Tweet to Eat With Walkers

UK brand, Walkers Crisps, added a clever twist to their latest sampling campaign by creating the first ever Twitter vending machine. Located at three bus shelters across London, Gary Lineker (the face of the brand for over 20 years) virtually sits in the machines and delivers crisps to the customers who tweet it.

A part of Walkers’ long-running ‘Do us a flavour’ campaign, the vending machines dispensed the top 6 flavours, as voted by the UK general public, on Walkers’ mission to find a brand new flavour to release.

Using social media as the catalyst for a sampling campaign is no new feat, however creating such an interactive experience off the back of an existing consumer-led contest is a really intuitive way to increase brand affinity and further consumer involvement.

No doubt the campaign cost Walkers a lot of $, but there will be significant value in the awareness reached for the 6 finalist flavours, as well as increased hype at the crucial, final stage of the ‘Do us a flavour’ campaign.

As sampling campaigns become more and more common, brands will need to take a leaf out of Walkers’ book to ensure they’re being creative and innovative, as this is what will drive consumers to spread the word and interact with a campaign.



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Bud Light Recognises Change in Traditional Marketing Model

It’s now broadly accepted that the traditional marketing model has changed. Most of us are familiar with the classic awareness > interest > desire > action consumer path from which so many marketing campaigns have been derived.

However, a new marketing age is upon us, making this once-linear journey overtly complex.

Social media & over saturation of advertising in the market has brought us here, and it’s an exciting new time for almost all brands.

And while most of us are able to recognize this new model, it’s quite another thing for marketers & their agencies to actively & drastically change their traditional marketing behaviours (the very behaviours that have driven their success!) to suit this new landscape. But when they do take this step, the level of positive impact often mirror the level of drastic change that’s taken place.

One such brand that has made this commitment to adapt is Bud Light. Bud Light have focused on the impact that building brand advocacy can make on the bottom line. Word of mouth & brand connections are highly important factors in converting sales in this new landscape.

Bud Light launched a campaign celebrating how their fans were always “up for whatever”. They helped to facilitate those types of experiences by taking over the town of Crested Brute (pop. 1,500) & turning it into Whatever, USA.


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Instagram ads, Speed Reading and new Yovo app

Waitrose, Starbucks and Cadbury among first advertisers on Instagram

Instagram has partnered with Omnicom Media Group to roll out the highly anticipated sponsored ad unit in users’ Instagram feeds.  Similar to Facebook ads, Instagram sponsored photos & videos now appear in the main user feed. Users have the chance to hide the ads that they deem inappropriate and provide feedback to block similar ads from showing up in the future.  Starbucks, Waitrose and Cadbury are among the first brands to start using the new ad feature with Ian Cranna, vice-president of marketing and category at Starbucks EMEA saying “We remain committed to being at the forefront of digital innovation, so it’s great to partner with Instagram on this launch, enabling us to reach more of our customers in genuine ways and via such a relevant platform.”

Slow reader? Speed up with new RSVP software

Cellcom have released an exciting new banner that enables people to read faster and quicker using RSVP (Rapid, Serial, Visual, Presentation) technology. Introducing The Speed Reading Banner: designed to increase the number of words people can read from a paltry 180 to a mahusive 400 words per minute! How does it work? Well 80% of reading time is wasted on left to right eye movement so this piece of technology simply shows the user one word at a time.

New Yovo app scrambles screenshots

Launched on Wednesday this week, Yovo is a new alternative to Snapchat that allows users to send photos that are only viewed for a short period of time. The idea is that you remove the danger of sending images that could be preserved on someone else’s phone (and used as blackmail at a later date!) So how is Yovo different to Snapchat? Instead of disabling the images, Yovo utilizes some smart technology that obscures the picture with a virtual fence if someone tries to take a screenshot. The D-fence privacy technology works by placing a fast moving filter that flickers over the picture distorting it from view. Check out the demo video here >>YOVO DEMO.

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2014 Influencer Research Proves Influencers Drive Purchases

In August this year, US Digital Agency, Moxie, released some interesting research to support the value of engaging influencers as a part of a brand’s marketing plan. This is their second report (following on from an initial study in 2013) and it’s interesting to note how things have changed for the ‘influencer’ marketing model.

Influencers drive purchase

Unsurprisingly, the research showed that influencers inspire their fans and followers to purchase products or services. In their study, a massive 81% of fans purchased a product based on an influencer’s recommendation.

Trust is more important than disappointment

It was interesting to note that even though 39% of fans were disappointed by a purchase made based on an influencer’s recommendation, 70% of them earned that trust back. What this demonstrates is the strength of the relationship between an influencer and their fan-base.

Purchases have increased since 2013

If we compare the percentage of purchases based on recommendations from an influencer in 2013 we can see a significant increase from 73% to 81%. This suggests that influencers are becoming more influential than ever before.

