Word of mouth proves powerful in UK

07 October 2010

LONDON: The average consumer in the UK talks about 70 brands each week, a greater number than their US counterparts, new figures show.

Word of mouth consultancy the Keller Fay Group researched nearly 2,600 British adults, covering over 26,000 online and offline conversations.

It reported that the typical participant directly discussed 70 brands each week, measured against the total of 65 delivered in the US.

Female shoppers mentioned 74 products by name per seven days, eight more than males, according to the company.

Some 64% of respondents spoke about food and dining brands at least daily, with media and entertainment scoring 63% and beverages on 57%.

Technology posted 48%, the same rating as retail and apparel, and ahead of telecoms' 47%, financial services' 43%, healthcare's 41% and automotive's 36%.

Household goods came in further back on 30%, while personal care registered 29% and children's products recorded 18%.

British consumers aired their views regarding the travel sector much more regularly than Americans, a gap standing at 24 percentage points.

This disparity reached 12 percentage points for retail and ten percentage points for financial services and technology.

Overall, 90% of brand-based WOM in the UK occurs offline, especially face-to-face, declining to 3% via email, 2% through instant messaging or SMS, and 1% on social networks, chatrooms and blogs.

Encouragingly, 62% of such interactions were defined as "mostly positive", compared with just 9% in the "mostly negative" category.

In 83% of discussions concerning specific goods, one contributor, at minimum, had previously used the brand in question.

"Both credibility and WOM impact are far higher in these situations than when nobody has had personal brand experience," said Ed Keller, ceo of the Keller Fay Group.

"The British might be known for being masters of understatement, but when it comes to word of mouth they are anything but reserved."

Advertising featured in 17% of relevant interactions, with online the "most referenced medium" on 15% and TV on 13%, reversing US positions.

Tesco, the retailer, headed the list of companies mentioned by UK customers, electronics manufacturer Sony claimed second spot and telecoms provider BT took third.

Asda, another supermarket chain, and Apple, maker of the iPhone and iPad, closed out the top five.

Data sourced from Keller Fay Group; additional content by Warc staff