 of quality index. Especially because of their powerful influence throughout the decision-making process: from product consideration to online or offline purchase.
So, how to trigger recommendations for your brand?
First, you need to identify and understand the organic drivers. Why are your consumers talking about your products or services? In Contagious, Jonah Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. He gathers six basic principles that drive all sorts of things to become contagious.
- Social currency: “I talk to make myself look good, rather than bad”
- Triggers: “I talk about things that are on the top of my head”
- Ease for emotion: “The more I care about something, the more I share it”
- Public: “When I see other people doing something, I am more likely to imitate it”
- Practical value: “I share information to help others, to make them better off”
- Stories: “I share things that are often wrapped up in stories or narratives”
When the best performing trigger(s) are identified, you can proceed with activation. Here are some tips.
#1: Social Currency
The concept is to value your consumers and to turn them into brand ambassadors. This starts by passing on your brand expertise, sharing exclusive information and creating a close relationship with them through a direct and personalized dialogue. It is also important to listen to their feedback and take into account their suggestions. After they have recommended your product, keep feeding the social currency with e.g. thanking them personally, reposting their content on social media, asking for testimonials on your website… Make them shine!
Work your brand top of mind by activating regularly the levers that matter for your consumers. Triggers can be digital but also physical with e.g. a personalized object that can be easily integrated into a daily life. For instance, a recipe book for a food brand or a night mask for a brand of dietary supplements to help you fall asleep.
#3: Ease For Emotion
Match your consumer interests, communicate clearly your brand values and involve them into your company purpose. This driver can be associated to the last “stories”. It is usually easier to drive emotions by telling a story, not only about the brand but also its territory or CSR engagement for e.g. sustainable development. Building an online community is also a smart way to bound consumers to a brand and develop the “care” effect.
Amplify your visibility and use social icons to encourage your target group to imitate your product consumption. On social media, you can boost your brand and influencer content. In 2020, Lavazza increased by almost 2Mio its online impressions for one single campaign through sponsored user-generated content on Instagram. Try it!
#5: Practical Value
Make it easy for your consumers to understand the benefits and spread your information with e.g. a video or product tutorial. Help them to identify your target group among their friends & family to facilitate the “natural selection” during the transmission process. Do not forget to include a concrete offer like a product sample or discount, and to create the urgency (e.g. coupon validity) to maximize the recommendation impact.
This last driver is particularly strategic for categories that need to focus their communication on their product benefits and not features – because e.g. they are very basic or not enough attractive. Here, you need to define a creative idea and leverage your brand territory like food recipes for ALBAL. This can be quite playful with social challenges or creative workshops – you need to inspire your consumers and avoid any direct product placement.
Are you interested in identifying and activating the best performing drivers of your category? Contact our experts. They will offer you a tailored strategy to increase your brand favorability through recommendations.