Tag Archives: word of mouth

Have T-shirt, will twitter. I Wear Your Shirt is social media marketing at its simplest and most human

Evan White and Jason Sadler of I Wear Your Shirt

Jason Sadler rents out his torso as a billboard.  At his web site I Wear Your Shirt, companies, organizations or just regular folks like you and I can hire him to wear a T-shirt sporting our brand.  Jason wears the shirt for a day in Jacksonville, Florida, where he lives.  He uploads videos to YouTube, posts and chats to his community on Twitter and Facebook, and hosts a daily chat about the shirt and the sponsor at UStream.tv.  His videos are like those long-length knife set commercials you see on late night television, only much more fun and not so blatantly about making the sale. Sometimes his audience can win prizes when they leave their own posts mentioning the brand, helping the name to spread.

His pricing model is as simple as it is serendipitous.  Two dollars for January 1st, $4 dollars for the January 2nd, increasing by two dollar increments every day.  So December 31st comes in at a whopping $730.  Last year it was half the price, but Jason doubled his staffing in 2010 with the addition of Evan White, who parades his T-Shirts around Los Angeles, California.

In 2009 Jason netted a reported $84,000.  “Kleinvieh macht auch Mist,” as they say in my adopted country.  Literally it means “Small livestock also makes manure,” or more politely, “Every little bit helps.”  (I prefer the literal translation.)

Most of Jason Sadler’s customers are indeed “Kleinvieh,” not your big major marketers by any means.  But I think it’s cool how the connectivity of the social web can make a micro-scale business idea like this even possible.  Jason earns some pretty good income, and small businesses, with small budgets, get to trigger some potentially significant word of mouth.

Hmmm.  Maybe I’ll hire Jason to promote this blog.  I’ll have to wait till next year though.  January through August 2010 are already sold out.  And more than 200 bucks would break my budget.

And then there’s the T-Shirt.

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From podcast to publication — the social media success story behind J.C. Hutchins’ The 7th Son

The 7th Son

I just received the first 10 chapters of J.C. Hutchins newly published thriller, The 7th Son: Descent, in a free, down-loadable “special edition” pdf.  It was sent to me courtesy of CC Chapman’s podcast Managing the Gray.  I say newly published, because the novel has been around for awhile.

Hutchins originally released it as a serialized podcast, also for free.  From those humble beginnings the story’s fan base spread through online word-of-mouth until it eventually caught the attention of a “real” publisher, St. Martin’s Press.  It is “now in bookstores everywhere,” as they say.

Hutchins’ web site, J.C. Hutchins Thriller Novelist, is highly interactive, providing links and downloads, updating fans on the novel’s progress —  e.g.  Amazon ratings, recent reviews and the like — and even has a section called “evangelize,” where fans will soon find tools for spreading further world of mouth.

It’s a wonderful case study in how online social connections can build a groundswell of support for an aspiring novelist’s work that eventually leads to publication by a recognized institution of the trade with access to an even wider audience. Interesting that despite everyone talking about the democratization of content and the wisdom of the crowd, the ultimate “legitimization” of a work of fiction, or for that matter non-fiction, still seems to be if it is picked up by an “old media” publisher and gets reviewed by the likes of  The New York Times and Publishers Weekly.  Why is that?  Deep down inside, do we still rely on the official arbiters of literature to tell us if something is good or not?

Despite the fact that Hutchins can now earn money on his work in book form, he continues to offer it for free as a podcast or pdf.  I admire his generosity and idealism, and I hope, for the sake of his bank account, that there will be enough readers who are willing to spend $14,99 to read the novel in what for many is still the most enjoyable format of all, words on a printed page between two covers of a book.

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Nogger Choc revisited — nothing kills a bad product faster than a good online social network

There’s an old, well-known saying in the ad biz that goes something like this, “Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.”  In other words, if good — as in creative, engaging, distinctive — advertising motivates a bunch of people to try your product and that product doesn’t deliver, then the news travels fast.  Because good advertising often gets talked about, and it gets talked about even more if the product it promotes sucks.

