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The Experiential Channel, Advocacy, and Word of Mouth: Opportunities and implications for brand owners Steve Smith PhD June 2011

Key findings and implications from research 1. Word of mouth is the most critical channel to drive consideration, trial and purchase. 2. Controlled brand access to Conversation CatalystsTM* is the key to unlocking word of mouth 3. Conversation CatalystsTM should therefore play a critical role in the delivery of all campaigns 4. Experiential is the most effective, efficient and controllable medium for engaging and activating Conversation CatalystsTM, and is vital for igniting communities 5. Online communication of content needs to be balanced by the offline creation of engagement, advocacy and word of mouth, which experiential provides 6. Experiential needs to form part of integrated communications’ planning as an above the line channel *Conversation CatalystsTM are people who give advice across five or more product categories and have twice the number of brand conversations that adults do on average. They therefore form one of the most important audiences for brand owners) 2

The research research had had aa three three part part approach approach to to maximise maximise insight insight and and implications implications The

SMG’s spaceID spaceID and and SMG’s Talk Track Track research research Talk applications, and and applications, Touchpoints. Touchpoints.

Desk research research Desk

Quantitative and and Quantitative qualitative research research qualitative of V-Festival, V-Festival, 2010 2010 of ticket holders holders ticket

spaceID measures people’s values and attitudes against their media and brand behaviour TalkTrack investigates online discussions around brands and other subjects.

We interviewed 500 ticket holders and a control sample of 500 people prior and post V-Festival. The control group did not attend the festival


Brand owners owners must must take take advantage advantage of of and and drive drive face face to to face face Brand conversations, whilst whilst also also recognising recognising the the importance importance of of online online conversations, Usefulness of... for making brand decisions* ***

Brand Conversations by media**

Likelihood to purchase – 91% following word of mouth recommendation***

* Touchpoints ** TalkTrack *** Harvard


Experiential is is aa pillar pillar to to ATL ATL to to deliver deliver on on advocacy advocacy and and uplift uplift in in ATL ATL Experiential measurements measurements

Other ATL channels reinforce and amplify equity and re-ignite conversations in communities Create foundation of conversations with whole communities through Conversation Catalysts

Deliver on brand truths, to reinforce and create Brand equity

Target experiential at Conversation CatalystsTM , because of their influence * Union Promotions

Deliver up to 70% uplift on ATL measurements*

Drive community community conversations conversations through through three three experiential experiential techniques techniques Drive Offer Proof of Brand Claims Build: •Sensory and emotional attachment •Long lasting equity •Affinity •Truth in advocates •Conversations •Advocacy •Consideration •Purchase behaviour

Sampling Sampling (10% cover,* cover,* (10% 2.5 xx WoM)** WoM)** 2.5

Does the product deliver?

Content (including (including Content ‘social objects’) ‘social objects’) created for: for: created • ATL and PR •ATL and PR Word of of mouth mouth ••Word • Improve natural natural •Improve search search

Showcasing Showcasing (<=3% cover,* cover,* (<=3% 2.5-15x WoM)** WoM)** 2.5-15x

Immersive Immersive (<=1% cover,* cover,* (<=1% 15x WoM) WoM)**** 15x

Establish brand narrative

Establish experience of brand * **

Proven over time to deliver desired impacts (SMG, Harvard) 6 Jack Morton

Experiential should should be be used used with with other other channels channels in in order order to to ignite ignite and and Experiential drive content, content, and and to to facilitate facilitate recruitment recruitment drive


Co nte nt

Ign ite

Re cru

ite I gn



n nte Co

Digital Channels

it cru Re




Traditional Media

Experiential Amplification: Amplification: Two Two functions functions of of experiential experiential Experiential (1) Social content content created created solely solely Social for media media channel channel for amplification amplification

Brand owners depend only upon content and the brand, for impact

(2) Brand truth truth embedded embedded WoM WoM Brand directly driven driven by by directly TM Conversation Catalysts CatalystsTM at Conversation at experiential activity activity experiential

Passion Passion

Content Content

Status and passion of Catalyst + quality of content + network facilitate and reinforce impact of WoM

Engagement, Engagement, equity equity and and word word of of mouth mouth

Different techniques techniques mean mean different different weighting weighting of of measurements measurements Different

