Who or what really influences word of mouth trends?

This article discusses word-of-mouth trends, and how they work. The theory behind Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point is that social epidemics are spread by a few exceptionally influential people, has appealed to marketers.

Who or what really influences word of mouth trends?

Alain Samson and Justin Kirby

A few years ago, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the law of the few in The Tipping Point(1). Social epidemics (where messages or behaviours reproduce at an exponential rate), he claimed, result from not only the content of the message and its context, but also one or more influential people who are unusually well connected, knowledgeable or persuasive. Gladwell's arguments are compelling. However, as with recent challenges to the Net Promoter® Score (2), Gladwell's ideas may make intuitive sense to marketers, but have...

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