This maxim was coined back in the days before the internet.  So when you think about how much faster and more easily people can spread word of mouth today online, replace the words “good advertising” with “good social network” and the words are even more apt. Here I don’t mean good in the sense of a cadre of brand enthusiasts.  I mean good as in a large, well-connected group of people who like to express their opinion about products and brands.

noggerchocist wieder da

In an earlier post I wrote about a grass-roots social media campaign, initiated by a group of brand enthusiasts who were calling for the return of Langnese’s Nogger Choc ice cream bar.  I also commended Langnese for the way they engaged with the community and leveraged its members to spread the word when the company in fact decided to put Nogger Choc back on the market.  But I also mentioned that there were some critical voices online complaining that the quality was not on par with the original product.

The critics haven’t disappeared.  In fact, if you type Nogger Choc into Google, the first entry is a fairly intense rant about how bad the relaunched Nogger Choc is.  The link takes you to an online petition of fairly angry, former Nogger Choc enthusiasts sharing similar opinions and describing in detail all the things that are wrong with the product.  “Hell hath no fury like a brand lover scorned.”

Will this eventually result in Langnese taking Nogger Choc off the market a second time?  It’s too early to tell.  But all the grumbling  could equally lead in another direction.  Langnese could take the criticism of Nogger Choc’s most loyal consumers to heart and work with them to improve the product.  Imagine the positive word-of-mouth that would  ignite!  And maybe even a few sales.

Sadly, it seems that Langnese is only interested in social media when people have good things to say about their products.  There’s no place for comments on their web site. There’s no Facebook page.  Indeed I haven’t been able to find anywhere online where Langnese is responding to the critics.  Pretty disappointing.

I have to join the ranks of the nay-sayers, unfortunately.  I was also a fan of the original Nogger Choc.  I can’t honestly say I remember how good the quality was back then.  But the ice cream in the new Nogger Choc seems like a something that came out of the lab, rather than a cow.  I won’t be trying it again.  Except perhaps on those rare occasions where I give into a craving for McDonald’s and momentarily lower my standards of what I consider acceptable nutrition.  For one of those fast food binges, Nogger Choc would be the perfect dessert.


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Objectives for a hypothetical FMCG brand on Twitter

In a January blog post on Mashable, Jennifer van Grove wrote about 40 brands currently active on Twitter (“40 of the Best Twitter Brands and the People Behind Them”). It’s a worthwhile read. What’s interesting is that not a single FMCG brand makes the list.

This made me wonder. Is Twitter not a space that can be useful for marketers of fast-moving consumer packaged goods? I started to think what the possible objectives for an FMCG brand on Twitter might be. This is what I came up with. Some are somewhat specific to FMCG brands, but most aren’t.

Let me know what you think. And tell me others that occur to you.

I’ve framed the objectives with reference to women, since women generally are the decision makers about most packaged goods brands for the home.

  • Nurture strong relationships with women through dialogue, personal connection and conversation and by providing our brand with a human face and voice.
  • Drive commitment and loyalty among expanding numbers of women through the growing group of socially active individuals using Twitter and other social media platforms.
  • Multiply connections with our brand through relevant content that generates retweets and other viral actions.
  • Listen and understand how women truly feel about our brand and products through the immediate, real-time and truthful expressions and interactions that Twitter encourages.
  • Meet, connect with and acknowledge our brand’s most passionate users with an eye to further energizing their active endorsement of the brand.
  • Generate good-will, buzz and positive word of mouth through our brand’s efforts to engage, respond and share in real time on Twitter.
  • Identify, discuss and resolve issues or negative word-of-mouth immediately as these arise — for example, questions regarding sustainability, safety of ingredients or materials, product problems or dissatisfaction with performance, questions about usage instructions, etc.
  • Build awareness of promotions, price offers, events and other initiatives more effectively through pro-active opt-in of brand Followers on Twitter and through those Followers spreading the word to their personal online connections and communities on Twitter and elsewhere online.
  • Build awareness and drive traffic to other brand locations online, e.g. web site, Facebook page, etc.
  • Ultimately – generate increased sales and market share through women’s increased commitment, loyalty, appreciation and love for the brand and the people behind it.


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