Balance of measurements will differ according to activity: •Sales •Affinity •Equity •Advocacy •Loyalty

Immersive Immersive experiences experiences

Showcasing Showcasing

Sampling Sampling

Low cost cost per per contact, contact, Low higher cover cover higher

High cost cost per per contact, contact, High lower cover cover lower


TM Targeting focuses on Conversation Conversation Catalysts CatalystsTM because of of their their influence influence Who to focuses target on Targeting because

Conversation Catalystsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;TM multiple communities increase likelihood of multiple conversations

Number of Facebook Friends: V-Festival Ticket Holders vs Control

Family University

Social networking activities: V Festival Ticket Holders vs Control


People come to me for advice before buying things

Source: TalkTrack


TM Conversation Catalysts CatalystsTM are up up to to three three times times as as likely likely to to give give advice advice on on Conversation are product categories categories product

Proportions of Conversation CatalystsTM who give advice on product categories Index against UK adult population

Source: Touchpoints


TM Conversation Catalysts CatalystsTM over index index in in most most locations. locations. They They over over index index Conversation over most significantly significantly in in niche niche locations. locations. most

Index against UK adult population High cover; more potential wastage. Requires careful targeting

Less cover; more affinity

Conversation CatalystsTM over index most significantly at music festivals. We therefore used the V-Festival as a case study Source: Touchpoints 12

TM Use spaceID spaceID to to reach reach and and engage engage Conversation Conversation and and Category Category Catalysts CatalystsTM Use



Contact the author to find out more about how spaceID can help your marcomms

Auto Sport Technologist Segment



Attentions should be given to where Conversation CatalystsTM over-score (in red)

Culture Segment

Mainstream Segment

TM Conversation Catalysts CatalystsTM tend to to be be more more brand brand friendly, friendly, and and convert convert Conversation tend faster faster

At the V-Festival we found: Statement responses about brands: V Festival ticket holders vs control

Those who answered â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;yesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; N=500


TM the event event is is designed designed and and targeted targeted well, well, Conversation Conversation Catalysts CatalystsTM are IfIf the are more likely likely to to talk talk about about the the brand brand to to others others more

Statements about brands with event at V-Festival (V Festival Ticket Holders) Engage and create brand equity through the event to maximise advocacy

Figures are the percentages of people surveyed post event, who gave the statements a score of between 8 and 10. 10=maximum score; 1=minimum score.

Brands will will be be well well received received ifif they they provide provide aa positive positive experience, experience, Brands especially among among Conversation Conversation Catalysts Catalysts especially In principle, how positively or negatively do you feel towards

This is the case even for brands to of which ticket holders gave low fit to the V-Festival the following examples brand communications? How positively or negatively do you feel towards the following examples of brand communications?

Low fit. But activity well received

Low fit. But activity well received

Those who answered positive or very positive n=500


Employ TV TV and and other other media media to to multiply multiply impacts impacts of of experiential experiential Employ

TV viewing: How Conversation CatalystsTM index against the general adult population

More attentive and more goal oriented

Source: Touchpoints 17

Research summary 1. Conversation CatalystsTM are critical for the effective delivery of all campaigns, and need to be specifically targeted 2. Experiential is the most effective and controllable medium for engaging and activating Conversation CatalystsTM and their word of mouth, in order to drive brand engagement 3. This research shows that opportunities around experiential will be maximised when targeted at Conversation CatalystsTM in order to reinforce and build brand equity and thereby drive word of mouthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. This is very different to the current norm around experiential. 4. Experiential needs to form part of integrated communications planning, as an above the line channel in order to: Achieve this targeting Design and time the appropriate connection of experiential Enable cross channel amplification 18

Key recommendation 1. Apply media rigour to invest existing experiential budget in a more focused, targeted and accountable way 2. The effect of experiential justifies transfer of spend from other budgets to experiential to engage Conversation CatalystsTM. Experiential should represent at least 4% of ATL budget on average. For example: â&#x20AC;˘ This could represent a reduction of TVRs from 400 to 350, reducing cover from 80% to 78% and frequency from 5 to 4.5. â&#x20AC;˘ This substitution would deliver otherwise expensive Conversation CatalystsTM, thereby replacing the lost cover, and deliver increased frequency through WoM.


Thank you Contact: Steve Smith PhD Head of Thought Leadership Starcom MediaVest Group, London


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