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Liveblogging From The CMA's WOM Conference

Arriving late after some TTC congestion, I caught the tail-end of Sean Moffitt and Louis Gagnon’s opening remarks from the CMA’s Word of Mouth conference. The duo introduced Jackie Huba, author of Citizen Marketers: When People are the Message. In her morning keynote Jackie spoke about how consumers are taking ownership of brands, and voicing their opinions in democratized online mediums. Providing statistics boasting Canada’s online penetration – 58% of us reading blogs – Canadians are amongst the 48 million people in North America who have created something online; bogs, videos, etc. Jackie described us as “connected amateurs marketing ourselves around the world.” Jackie identified and outlined four online personalities, which she called the 4 F’s, of how citizen marketers effect brands and branding:

  1. Citizen_marketers_book Firecrackers: These users create explosive growth on the web, which has a rapid short-term penetration, which fizzles quite quickly after it was created.
  2. Filters: This user is also known as a brand journalist, and is a product or brand aficionado, who profile brands simply because they are passionate about it. 
  3. Fanatics: These creators are completely crazy for your product of brand, and are dedicated to what you do in a fanatic way.
  4. Facilitators: Jackie described this as the most complex group, who utilize forums and BBS systems to create communities. Fan sites and community hubs are where, as Jackie displayed, there are hundreds and thousands of visitors, but only 1% of those visitors are creating content.

Following Jackie’s presentation was Eric Peterson, director of community relations of Canadian-bred retailer lululemon. Presenting a case study on the brand, Eric described how lululemon’s whole advertising campaign relies on community relations and making a difference. In their 52 different global stores, lululemon has over 700 weekly events which it provides free to customers and store-visitors to create added value.. Lululemon’s entire marketing campaign relies heavily on Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing. Lululemon needs to be authentic, and Eric said that “if it is not simple [the marketing ideas], we will not do it”. For the brand, if a marketing idea does not create WOM, they do not do it. Giving full creative license to its 1,642 creative on the store floors, lululemon has created an entire marketing campaign on WOM, and splits a traditional marketing budget of 200k between outdoor and print advertisements. A true success story from a homegrown hero.