It had to be done. When hiking the Grand Canyon, I couldn’t resist yelling “Hello” to hear the echo. So I cupped my hands around my mouth and yelled as loud as I could. My voice bounced around and around me.
The same thing happens in the world of marketing communications. We cup our hands around our latest marketing message, and send it out with gusto. But the real fun begins when the message echoes off the walls of all the types of media our target market consumes.
Newly published research in the Journal of Marketing gives insight about how our messages bounce all around our target market. The article outlines what the researchers call an “echoverse,” which forms a complex feedback loop (the echo) between corporation’s brand communications, news media and user-generated social media (the universe.) These elements reverberate and echo one another, just like my voice around the walls of the Grand Canyon.
Here are some of their findings:
- A personalized Twitter strategy, focused on responding to individual customers, may be more effective than using social media as a promotional medium.
- Of no surprise to anyone, negative news travels fast and wide between media and word-of-mouth.
- Press release can be surprisingly effective.
- Traditional advertising bypasses the echoverse.
- Use of both online and traditional offline marketing elements are important.
In addition, the research suggests that corporate communications and consumer communications about a corporation or product have moved in inverse directions. Corporate communications has gone from one-to-many (advertising) to one-to-one (Twitter). Consumer word-of-mouth communications have moved in the opposite direction from one-to-one (conversations) to one -to-many (social media).
The authors of the research acknowledge it’s limitations since it focus on four leading U.S. financial institutions and Twitter was used as the proxy for social media, but it does provide insights that are transferable to other industries. If you’d like to read more, see Brand Buzz in the Echoverse, in the March 2016 issue of the Journal of Marketing.