The XX Marks the Word-of-Mouth Spot

By now, many of us are very familiar with the phrase “word-of-mouth” and have been inundated with tons of mentions about what it is and isn’t. As a matter of fact, with the overuse of the term in marketing and communication circles, some have even predicted that the phrase has lost its meaning and value.

However, last month, a British rock band, The XX, proved exactly how vital and special word-of-mouth communication can be. While you were listening to “Call Me Maybe” for the umpteenth time, The XX tried a unique experience to promote their upcoming second album, Coexist.

A week before the worldwide release of the album, the band sent it to an individual fanand asked this person to take a listen. If they liked it, the band invited them to share it with others and asked them to do the same. Working with Microsoft, the band was able to track the distribution of the album organically as the album was shared throughout the world, eventually crashing the band’s website. You can even click here to see the timeline in which the album was shared.

In an era in which brands overreact if they have enough fans, likes and traffic, it is important to see what matters: content and customers. This experiment proved both are essential above everything else.

If you have the right product that people enjoy, value, appreciate and desire, then they will consider what you have to offer them. You can promote and push yourself all day long, but if it’s not of value, then you have no chance with your customer base.

Secondly, you have to trust your customers and identify which ones will emerge as brand champions for you and your business. However, this is something you cannot take for granted. People need a reason to want to speak on your behalf. I am sure there are some people who received The XX’s album who did not like it and chose not to share it at all. But, the band was not concerned about them. They wanted to make sure their fans were able to appreciate the new music all the same and catered to ensuring they enjoyed it.

So, the next time your business begins talking about ways to get 5,000 followers or reach $10 million in sales, remember that it begins with the power of one, and then focus on what it takes to maintain that sense of a personal relationship with all of your customers.