Villing & Company

Is Your Brand Talkable?

I had the pleasure of hearing John Moore speak about "Talkable Brands" at AMA Michiana's November luncheon. He was a very entertaining speaker who is obviously extremely passionate about marketing.

"Talkable Brands" are companies that do things that are worthy of being talked about, of being shared via word-of-mouth. Here are a few interesting stats regarding word-of-mouth:

  • Over 3,000,000,000 marketing-related word-of-mouth conversations take place every day in the United States.
    Source: Keller Fay Group presentation at WOMMA Summit VI (Nov. 2009)
  • The typical American mentions specific brand names 60 times per week in offline and online conversations.
    Source: Keller Fay Group "Talk Track" report (2009)
  • Word-of-mouth is the primary factor behind 20-50 percent of all purchase decisions.
    Source: "A New Way to Measure Word-of-Mouth Marketing" McKinsey Quarterly (April 2010)

Starbucks, for instance, is a talkable brand. They built their brand by focusing on creating a business that changed the way people drank and appreciated coffee. The by-product of this kind of focus was the creation of a strong brand, one that gets talked about a lot. "Building the business creates the brand."

Here's a short list of ways to help make your brand talkable. Keep these things in mind as you go about building your business.

  1. Be unique.  "Remarkable businesses make the common uncommon and remarkable things get remarked about." Figure out a way to make your business different from your competitors. You don't have to be the biggest to be the best. If a sandwich shop can do it, so can you.
  2. Be obvious. Once you've decided how to differentiate your company from your competition, be obvious about it. Don't try to hide it. Yes, you may very well turn some current customers off. But you might just turn that many more on. "In order to gain customers, you have to able to lose customers." As Seth Godin states, "The real growth comes with products that annoy, offend, don't appeal, are too expensive, too cheap, too heavy, too complicated, too simple - too something ("too" for some people, but just perfect for others)."
  3. Be affected. Participating in social media is a way to cultivate and create relationships with loyal customers who help to drive a company's future growth. It should not be looked at as strictly a marketing or PR initiative. According to a 2009 ENGAGEMENTdb Report titled, "Ranking the Top 100 Global Brands", "…companies that are both deeply and widely engaged in social media surpass their peers in terms of both revenue and profit performance by a significant difference."

What would you add to the list? How are you noticing brands creating 'talkability'? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to email me any time at

Filed Under: branding

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