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Brands need to collaborate with consumers

By Mairi Clark | Staff



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December 9, 2015 | 4 min read

Collaboration with consumers is one of the most valuable tools a brand can own. In October, London agency trnd UK held a breakfast briefing to explore how brands can leverage their consumers’ potential through collaborative marketing.


Oliver Mayer, trnd

Research shows that 88% of consumers want a more meaningful relationship with their favourite brands and that 83% of CEOs want to engage better with their consumers, it’s surprising then that only 6% of marketers know how to connect the two.

In the first of two opinion pieces spawned from the event, Oliver Mayer, an international analyst at trnd, looks at what word-of-mouth (WOM) – one specific output of Collaborative Marketing – can do for a brand.


When looking for a new ISP, I researched in detail three providers that I was aware of. Each had great prices and good packages, and they all promised their deal was the best. After a day spent browsing what each had to offer, I was none the wiser. I took 5 minutes out to go to my neighbour and ask who he used, and whether he was happy. The neighbour recommended O2, one of the ISPs I had researched, so I signed up right away. One 5-minute recommendation superseded a day’s research of marketing materials.

You can do all the marketing you want, but just like that, a personal recommendation from someone can overtake all your other marketing efforts. Take Yves Rocher. Through a collaborative marketing campaign engaging 1500 consumers, the brand reached 115,622 people with a positive message. Following this, store visits increased 13%; sales on those store visits increased 6%; and sales of the product at the centre of the campaign increased 19%. A similar campaign for Sensodyne toothpaste saw a 29% increase in sales.

These results support the claims from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) that a word-of-mouth impression can drive five times more sales than a paid media impression. WOM can not only increase sales but also boost brand and product awareness and drive a notable increase in User Generated Content (UGC) – we’ve seen as much as a tenfold of UGC in some of our campaigns.

There’s also a clear ROI to be found in collaborating with your consumers. When studying Nielsen sales data from 11 campaigns, we found that every €1 invested in a trnd collaborative marketing campaign delivered on average €3.93 in return.

Marketers often ask where WOM and collaborative marketing fits in to the budget and media mix. We believe it should complement all other channels. It will make your other marketing more effective. So we’re not saying “take your money out of TV and put it into WOM”, rather use it to enhance all other marketing. Collaborative marketing starts with a selected group of loyal consumers, and engages them, educates them, and provides them with the tools to become co-marketers, reaching more people in a highly targeted way.

If mass awareness is the objective, traditional media such as TV might still be the most effective. Collaborative marketing is more of a qualitative approach that can build long lasting relationships between brands and consumers, and add credibility. Plus studies have proved that collaborative marketing enhances the effects of other media. In Germany, where I am based, we have seen that companies who integrate collaborative marketing campaigns into the media mix see a significant increase in brand awareness and purchase intent, doubling the effect of traditional media activity.

Brands need to remember that even though we live in a digital age, most conversations still happen offline. 80-85% of communication between consumers is done offline, even among millennials – the digital natives. The Internet was created in the 90’s but speech was created thousands of years ago so it’s understandable that people still want to talk to each other – as marketers we should tap into this often overlooked marketing tool.

My own personal experiences show what WOMMA’s research has found, that WOM recommendation remains the most effective form of marketing.”

Oliver Mayer is an international analyst at trnd.

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Imagine 10,000 additional marketers working alongside you to generate awareness, drive trial and boost your sales through credible, trusted recommendations about your brand, plus, providing real-life insights to inform your business decisions. We’re about to introduce you to them. They’re your consumers.

As Europe’s leading Collaborative Marketing company we enable brands to market with their consumers rather than at them, and trigger conversations about brand experiences in the place they are most trusted and recommendations most acted on: between real people.

With access to over 2 million engaged consumers across Europe, we provide companies with the opportunity to bolster their marketing mix with word of mouth, co-create new products and inform future investments with real-life consumer insights.

trnd operates in 19 markets, running Collaborative Marketing campaigns for clients such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, L’Oréal, Sony, Thomas Cook, Bosch, Philips and Samsung. The letters are short for "the real network dialogue" because we operate in the world’s biggest social network – real life.

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