Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

8 Ways Companies Earned My Word-of-Mouth: A Consumer’s Perspective

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post that’s focused on representing a consumer’s perspective (i.e; not a marketing professional’s).

Word-of-mouth marketing is all the rage these days, with professionals spending hours and dollars, trying to figure out how to get people to talk about their company.

Well, I’m no professional, but I have done my fair share of spreading the word, and I’m here to share with you why I did.

1: Game of Thrones – If everyone is talking about you, I will too



I don’t even know what those are. I just know that everyone is talking about them, and they’re apparently all the rage with everyone who watches Game of Thrones. Which I don’t.

But they seem to affect the fans so much that they can’t shut up about it, and now I want to start watching the show myself, just to know why it’s such a big deal.

That’s how it works I guess. I hear everyone talking about the same thing, and I get curious. I want to find out more, and even when I haven’t, I want to talk about it to people, so I look like I know about the current in-thing.

So basically, word-of-mouth generates more word-of-mouth.

Game of Thrones got its word-of-mouth around it by being super relevant and interesting , but another way is to just ask people to talk about you.

2: BeeSweet Lemonade – If you appeal to your community, they’ll spread the word for you


BeeSweet Lemonade was founded by Mikaila Ulmer when she was just 4. She would sell out at every fair she brought her lemonade to, and donated some of her profits to saving the honeybees.

Now 10, Mikaila is a successful entrepreneur and educator. Her lemonade is being stocked by Whole Foods and multiple restaurants.

Mikaila is the very picture of #blackexcellence, and because of this, she receives much support from the black community.

And while I am not a black woman, I am from a minority race — and I can understand wanting to lift your own disenfranchised community up.

I have paid a steep-ish price for notebooks just because I know I’m supporting a local business, AND, a business owned by someone from my own community.

Then I went and told everyone about them, just because I wanted to see them do well.

It just is the way of things. Feminists want to support women-owned businesses. Black-owned businesses receive great support from the Black community. People from the LGBT community help out businesses owned by LGBT members. Geographically too, people want to support local products rather than imports.

It feels great to help someone from your community prove the haters wrong.

3: Uber – I got $10 credit from a friend’s link on Facebook and even more from referring more friends


I started using Uber when I saw a friend post his referral code on Facebook, just when I needed a cab. It promised that I would get $10 credited into my account if I signed up.

A free cab ride, just like that.

I signed up on the spot, got my Uber, and went on my way. And true enough, there were no gimmicks or catches. The $10 was usable.

It did exactly what it said it would do, and I was grateful. I went to look for my referral code, and immediately blasted it out to everyone I knew.

Why not? I knew everyone would be getting a free ride, and for every referral I made, I got another $10 credited to me. There was literally nothing to lose and everything to gain, something no one else was offering.

4: Old Spice – Dare to be crazy different and entertaining, and I’ll talk about you


I can’t forget the first time I watched an Old Spice ad.

The entire time, I was just frowning, going, “What? What is happening? How did he do that?” I went on to watch all their ads on YouTube, and shared all my favorites with friends– both on social media and when I saw them in real life.

It got to the point where if someone hadn’t seen it, we would rush to show them this strange soap commercial.

Soap! That had somehow made itself so outrageous that it couldn’t be ignored, simply by exaggerating their selling premise.

5: Petronas – Gave me good feelings that I wanted to share with others

Petronas, a Malaysian oil and gas company, has managed to worm its way into the hearts of millions around the region.

Before any major holiday, the company releases an ad that takes the form of a short film about human interaction that has a simple, but heart-wrenching twist that reminds us how important it is for us to stick together.

Every year the story is different, but the message is the same. Cohesiveness. That’s what makes us work. As people, as friends.

The ads always touch me in the most human way possible. I can’t remember a time where I watched one of these films and didn’t end up bawling.

Whenever they’re made available, I find myself wanting to share it with as many people as possible. Just so they too can feel what I’m feeling.

6: Tinder – If you’re the only one who does what you do, I’ll talk about you

Wolfe at the Headquarters, before she was removed as co-founder.

I started using Tinder after a particularly nasty breakup, but not for the reason one would expect. I wasn’t looking for love again, I just wanted to be able to judge men the same way they judge women. Superficially and based entirely on presentation.

I cannot express to you the vindication I felt swiping left on men I had deemed unworthy. I imagined that was what it felt like to be a man who would judge the bangability of a woman who happened to be passing by.

And it was the only dating app that allowed you to do that. The others were dedicated to helping you find your match. You could decide if you were interested or not, but nothing quite like the instant gratification of shoving someone aside with the swipe of a finger.

I had a few girlfriends who were frustrated with men at the time too. I told them about how great it felt, and we all ended up on the app.

7: Dropbox – If you’re known as the best at what you do, I’ll talk about you

The canonical example of a dual-sided-incentive referral program.

Cloud storage is in now, because everybody needs a backup of their work safe somewhere. And honestly, I don’t know one person who doesn’t use Dropbox for that. Their name is synonymous with cloud storage, and for good reason.

It’s the only cloud storage service that works on any operating system, including the strange Linux and Blackberry.

Which means I can have a desktop running on Linux, a MacBook, and an Android phone, and they can all access the same files on Dropbox. How cool is that?

So it may not be the only cloud storage service, but its ease of access makes it the best.

When my old laptop crashed, and I bought a MacBook to replace it, all my work was still accessible. When I couldn’t upload videos from my Samsung phone straight to my iMac at school, Dropbox came to save the day.

It’s done so much for me, and I make sure to let people know, if they aren’t already using it.

There was actually a mass sign up in my university, when they were having the Space Race, because who doesn’t want 25GB extra? Which brings me to the last company…

8: Groupon – Make it more lucrative for me to share, and I’ll spread the word


I’m sure you’ve heard of Groupon. How it works is pretty simple:

Bulk buying gets you discounts. So if there’s an offer available, and enough people express interest to buy it, the deal is on and the discount happens for everyone.

If I want something from Groupon to happen for me, and it doesn’t seem like it will on its own, you bet I’m gonna help it along. I’ll tell everyone on social media, ask close friends to buy it with me, and spread the word till it reaches enough people.

And honestly, it’s not that much work. If you’re offering value for money, lips will start flapping, because everyone wants to help themselves, and help each other out.


Read next: The Jonah Berger Word-of-Mouth Pyschology Cheat Sheet (With Free Printable Poster!)

Tysha Khan

Tysha Khan

Although completely uninked and barely pierced, Tysha carries a deep interest and knowledge of the human body and the many ways to modify it. Unable to do so, she dyes her own hair instead. Tysha is also a published poet and enjoys putting things into words.

1 comment

  • Nice first post, Tysha!

    I’d love to open up point #1 a little bit– you wrote “Game of Thrones got its word-of-mouth around it by being super relevant and interesting, but another way is to just ask people to talk about you.”

    There’s almost definitely lots of nuance here to explore. Loads of entrepreneurs try their best to ask everyone they know to talk about them, and find (to their chagrin and frustration) that nobody does. Because they simply hadn’t built something worth talking about. Harsh, but through.

    I haven’t started watching Game Of Thrones either, but I did some asking around. Some people were into it because it was pitched (oversimplistically) as “Lord of the Rings, but as a TV serial”. And of course there’s all the sex and violence and gore, and the betrayals and backstabbings and frontstabbings.

    So I would say Game Of Thrones is an example of word-of-mouth earned through great positioning– it came about at the right time, with the right sort of thing that people were interested in and wanted to talk about. “You won’t believe this crazy new show on HBO…”