Word-of-Mouth is Most Trusted Media Source

There’s a new restaurant in town.  What will convince you to try it: A newspaper ad or a friend’s recommendation?

The recommendation wins hands down, every time.  That’s because a recommendation from a friend is a far more trusted source of information than a paid advertisement.

We know that intuitively, but a new report from Nielsen finds that consumers trust in word-of-mouth appeals has increased dramatically: 18% since 2007.  By comparison, consumers trust in paid television and radio advertising has fallen by 25% or more.

According to Nielsen, “92% percent of consumers around the world say they trust…word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.”  What puzzles me is why more groups and business don’t jump on this bandwagon and get their people talking!

The Amputee Coalition is an organization using word-of-mouth to raise awareness.  During April, the group has recruited hundreds of companies, medical professionals and individuals to distribute educational materials in their community.  The group is hoping to distribute 1 million cards and generate just as many conversations.

A campaign like this also keeps members engaged with the organization.  All-too-often the only time someone hears from a group is when they’re looking for a handout.  Studies show that the more a volunteer is engaged with a group’s mission, the more money they will give to that group.  Talk about a no-brainer!

Our Top Ten Successes of 2011

It’s become a tradition for us to highlight our successes from the previous twelve months.  It also helps that our “Top Successes” posts are among the most popular on our site!  So without further adieu, please find below our top client successes from 2011.

10. Recruiting Grasstops Volunteers  – Every week the average Representative in Congress receives 10,000 email messages, far too many to process.  Yet many organizations continue to focus on the quantity, rather than the quality, of communications they generate to elected leaders.  We were pleased to have the chance to work with a national patient advocacy organization that sought to build a network of high-level, politically connected volunteers.  Over an 8-week period, we identified and recruited 78 A-list volunteers from 43 states.  We’re now working with the organization to engage these volunteers in state policy initiatives and the 2012 presidential campaign.

9. Bringing in Bucks & Building Support – ADHD affects millions of kids in America, but some still consider it a “made up” disease.  We worked with patient advocate Natalie Knochenhauer and her group ADHD Aware to develop a funding proposal for a national public awareness campaign.  We were thrilled when a major industry partner decided to fund the organization in the weeks leading up to ADHD Awareness Month in October.  During the awareness month, we reached more than 1.125 million people online with our messages and increased ADHD Aware’s Facebook supporters by more than 350%.

8. Raising Public Awareness – In 2011 we developed awareness campaigns for both the Alliance for Aging Research and the Amputee Coalition.  For the Amputee Coalition, we developed a campaign that will be launched in early 2012 and seeks to educate Americans with diabetes on how to avoid a lower-extremity amputation.  For the Alliance, we developed a campaign to build support for the Healthspan initiative, which will also launch in early 2012  For both we conducted strategic planning sessions, developed key messages, identified target audiences, created communications tactics and an implementation plan.  We look forward to reporting on the success of these campaigns in our Top Successes of 2012!

7. Training Future Generations – In the summer of 2011, I taught Grassroots Communications: Mobilizing the Masses to more than twenty Georgetown graduate students.  Grassroots communications is key because they allow any organization – not just those with huge budgets – to generate conversations and action on the issues they care about.  These conversations are far more persuasive than email or advertising and can more easily cut through the 3,000 marketing messages we process each day.  Teaching at Georgetown provides an unparalleled opportunity to share these strategies with a new generation of communications professionals.

6. Achieving a Regulatory Milestone – In mid-2011 the US Preventive Services Task Force announced it would review the effectiveness of screening for lower-extremity atherosclerosis.  Securing a favorable review from the Task Force has been a top priority of the Vascular Disease Foundation and its allies for more than three years.  We’ve been working with the Foundation the entire time and are thrilled to see that our analysis, messaging and lobbying has begun to pay dividends.  We’re now partnering with the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association to stress the value and importance of this life-saving preventive test.

To be continued next week….

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