A business in the travel and tourism industry that approaches their operations just like everyone else, and without much passion, is unlikely to come up much in conversation. In fact, Jay Bauer writes in his eBook, The 6-Step Process For Creating Word Of Mouth With Talk Triggers, that people simply don’t bother to talk about run-of-the-mill brands. What’s the differentiator, then, you may ask? How does a brand make its way onto the tip of everyone’s dinner-party tongue? It’s the ability of the stand-out brands to forge ahead into new marketing territories, explains Bauer, in which they inspire their customers and potential customers alike, to converse about their products and/or services to anyone who will listen, and how these stories then go on to “create new customers through referrals and recommendations,” he enthuses.
According to the research on which his award-winning book with co-writer Daniel Lemin is based, Talk Triggers advises that as many as 20% of all global purchases happen as a result of word of mouth, particularly from someone you know, trust and interact with regularly – such as a family member, colleague or close friend. The problem is that companies are so busy on their treadmill of trading that they forget to create what Bauer refers to as “the right environment for sustained word of mouth”.
What we companies around the world are loving about the authors of Talk Triggers, is that they break the word-of-mouth process down into two astute sections:
- Talk triggers, of which they identify four; and
- A way to map out and test these, via a six-step process.
Four triggers for the win
Approach it like a puzzle and you’re on the way to word-of-mouth ‘talk trigger’ mastery. Essentially, it must include at least one of four things:
Remarkable – be clever and gain the limelight, such as water sommelier Candice Jansen has done;
Relevant – help people with their daily challenges, such as household service provider Sweep South has attempted;
Reasonable – don’t be so avant-garde that people go “no ways”, like they do with shocker hip-hop vocalists, Die Antwoord, for example; and/or
Repeatable – become a household name via your level of safe consistency rather than due to elitism, as tea-time beskuit providers Ouma Rusks has accomplished.
The above are, of course, just four pertinent lifestyle examples.
Six steps to trigger prowess
Bauer and Lemin concur that if you follow the four-step process above, in which you steer your brand onto the perfect conversational track, next up is the slightly more in-depth six-step process that will allow you to create hard and fast talk triggers for your brand.
See below for the steps and relevant travel and tourism examples:
- Seek an insider take
This means tapping into everything that your business already knows about its customers – what they want, and how they use the products and services that you provide. The Marketing/PR, Sales/Operations, and Customer Services departments should all be fully on board. It’s all about uncovering operational intelligence that could become the next big talk trigger. Think of the Holiday Inn TV ads, where customers are so at home that they go for breakfast in their PJs.
- Stay close to gain insight
Many individuals in the PR and marketing game reveal that they feel their customers are there to outsmart them. The solution? This is where actual need comes in on a scale of one to ten, reveals Bauer. Examples he cites include “more speed, lower prices, faster service or more pizza toppings”. Customer surveys, at the point of checking out, can be immensely helpful in bringing these matters forward at a hotel, airline or any sort of touring company – Contiki, perhaps?
- Step into customer shoes
It’s all about the questions you ask yourself about the value your brand could create in the way of a talk trigger. Bauer suggests going with:
- When I buy or use this product/service, I’m…
- What I don’t expect from this product is…
- What I’m talking about in my life right now is…
- What I kind of want is…
- What I really want is…
It’s actually not very complicated. Think of yourself at home, while unpacking the groceries you need and relish. That is brand affiliation at its finest.
- Tap into customer chat
According to Bauer’s research, if your talk trigger is present in at least 10% of customer conversations, while your team is testing out their marketing strategy, “it has the potential to be a long-term thing”. From a measurement perspective, it’s all about the ability to sustain a presence among those who currently rank you highly. There are ways and means: A loyalty programme with a regular newsletter could be just the ticket, such as that of Discovery Vitality where you score discounts on flights by being physically active.
- Trigger the long-term talk
When a brand-related conversation changes customer perceptions in the long run rather than activating their short-term interest, you’re onto something. Let’s consider the Spier wine estate with its seasonal hotel specials, kids’ club, tasting venue, and more. The talk gets amplified over the long term when customers head home happy, relaxed and fulfilled, and tell their friends and neighbours all about it.
- Spread the rumour
While reading Talk Trigger back to back is sure to position your brand in such a way as to capitalise on existing customers to best effect, what about those customer lurking on the periphery who are interested but need a bit of a ‘carrot dangling’ to get them squarely on board? This is where joining offers, discount codes, social media giveaways, and many other types of talk triggers can work in your favour. Think of the latest Instagram competition, where you were encouraged to follow, tag and post to your profile. Such activations are all about encouraging customers to take small but impactful steps on a brand’s marketing journey – doing the reading and research, and tapping in regularly with the experts, along with the opinions of other highly loyal customers.
We challenge you and your brand to go forth and ‘trigger’.