WOMMFest: Celebrating with Purpose
I celebrated yesterday’s first-ever national Word of Mouth Marketing day (WOMMFest) by heading to Seattle to join Rod Brooks (Pemco CMO and past Chairman of WOMMA) for a program that included wisdom from a social strategist, a cartoonist, a musician, a government official, and a pair of fish mongers.
It was by far the most diverse lineup of speakers at a WOMMA event ever and potentially the most powerful. Judging from the conversation and tweets, the community of WOMM practitioners in Seattle drew much from the stories of each of these remarkable people plus one very unlucky “stunt fish”. Here are a few items I took with me:
Medium drives WOM: CC Chapman’s photos, Hugh MacLeod’s cartoons and the call and response of the Pike Place Fish throwers all got us buzzing about HOW messages were delivered. The Pike Place guys had no pithy slides, but instead of tuning out, we all leaned in to grab the applicable meaning out of their non-traditional delivery. They earned our attention by tossing a salmon back across a room of marketers to open and we were in after that.
Play: Whether you want people to take notice of your fish or band or operating system (Microsoft’s Blue Monster), fun is a great way to make it happen AND elevates conversation from price. The Pike Place fishermen make new games daily to keep employees motivated, engaged, and contagiously fun.
Know Your Role: King County’s Derek Belt blew the crowd away with his moving story of celebrating Marriage Equality Day in Washington State. The registrar opened at 12:01 on the first day it was legal for same sex couples to apply for a marriage license and processed hundreds of couples who in some cases had waited decades to be recognized by the state. While it was a great service to the community and good PR for the county, they recognized that the stories were about the couples themselves and they were only there to facilitate. As you can see on the Storify of the day, King County just provided the place and the means and the stories wrote themselves.
Conversational Capital is Valuable: I thought this quote from Kristian Bush captured quite nicely what the whole day was about. The conversational capital we give our customers, fans, or followers can be as, if not more, valuable as the product itself. In some cases stories are free or close to it.
I wanted to end with Hugh MacLeod’s lesson The Market for Something to Believe in is Infinitebecause I think it is meaningful in terms of WOMMFest itself. WOMMA’s role was to create the occasion for marketers to convene around something they believe in and celebrate it in a fun, new medium. I walked away inspired and invigorated and hopefully the participants in all 12 events that took place across the country did as well.
See more from the day’s festivities by checking out some of the conversations that took place.