Why fans consume influencer content

According to the research, surprisingly, subject matter is not the number one reason why people connect with influencers. Instead they are more concerned with establishing a personal connection with the influencer themself. People want to relate to people who are just like them and it’s this connection that creates a lasting bond. Interestingly, competitions are the lowest reason for connection with only 3% of people consuming influencer content for this reason.

How to incentivise influencers

Money talks

Money is the #1 way influencers would like to be incentivised. They see themselves as providing a valuable service to brands and therefore believe they should be adequately compensated for their time & expertise. Brand need to be aware that the majority of influencers are independent and rely on brand partnerships to help them maintain their online presence. Whereas influencers may have written about brands for free in the past (or for free products), they’re becoming more and more commercially savvy and there’s no such thing as ‘free publicity.’ In-fact our experience at Contagious Agency is that influencers can even feel insulted at requests for ‘free publicity’ from established brands (and the last thing a brand wants is an unhappy influencer!)

Free products are in demand

While money is the preferred incentive for influencers, free products are the most common incentive by brands.

Relevance is key

Although money is the most important incentive, influencers won’t work with any and every brand.  It’s important that there’s a strong relevance between the brand and the influencer. According to the research, the top three factors that influencer’s consider when selecting brands to work with are:

  1. Social responsibility or other beliefs of the brand aligning with your own (up 2% from last year)
  2. Personal affinity for the brand (up 2% from last year)
  3. Past relationship with the brand (up 4% from last year)

Influencer networks

In the research Moxie suggest that the best option to find influencers is via an influencer network.  In-fact their research has shown that influencers have a very favourable attitude towards influencer networks – 70% highly recommend working with a network and 62% highly trust working with a network.

How influencer networks incentivise influencers

Conversely to brands, influencer networks have the incentive structure ‘spot on’ by offering money & free products.

Wrap up:

In summary, the key findings for brands are:

  • Influencers drive purchases among their fans & followers (and more so in 2014 than 2013)
  • The relationship between influencers & their audience is so strong and disappointments can easily be forgiven and trust retained
  • Fans & followers consume content from influencers primarily because of a personal connection (not due to content quality or incentives)
  • Money & free products talk when it comes to incentivizing influencers
  • Brands must be relevant in order for an influencer to get involved
  • Influencer networks are generally supported by influencers and offer credible incentives

Read the full Moxie influencer report here>>.

Research Methodology:

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How to get people talking about your brand

How do we get people talking and make our products and ideas catch on? One way is to mint social currency.

In his book, Contagious, Jonah Berger outlines the value of social currency for creating word of mouth and increasing the buzz amongst peers, which incentivises them to share with others the details of a brand’s product or service.

The feeling of exclusivity, knowing about something before another, and being a part of something selective or restrictive is the key to getting a person to talk. The urge to reveal a secret can be all too appealing.

Brands and businesses should leverage this insight and, when coming up with a marketing strategy, get in to the mind of their consumer. Understanding their consumer, on a social level, will heighten the connection between them and the brand, increasing appeal and inviting organic promotion of their product or service by the consumer.

As Amy Jo Martin said at Inc’s 2014 Growth Conference, “people connect to humans – not logos”. If a brand can humanise then it has the ability to monetise via the form of social communication. If a brand has the ability to monetise via the form of social communication, then a brand has the ability to gain trust amongst its consumers; and if a brand has the ability to gain trust, it has the ability to gain advocates. Finding a brand advocate is the golden ticket.

When a brand has advocates, it has loyal customers, and it is these customers who will spread the word and pass on recommendations about a product or service. As we all know, a recommendation passed between a friend or family member is by far the most effective form of advertisement and instead of focusing solely on traditional forms of advertising, brands should step back and realise the power of word of mouth and the impact that human-to-human exchange can have for the spread of a company’s message.

Social currency in this instance is most valuable because it’s a win-win situation for both brand and consumer. It’s a way for a brand to thank consumers for their support by gifting them the product or service they advocate, in exchange for the consumer posting a social share across social media, spreading the word and creating buzz about the brand.

One brand which has adopted this method of marketing in recent weeks is Ben & Jerry’s in the United States. Their Core Tour 2014 promotion sees the brand dishing out free samples of their new Core flavours, all summer long, all in exchange for a Tweet. Consumers were invited to tweet at the Ben & Jerry’s truck account and to tell them where they want the truck to stop.

Through social currency, Ben & Jerry’s create hype and buzz amongst their fans. By connecting with consumers in real time the brand is seen as human and ‘real’ – the locations visited are those personally requested and this element of exclusivity is the key driver for the campaign. After all, being a part of something selective or restrictive gets people talking…and who doesn’t want a scoop of delicious ice cream on a hot summer’s day!

