I spent alot of time listening to (and trying to find intelligent responses to) Julian R Harris on Friday. He’s also at Conchango and we had a number of meetings with clients, although they took very different directions.
Anyone who’s met Julian, or plugged themselves into his high wattage blog will know that the experience is somewhat like the proverbial “drinking from a firehose” as Julian comes out with idea after idea across a huge variety of topics, leaving the mere mortal gasping for air, trying to slot the ideas together. Great fun though.
Anyhow we were talking about trends and social change and Julian made the point that word-of-mouth was always the most powerful influence, it’s just that the web has changed word of mouth from an activity anchored in time and location and turned it into a permanent (and through Google, findable) reference which the whole world can see.
I know this isn’t new news but it seemed to me to be an incredibly succinct way to understand what’s going on. And how can brands recover from negative word of mouth? There’s only one way. They must change and enlist customers as advocates in that change.