Word of Mouth Visualized

Design Thinker David Armano posted a graphic design contest about 3 weeks ago for a free pass to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s Seminar in mid May. So I busted out the following graphic in about 5 hours of work, to convey some of my thoughts on what WOM means. Please note that I’ve exagerated negative WOM in this sample scenario only because promotors and super brand evangelists get a lot of marketers attention. Yet, there are many controversial subjects (as opposed to brands) that get booed all the time. Personally, I feel that more people like to share positivity than negativity, because it’s a reflection of who we are, and we probably would rather be perceived as positive. More notes below the graphic.

Word of Mouth - Visualized

While an infographic should be self-explanatory, I will explain some of the thoughts behind my concept:

  • At a basic level, there are at least 5 types of affinity levels from detest to love.
  • People increasingly are inclined to tell others when their feelings toward like or dislike become stronger.
  • Indifferent opinions have little propensity to be shared, unless if feedback is solicited.
  • Some nodes have the opportunity to tell a LOT of people and influence their opinion (whether fully formed and objective or not).
  • Highlighting different recipient reactions than from the original transmitter is reflective of reality; we don’t all share the same degrees of like/dislike, no matter who the influencer was nor how they communicated their opinion.
  • There are some experiences that we may not want to share with a lot of people because of their personal nature, be they positive or embarrassing (for ourselves or others). Another circumstance could be that we learn something valuable, but out of self- or group-interest, we want to keep this knowledge just to ourselves or a very limited number of people.
  • Everything depends on the quality of the idea first.

With that said, I’d like to point out one flaw I noticed in my diagram. Sandwhiching the label Detractors between the two big groups at the bottom could make one think all those people ARE detractors, when in fact they’re just recipients of the previous node’s recommendation, which itself is exagerrated according to the probabilistic behavior of nodes earlier in the tree.

Anyways, hope you enjoy it! Feel free to share along, as it’s under the following Creative Commons License