Of Words and Mouths

Just as I was walking home from school, I began thinking about which brands I particularly like and reminiscing about how I began liking them in the first place. This occurred to me due to a combination of two things: a) it was raining, b) my Lacoste jacket has a retardedly bad hood tightening thingamajig. Naturally the next step was to question myself as to why I like Lacoste although their design clearly sucks in this particular piece of garment. Easy answer. They have a cool crocodile logo. Problem solved. Moving on.

Whereas trendy rich people love Apple, I have a personal fanboy-relationship with Oakley, and the reason for that is quite simple and stupid. Originally I was introduced to Oakley when I was around 10 by a friend whom I’ve looked up to my entire life. He told me something along the lines of “these are the best sunglasses”. Now, he probably had no idea about why or if what he was saying was true (considering he was 11) but the thought struck with me. All I needed to embrace a brand I had never heard about was someone I trusted telling me that it was excellent. Granted, I was a child, but it is my belief that everybody has been at some point, so ignoring children as potential future consumers could prove detrimental to any business. Later on I realized Oakley makes shoes and clothes to my liking as well so I’ve been buying their products whenever I’ve had the chance since the last millennium, which is not often here in the cold North. Whether or not my opinion on Oakley has any impact on people around me (it doesn’t) remains to be seen, but at least everybody knows that I really like that brand. Were it not to increase sales, it definitely increases awareness.

I would have many other brands I could mention as examples of things that I’ve been introduced to by a friend or acquaintance. The common denominator being that if such a brand has lived up to expectations I probably still buy it once in a while and recommend it to others. Which leads me to the whole pièce de résistance of this post, word-of-mouth. Disregarding the fact that everything works more efficiently on a child, good friends or even acquaintances recommending something will most likely have a much bigger impact on people than any interruptive commercial. This has been researched over and over again so I’m not just pulling stuff out of my ass here. I am, however, too lazy to site sources.

If anyone ever reads this and wants to learn more about word-of-mouth and viral marketing I would suggest watching Seth Godin‘s speeches at TED.


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