Buzz Marketing : How to Apply Principles for Effective Promotion

Buzz Marketing : How to Apply Principles for Effective Promotion

Before the Internet, social networks, and advertising appeared in the way that we know it; sales had already existed. Some sellers were known and loved more than others. People found out about them through word of mouth. Word and news traveled from person to person.

Now that there is marketing, word of mouth still works. Rumors often decide what a brand’s reputation will be before the best and most expensive ad. Let’s figure out how to control them and make them work for your business.

What Is Buzz Marketing

Buzz Marketing is also called rumor marketing. The term buzz marketing itself is a reference to the sound of buzz. The purpose of such marketing is to make the brand known, talked about, and interesting.

The main principle

St. Ambrose University defines buzz marketing as the evolution of content marketing: here, you also need to create content, but one that the consumer wants to show to friends. It can be implemented in a simple way, such as releasing funny pictures. It can also be difficult if you choose to go the path of a large-scale campaign with a secret that the whole world will solve).

The focus is always on people and their emotions and not on products. Thus, a buzz marketing campaign may not advertise a specific product at all. And if a marketer begins to focus on it and talk about its functions, it can potentially spoil everything.

The main principle of buzz marketing is to give people a topic for discussion.


Why Buzz Marketing is Important for Effective Promotion

According to Mobile Marketer, consumers trust other consumers more than brands. This was the response of 83% of those surveyed by the Nielsen Group.

If you get consumers to talk about you, any advertising campaign will be many times more effective because they will already know you. In addition, people are more loyal to brands that they have already heard about. This is confirmed by experts’ estimates: according to Klick, word of mouth brings 5 times more revenue than advertising.

How Buzz Marketing Is Different From Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is a set of methods whose main purpose is to spread the word about a brand to users. Viral marketing includes, for example, challenges such as the Ice Bucket Challenge for fundraising. The speed of content distribution is very high, close to a geometric progression, and is also increasing.

This is the main difference between viral marketing and buzz marketing. In the first case, the process occurs gradually. In the second, it covers a large number of people at once. Also, viral marketing relies mainly on social media. They can take place in buzz marketing too, but the primary tool of rumors is still talking in person. It is not a repost to a story but at least a direct correspondence.

At the same time, there is no clear border, and both types can be used both together and separately, or even be part of each other.

6 types of Buzz Content

Rumors about a brand are a deliberate strategy, not a random event. This is typically true even if it looks different from the outside. If you describe it in a simple scheme, then some content with a pronounced emotion or trigger is created and then released. There are six types of it, although in practice, the same content can combine features of several types at once.

1. Taboo

In the case of taboo content, the principle of the attractiveness of the forbidden works. If you cannot do something, including talking about it, you will definitely want to do it.

Ideal if the taboo content is also controversial. Everyone will have their say, and rumors about the brand will only multiply. The main thing is not to cross the line and not make enemies in the face of competitors or activists or problems with the law.

2. Unique

This principle is easy to understand but difficult to implement. You must do what no one else does or did before you. There are two pitfalls here:

  1. Coming up with something unique is difficult.
  2. People tend to be loyal to what they’ve heard about, so your unique content should also be attractive enough or have some advantage.

3. Memorable (noteworthy)

Memorable content is similar to unique because it also stands out. But the principle works here: do not do differently but better. You should take the average quality in the market and offer a product or service to a higher level. At the same time, it is important not to move to another niche. If a brand moves from a 3-star hotel to a 5-star category, it will change not only the quality but also competitors. This means that the average indicator will also grow.

4. Scandalous

People love scandals more than bans. Therefore, gossip is so actively read and the hype is caught.

The problem is that it is difficult to create a scandal in a business context. There is a risk that the content will remain heard, and the brand that created it will not be remembered in a positive or negative context. Therefore, focus not on the hype but on these two principles:

  1. Scandalous content is directly related to the brand.
  2. Scandalous content should promote what you do.

5. Hilarious

Just like scandals, users can easily and quickly distribute funny videos and pictures. But just like scandals, jokes are remembered on their own, without any connection to the brand. To avoid this, make your brand the protagonist of your content.

6. Secret

By creating secrets, you hit two targets at once:

  1. Users wonder what is hidden.
  2. They also wonder what is already known from the secret.

In addition, when a person finds out a secret, they are not able to keep it. Typically, they immediately want to tell someone. This is how rumors are created.

The most common example of secret content is backstages. Brands show behind the scenes: how they work, but they do not do it 100%. It is necessary to leave space for imagination and new secrets. It will work a lot better this way.

Another example is creating intrigue about a new product. Only a select few are told about the launch. These users are those who are subscribed to the email newsletter or subscribers in only one social network. Users feel more influential and want to share information with others.

How to Create Buzz Marketing: Strategies and Examples

Buzz marketing is about more than just coming up with something catchy. For content to really excite the audience, you need to understand what they want and give them the opportunity to speak for themselves.

