1000heads: Word of Mouth Optimisation

I screamed at the TV this weekend. Twice.

Here’s why:

They did it. They finally did it.

After imploring them just over a month ago (and then watching Ikea getting in on the act), Homebase finally went and decorated a (very) public place, Carlisle Train Station to be precise, with all their latest furnishings.

Good job.

Photo via 28Gywn

According to some of the photos that can be found on flickr (which I can’t show you, as they’re not under Creative Commons but we’ll come back to this later), Homebase shot the ad above on February 10th. A mere two days after our post recommending they do so.

Just call us 1000-psychic-heads…

Joking aside, it’s good to see this kind of friendly disruption. Interruptive yes, but not combative. It looks like it was all rather enjoyable and fun and it would also seem that Homebase aren’t just stopping there either.

According to their latest promotion ‘Transforming the Nation‘ Carlisle Station won’t be the only place in the UK to get such a makeover. You too can get your community involved and nominate a public space near you to get ‘the Homebase makeover’.

While we applaud the over-arching theme and campaign mechanic (disrupting schemas and getting local community involvement; breadth and depth), we still can’t help but think that there are a few missed opportunities here.

Scott Gould recently spoke at the WOM Espresso about SPREADABILITY vs REACH and in doing so touched upon the key point of GUIDANCE vs GOVERNANCE.

This sign, posted by the Homebase film crew at Carlisle station reminded me of just that:

Photo via 28Gwyn

I’ve worked in television, I know that the above ‘waiver’ is a legality box that must be ticked. However, there are ways and means, surely? Why not have two signs? One with all the legal spiel on it and another…

Oh I don’t know, maybe one like this one:

So I’d like to give a gentle nudge in the direction of the content creators out there – and I don’t just mean those Flickr fanatics or YouTube aficionados, I mean content creators in their purest form: those that create conversation, those that will get to work and actively seek out their friends and peers to amaze and share with them what they have seen.

At the time of writing there are 139 photos on Flickr tagged with ‘Carlisle’ and ‘Homebase’ but only FIVE that are actually licensed under Creative Commons and are therefore spreadable.

Yes, this may have happened already. Of course it did. But there really is no harm in lending a guiding hand along the way.

Homebase shot a TV commercial that happened to take place in a train station.

What else could they have done?
Off the top of our ‘Heads:

  • Where’s the digital component?
  • Have we invited any bloggers along? (Trainspotters? Home Decorators?)
  • Should we invite the local staff along to meet and greet?
  • Is there a twitter feed or a hashtag for this?
  • Could we blog the progress of the build?
  • Should we set up a Facebook page: ‘My town was Homebase’d’
  • What about Easter Eggs? Can we make it more than just a sofa?
  • Is this driven by insights? i.e.: are the products on show there for their popularity?

Here at 1000heads we call this (and a whole lot more) ‘WOM Optimisation’, as in – what are the word of mouth triggers that we can put in place to make this event/activity/content as shareable as possible?

Next time you’re attempting anything like this, take a moment and think:

What can I do to to make this really spreadable?

1000heads: Disrupting the norm

There’s an ongoing debate here at 1000heads HQ at the moment about how we can continually ‘disrupt the norm’ in fun and interesting ways for the benefits of our clients.

This article ‘Why effective word of mouth disrupts schemas‘ is to blame. For the sake of brevity I’m only going to pull one quote from the piece (which really is worth a click and read by the way), as follows:

“Word-of-mouth on brands uses these same cognitive principles. Consumers talk about brands when we disrupt a schema. They talk when we give them a piece of surprise that does not fit inside their mental model.”

I spotted a good visual example of this over the weekend with the latest television advert from DIY specialists, Homebase.

Annoyingly, the only place you can view it online won’t let me actually embed the video – sigh – however from the image below you can get the idea.

Everyday essentials at low prices

The premise is simple, while decorating what looks like a London Underground escalator tunnel, the posters and tools used are priced and demo’d. The end result can be seen with the closing shot; a fantastically decorated public space, that not only looks amazing but also – if you saw it in real life – would certainly get you talking…

But that’s where we think that the whole Homebase campaign could do with some WOM. The London Underground effort isn’t the only space that they’ve disrupted, the other ads include decorating outdoor ads as well as public swimming pools.

Sticking to our We Want Work With principles, if we were working with Homebase then we’d have to push for making some of these above the line ideas and making them real.

Seeing your local underground station kitted out like this certainly doesn’t fit in with ‘the norm’ and – a few logistic issues aside – would certainly get people talking

Do something different.
Disrupt the norm.