Nine Key Takeaways from #WOMMASummit 2012

WOMMA Summit is done for another year, with over 400 marketers convening in Las Vegas for their annual pilgrimage to share best practices and case studies, and importantly, network with their peers in the Word-of-Mouth Marketing (WOM) space.

WOMMA is the place where trends are cemented, and importantly, brands and practitioners leave with learnings and takeaways to put into action in their own marcoms programs.

Here are nine key takeaways from the Social@Ogilvy team:

1. Focus on the 1%. Jackie Huba, author of Monster Business: Loyalty Lessons from Lady Gaga used Lady Gaga as a case  to demonstrate how focusing on the 1% of super fans develops life-long advocacy. She narrowed in on the “little monsters” epidemic, and the universal “monster paw” symbol known to Gaga fans around the globe. More importantly, she’s identified this 1% by focusing on WHY she does what she does, never backing down from the beliefs she shares with those fans — the desire of all to be accepted in the world.

2. Highlight the “why:” Gaga reminds us that each business has core values, and a reason, at its heart. By understanding and focusing communications on those values, brands can build loyalty and a passionate engine to extend reach to new fans, and drive advocacy and sharing amongst those existing ones.

3. CONTENT quality counts. In a busy space, low-grade content will soon be ignored. Pete Blackshaw, Global Head of Digital and Social Media of Nestlé talked about how fundamentals really matter in a crowded space, especially content. No pressure, but this content must also be remarkable. Patagonia’s #becauseilove campaign encouraged fans and customers to vote for the environment. By focusing on the brand’s “why,” and giving the co-creation tools to the consumer through in-person marketing turned social, Patagonia registered new voters who supported a cause at its core — the fight to protect the world we live in.

4. DEMONSTRATE ROI. While it is known that social media drives impressions and allows the spread of authentic recommendations, this must be translated into an exact ROI and dollar amount. Summit attendees agreed, there is no longer an excuse for not measuring the results of social media.

5. The C Suite still is not comfortable with social and digital media. IBM’s Carolyn Heller Baird presented the  IBM Global CMO Study showcasing the pressures that CMOs feel across the board, which include lack of comfort with social and digital tactics. Good internal (see Nestlé’s impressive Digital Acceleration Training or DAT) and external partners continue in their efforts to understand and support this.

6. Never underestimate the power of cascading benefits of social media projects, and work internally, as this means marketers can see the power of their ideas take on a viral effect, often in a positive direction. Pete Blackshaw sees this as a tool to ensure digital becomes an operating principle across Nestlé around the world.

7. ALL ROADS LEAD TO SOCIAL BUSINESS and some brands are driving in the fast lane. Todd Watson of IBM showcased how understanding the social nature of company culture and taking baby steps led to developing a social enterprise, which is an important place to start with social business. At IBM, what started with the inaugural blogger code of ethics turned into a full-fledged enterprise-level curriculum, with social at the core of IBM’s business.

8.  Take advantage of the world. Most innovation in social media is happening outside of the US. Brands from Coke to Nestlé and Skype, and more, talked about the need to immerse teams in work being carried out in different cultures, and by their teams to, in turn, bring innovation back to North America.

9. Crisis is a fact of life in social. John Bell, Global Managing Director of Social@Ogilvy, talked about a year in which he had seen more social crises than ever before.  Preparedness, transparency, the importance of fostering the 1% to come to the support of a brand, and integrated listening frameworks all emerged as important takeaways for brands in preparing for what may now be the inevitable social media crisis.

10. (OK, we said nine, but are throwing you an extra for good behavior.) WOMMA has many important resources for marketers, and at Summit launched WOMMAPedia: wommapedia.org. This showcases the WOMMY winners announced at the event last week. Check here to see the brands that were word-of-mouth-worthy this year and, key learnings you could take away.