You can push it to spread rumors through communication on forums and in social networks. Thanks to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, every brand can now have a place to share their opinions. Clorox realized how useful this is back in 2012. It launched the Clorox Lounge website with a forum and polls. Remarkably, you can now visit the Clorox Facebook group here.

Buzz marketing makes every brand user or ad viewer a marketer. Therefore, specialists in this approach are trying to immediately influence a large audience in order to launch a powerful wave of rumors. This can be done in five main ways.

Online campaign

Online advertising campaigns are mainly carried out on social media. To effectively spread rumors by the time buzz words marketing is launched, the brand’s social media pages must have an impressive number of subscribers.

A simple way to use online exposure is to post something that triggers strong emotions. For example, ThaiLife, an insurance company from Thailand, posted an inspiring video ad on YouTube about a guy doing good for without expecting anything in return. The video was released in 2014, but admiring comments are still posted today.

A more difficult option is marathons and challenges among social media users. The company can join an existing call. This was done by the Vineyard Vines clothing brand. Its mascot took part in the 2019 #bottlecapchallenge, where you need to knock off a bottle cap with your foot. The video was posted with the corresponding hashtag on TikTok.

Offline campaign

This is an older, but well-known and proven method of buzz marketing than an online campaign. The impact can be carried out using:

  1. Offline brand-sponsored event
  2. Customer service (customer support, feedback, etc.)
  3. Offline marathon
  4. Offline advertising

The list can be continued, the main thing is that the impact evokes strong emotions. For example, Tinder, before it became popular, was promoted just offline. At the start of the app’s launch, the head of marketing threw a party at American University and invited all users to install a new app. By morning, Tinder was loaded by the entire campus.

The brand tried the method several more times at other universities and quickly expanded its audience to 15,000 users.

Links with influencers

Influencers are people (often celebrities or bloggers) who have a broad audience and have a lot of influence over it. The criteria for who can be an influencer is constantly changing.

For example, the standard celebrities, such as actors and musicians, were initially influential. With the spread of social networks, bloggers have replaced them. They talked more about themselves and therefore were closer to the people.

Now the trend is for micro-bloggers with 10,000 to 100,000 subscribers to have greater influence (albeit on a smaller audience). Millions are less trusted, so brands go to less promoted accounts.

In the case of buzz marketing, they don’t just order advertising from an influencer but come up with a strategy with the involvement. For example, a blogger regularly mentions a brand in a story but does not link to it or focus attention on the brand. If everything is done correctly, after a while, subscribers will begin to wonder if the blogger really loves this brand so much.

Mercedes Benz successfully uses connections with influencers. They did this in a simple but effective way by inviting a blogger to advertise for them. This was not just any blogger. It was a dog. The main character of the video is Loki the Wolfdog, who has 2 million followers on Instagram.

The most popular comment under the post is, “I will buy a Mercedes because of you, Loki.”


Create demand

Increasing demand is a common global challenge for any brand, but limited editions help grab attention one-time and can remain a household name.

Exclusivity always attracts users because it makes it possible to feel chosen. Brands that make high-end products like Vertu take advantage of this all the time. 

However, companies that cover the mass market can also use this method. This is often timed to coincide with a date. For example, the Technics brand is going to release a limited edition Technics SL-1210GAE turntable for its 55th anniversary.

And food companies often attract attention by selling exclusive flavors such as chips or chocolate bars.

Spreading rumors

Buzz marketing can be a useful tool to fight competition. After all, you can spread both good rumors about your own brand and bad rumors about someone else’s. It especially works to your advantage if the information is true.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to provide a good example because well-run rumors about a competitor should not lead directly to your brand. Therefore, the main condition should impact a direct competitor. For example, if there are rumors of poor service at KFC, its customers will go to McDonald’s.

How to Use Buzz Marketing Strategies Effectively

Use these tips to effectively promote your brand with Buzz Marketing strategies:

  1. Live up to expectations. If you spread a rumor about a new product, you have to release it. If they say that your cafe has a nice atmosphere, it should be true. You should do better than what your customers expect and never worse. If their expectations match reality, you will gain trust.
  2. Combine buzz marketing strategies with other types of marketing. They work best in conjunction with viral methods. However, any other means of promotion, such as advertising or referral links, will amplify the effect of rumors.
  3. Track campaign results. You can use online monitoring tools: measure social media coverage, mentions in comments and posts, etc.
  4. Change strategies if you are not satisfied with the campaign results. Rumors are very flexible and easily mutable. This clearly demonstrates the flawed phone principle.
  5. Use familiar tactics such as offering something for free. This feature has been around for many years, but it is still relevant. There is no reason to think that this will change in the future.

Three more landmarks to help you are communication, simplified interaction, and naturalness. Rumors are something that users create and disseminate themselves. Therefore, they are natural.

When a brand strives for naturalness, they start talking about it. Communication and simple interaction should become the basis for a buzz.

About author
Viktoriia Pushkina is a writer with 5+ years of experience in the field. She started in 2014 as a copywriter and now works as a content and blog writer and freelance journalist. She specializes in writing about SEO, technologies, culture and society.