Listening and Loyalty, Takeaways from WOMMfest 2013

By Fizz February 26, 2013

By Tracey Gold

WOMMFest 2013, was an action packed event hosted by our very own CEO and WOMMA Board Member, Ted Wright.

Keynote speakers in anchor cities included Grammy award winning country music star, Kristian Bush in Atlanta, acclaimed author C.C. Chapman in Seattle and cartoonist Hugh MacLeod in Chicago.

WOMMA provides an excellent recap of the event here.

My inspiration of the day came from Kristian Bush when he said: “market the conversation, not the fear.”


It’s the story and the conversation that drives his band Sugarland. Over the years they’ve cultivated a strong layer of trust with fans by listening  to their needs and producing authentic content. Kristian isn’t afraid to break the mold, and advises brands to just be real and “paddle the wave.”

The tour, dubbed “In Your Hands,” provides a good example of how Kristian and his band Sugarland, practice what they preach. Allowing fans to pick a portion of the set lists for upcoming shows produced highly talk-worthy content. People just don’t expect that level of caring and access from superstars. It’s powerful because it’s surprising and catalyzes positive word of mouth.

Brands that are willing to take risks, believe in the quality of their offering. A great example is State Farm’s initiative with IDEO called “Next Door.” This community-based service in Chicago offers “no pressure” financial coaching. The goal is to develop more meaningful connections with consumers by learning about their needs, fears and recommendations. According to IDEO, “Next Door” is “built to listen.”

What I like about this is platform is that the focus is not on metrics. Instead the goal is receiving invaluable feedback from customers, and developing rich bonds that will in turn provide a greater chance of  generating lasting loyalty.

My final takeaway: In today’s world of information overload, people expect intimate interactions with brands. With the examples sited above: relevant content, authenticity and stepping outside the mold are fundamental WOM principles that catapult brands from being labeled “just another brand.”

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