Many marketers still struggle with the loss of control over their brand that comes with the ability of consumers to discuss them—and have those messages widely disseminated—across social media. But most brand-related chatter, both online and offline, is positive. And positive buzz carries more weight with consumers, according to research from Keller Fay Group.
In a study of hundreds of thousands of conversations, the firm found about two-thirds of word-of-mouth brand references were “mostly positive.” Those can be powerful.
Two-thirds of study respondents thought positive word-of-mouth was credible, compared with fewer than half who believed negative buzz. Positive information was also more likely to be passed on to others, more than twice as likely to get people to look for more information, and had nearly four times the chance of pushing consumers to make a purchase.
Overall, word-of-mouth is generally positive, but some industries do get better buzz than others. Children’s products and food brands tended to get the most positive mentions, while net advocacy on behalf of companies in the telecommunications, financial services and healthcare industries was lowest. But even for those brands, the majority of word-of-mouth was still upbeat.
The Keller Fay research supports findings by women-focused marketing and communications firm Harbinger, which reported a greater motivation to share good brand experiences than bad ones among female internet users in North America. Consumers trying to give others advice seem to be more interested in directing friends and family toward brands they like than away from brands they have had a problem with.