The Church of the Customer Blog — a site we don’t link nearly as much as we read it — has an excellent vivisection of a negative WoM campaign, using our own favorite AOL canceler Vincent Ferrari as their still writhing subject:
1. Bloggers spread a story that has a surprising development (i.e., a Comcast technician falls asleep on a customer’s couch, or nude photos of a high school art teacher are found online)
2. The story has plenty of concrete details. Audio, video or photographic evidence are ideal.
3. A tangible form of injustice has occurred (multiple missed appointments, getting fired)
4. As the story reaches a certain threshold of recognition in the blogosphere (a top 5 search term on Technorati), the traditional media react. (Ferrari was interviewed Wednesday by Matt Lauer on The Today Show.)
5. Within a day or two, the traditional network story gets posted to YouTube, and the word of mouth goes nuclear. The non-blogging audience hears the story for the first time, and the original bloggers post updates about the involvement of traditional media.
In other words, guys… kvetching, bitching, complaining works. It might only be a single voice, but make it compelling, human and entertaining and soon enough, even ghoulish mannequins like Matt Lauer have to listen. Sites like The Consumerist work. All is well with the world.
The 5 Steps of How A Story Spreads [Church of the Customer Blog]