The question “Who are you?” is the most important inquisition of Marketing. How does one boost both brand and consumer awareness to create a profile for the company. Word of mouth is the most trusted version of marketing, it is the best was to generate popularity towards the brand.
Word of mouth is prehistoric, the most original form of marketing. 70% of people say they trust word of mouth soliciting from strangers, which says a lot on its own. There are many examples of word of mouth being successful such as the Artful living campaign or Penn & Teller, but my personal favourite story of a successful, word of mouth campaign is ‘The Who’.
When “The Who” first entered the rock scene, the representation of a bad boy band had already been claimed by the ‘Rolling Stones’. This put a dent in these hardcore rockers on their streak to become rockstars. Andrew Loog Oldham, the ad man for bands in the 60’s, is quoted “Don’t be the black sheep, be the red sheep, find a good way to stand out from the pack, good and bad are already taken.” This line is what sparked the creative strategy for the Who.
The band knew they needed to get word out about their band to gain a larger crowd, yet didn’t quite know how to produce a positive Word of Mouth. During their next show, on a slightly higher stage, lead guitarist, Pete Townshend, accidentally smashed his guitar through the roof. Since a few girls started laughing, Townshend, continued to smash his guitar, like an axe, to make it seem as if he meant to do it all along.
The crowd loved the craziness and in the following performance, drummer, Keith Moon kicked holes through his drums. The press started to follow the new ruthless band. Word got around about the groups erratic behaviour and the crowds grew larger.
What first started out as a mistake, became accidental word of mouth marketing for ‘The Who’. The group just had to put on a good show and they now knew what the audience wants. Word of mouth marketing can be anything that sparks conversation or admiration towards the brand. Consumers are always going to follow the latest trends, and the goal of word of mouth marketing is to make your brand become a trend, or go viral.