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ASICS Search for the Ultimate Australian Rugby Union Fan with the Return of Rugby Rewards

ASICS is creating social buzz with the return of its Rugby Rewards, ahead of the Australian Rugby Union’s Castrol EDGE France Tour, which kicks off at the start of June.

ASICS Rugby Rewards is a Facebook app, which tracks the social activity of fans in an attempt to find the ultimate fan, who will win a VIP Qantas Wallabies team experience.

This fan engagement app is a clever marketing tool, creating hype and competition amongst fans prior to the game and increasing support for the Wallabies.

Fans want to feel as close to the game as they possibly can, so ASICS have leveraged this insight and created an opportunity which focuses on connecting the ARU with its valued fan base.


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Birds Eye Connect With Consumers Through Exchange of Social Currency

Birds Eye, the frozen food brand in the United Kingdom, recently launched a pop-up store in London, which allowed customers to pay for their food simply by taking a photo of it.

Birds Eye wanted to build their brand across social media and were able to make a connection with consumers following research, which outlined that 52% of diners “foodstagram”. The brand discovered this insight and leveraged it in their marketing strategy, creating a way to promote the two new items on their menu.

All that the diners at the pop-up restaurant had to do, to pay for their food, was take a photo of their meal on Instagram and tag #BirdsEyeInspirations.

By humanising their brand and focusing on an insight which drove consumers to their pop-up restaurant, Birds Eye were able to monetise through social currency and connect with consumers who they otherwise might not have reached. The brand was able to convert consumers and switch detracting purchasers by targeting them in a way that appealed to their interests.

The campaign, which was part of Birds Eye’s “Food of Life” activation, used social media to capture attention and offer social value to consumers, subsequently creating word of mouth and increasing affinity with a brand that the foodstagrammers might not otherwise have looked at sampling.


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Global Opinion Network Launches

Enjoy sharing your opinion? Love funny promo videos? Here. Watch this.

Touting themselves as a ‘global opinion network’, provides users with a live feed and library of opinions, neatly categorised.

The idea is to provide on-call access to user opinions on topics you specifically ‘tune’ in to (i.e. are interested in) and be able in interact with those opinions, create your own, and follow users with similar interest.  Happily, the entire platform acts as a type of social media monitoring tool that demonstrates trending topics, sentiment of opinions & popularity.

Research shows influence is strongest when recommendations are made by those closest to you OR via complete strangers. have clearly recognised this and catered to the latter.

After having spent a fair amount of time on, I’m left questioning whether such a broad spectrum of topics is necessary. Topical news, politics, culture – yes. But does anyone really care whether the global opinion of ‘Drunk Food’ is “crap”, “needed, “bound to happen”, “oh yeah”, or “hits the spot”? What purpose does this serve, and who wants to know about it?

Only time will tell whether this platform takes off. If it does, the brand and influence capabilities will be endless.



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7 Mobile Stats That Will Make You Rethink Your WOM Marketing Strategy

We all know mobile is the space to watch for 2014, but just what are the stats on this fast paced growth sector? I’ve put together my top 7 statistics for mobile marketing in 2014 and just what this means for your word of mouth marketing strategy.

STAT #1: Consumers spend more than half of their Internet time on mobile devices (The Mobile Media Consumption Report; InMobi, 2014)

mobile usage 2014

WOM INSIGHT: This one speaks for its-self. You gotta go where the people are and guess what? They’re all on mobile. From a WOM perspective, are you ensuring you offer opportunities for people to spread the word via their mobile devices as-well as desktop? In-fact over the last year at Contagious we’ve noticed that approximately 70% of the influencers we work with have migrated over to mobile when recommending brands & products to their friends.

STAT #2: Youtube & Facebook account for nearly a third of all mobile traffic. (Sandvine)

Facebook & Youtube Mobile Traffic 2014

WOM INSIGHT: Consider how you can create shareable content that will be viewed on mobile devices? If people want youtube & facebook content on mobile, then give the people what they want. We often work with our influencers to create Facebook & Youtube-friendly UGC content that they can share out to their tribes from the comfort of their mobile device.

STAT #3: Mobile coupon redemption is on the rise (eMarketer)

Mobile coupon redemption is on the rise

WOM INSIGHT: eMarketer have reported that the number of smartphone coupon users rose by 66% in 2012 and continues to rise each year. Think about it. Offers on-the-go make so much more sense. No need to keep a tangible voucher safe – everything you need is safely secured on your handset. And where you go, your handset goes with you right? Consider how you can offer your most influential advocates mobile coupons to share with their networks to create a groundswell of word of mouth.

STAT #4: Search is the most common starting point for mobile research (Google)

Search is the most common starting point for mobile research

WOM INSIGHT: Have you thought about which channels are the most effective when it comes to creating a mass of recommendations online? According to Google’s path to purchase research, consumers now heavily rely on mobile when purchasing products, therefore it’s important to incorporate mobile recommendations into your WOM strategy.

STAT #5: 89% of mobile media time is spent on mobile apps (not mobile sites) (Nielson)

89% of mobile media time is spent on mobile apps (not mobile sites)

WOM INSIGHT: It’s important to consider the popularity of mobile apps rather than focusing solely on your mobile site. How could you develop a branded mobile app that plays a part in your WOM strategy? In what way can you incentivize people for sharing via a mobile app?

STAT #6: Mobile web users are mainly engaged in social activities (social networking, text messaging) while watching TV (The Mobile Media Consumption Report; InMobi, 2014)

Mobile web users are mainly engaged in social activities (social networking, text messaging) while watching TV

WOM INSIGHT: Interestingly, when you dive deeper into the multi-screening trend, mobile usage is led by social activities. This presents a clear opportunity to stimulate word of mouth recommendations via social networks.

STAT #7: Mobile useage has shifted from early adopters to mainstream consumers. (The Mobile Media Consumption Report; InMobi, 2014)

Mobile useage has shifted from early adopters to mainstream consumers

WOM INSIGHT: In their recent research study, Inmobi found a shift from early adopter usage of mobile to mainstream consumer usage. Where mobile was once reserved for influencers only, there now exists an opportunity to engage everyday consumer advocates to spread the word about your brand in the mobile format. The question is, are you making it easy for your advocates to recommend you on mobile?

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Recommendations Have More Impact Than Brand or Price According to New Study

WOM Research 2014

A new study by ShareThis and the Paley Center for Media has shown that when it comes to purchasing products, “a positive recommendation is more important to consumers than price and brand combined”. Take it a step further and this new research has shown that recommendations from one friend to another can even motivate buyers to spend 9.5% more on a product than they would have usually spent.

In a world where consumers trust their online peers more than the big brands, this doesn’t really come as a surprise. The nature of the online world has seen a distinctive shift from the power of ‘push’ marketing to the trustworthiness & credibility of online reviews & recommendations.

The psychology of online recommendations

Look at it through a behavioral psychology lens and it’s all quite straightforward. Online reviews & recommendations simply draw on ‘social intelligence’ – our ability to understand and learn from each other and profit from social situations.

Or put it another way – online recommendations simply help us to make purchase decisions. Why wade through the quagmire of inauthentic brand messages when you can get REAL reviews from people with no ulterior motive?

ShareThis CEO Kurt Abrahamson said: “We found that highly positive online shares can generate an almost 10 percent increase in purchase intent, and negative reviews can also have a correspondingly negative impact, [reducing purchase intent by] 11 percent.”

The truth is: we don’t trust brands. We trust people.

And where are all the people right now?

Online…sharing their opinions….in droves.

Measuring different types of reviews

The ShareThis study surveyed 6,000 people to measure how different types of reviews — recommendations from strangers versus friends, online versus in person, translated into willingness to pay more or less for specific products.

Unsurprisingly recommendations with the closest ties (ie in-person, close family/friends) warranted the highest prices and these guys were happy to pay $31.22 more for an iPad as opposed to people who had merely seen a star ratings review from a stranger (who would only be up for paying $21.77 more).

Interestingly in the electronics sector, reviews by Professionals ranked equal to in-person reviews by friends & family members.

What about negative recommendations?

As expected, bad reviews saw decreases in pricing – seeing a stranger complain online about the iPad made people want to pay $32.30 less for it.

One of the most surprising findings was that negative reviews by friends & family members had little impact on people’s iPad price points. While we trust those close to us when it comes to good taste, perhaps we are less likely to listen when they are ‘ranting’ or ‘overly critical’ based on a one off experience.

Positive in person & negative online

So in a nutshell positive reviews are more positive in person and negative reviews are more negative online. So the opportunity lies in encouraging large groups of advocates or influencers to review your brand or product – ideally in-person as-well as online. And there’s nothing to fear with in-person negative reviews because these are less trusted. Win: Win right?

What does this mean for brands?

So if you work for or represent a brand here’s my advice:

1. Change the way you view the online purchase funnel – people now buy products based on different factors (reviews being one of those factors)
2. Remember that recommendations can have more of an impact than brand or price: ensure online customer reviews are a large part of your marketing strategy
3. Focus on the reviews that will yield you the best results (in-person, family, friends)
4. Create only credible, trustworthy reviews
5. Instead of attempting to reduce the amount of negative reviews you receive, turn your focus to generating a critical mass of positive reviews – this will have a much greater impact on your business

Contagious have helped brands like Nestle, Woolworths & Telstra create thousands of customer reviews & positive word of mouth online. To find out more about how we could help you and your brand, drop us a line.

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