5 times word-of-mouth worked for a brand

If there’s something strongly twined in our DNA as human beings it’s herd behaviour. We love to belong and that’s a natural psychological need. It’s why we form associations and clubs. Word-of-mouth marketing, whether offline or online, works for that single reason.

Here’s what might surprise you. Big brands such as Facebook became a billion dollar company as a result of word-of-mouth marketing.

The easiest way to get people talking about your brand is to create a product that is unique from what others bring to the market, as seen from each brand that we’ll discuss below.

In this post, we draw examples from brands that have tried out word-of-mouth marketing and transformed their businesses.

Under Armour

Under Armour is an American sports brand that was founded by football player Kelvin Plank. 

The brand was borne out of Kelvin’s own frustration with cotton undershirts that were uncomfortable when he sweated. Plank came up with a shirt that was always dry even after heavy sweating. His first step was to send the shirts to football players who loved them and would spread the word by wearing the brand often. 

Today Under Armour competes with well-known brands such as Nike and Adidas, and is valued at over $1B.


Before Facebook, there was one platform that was similar to it – Myspace. The only difference was Facebook needed a user to have a valid Ivy league email. Its principal objective was to connect Harvard students with each other. 

Within 24 hours of launch, 1000 people around campus had signed up and they’d spread the word, which obviously piqued others’ interest to this new “strange” site.

With time, more people were allowed to join and today Facebook has over 2 billion users. 


If there’s one company that lives by what it says, it’s Lush cosmetics. It prides itself as being a brand that makes handmade, vegetarian, and cruelty-free products.

Their unique selling proposition is their ethical values. Rarely will you spot Lush in the news for using harmful ingredients or animal testing. 

Who wouldn’t want to refer a friend to a brand that truly cares about the environment?

Lush uses this USP at the core of its marketing campaigns, giving prospective customers a sneak peek into how they make their products using natural ingredients – such as this YouTube video. This, in turn, sparks more word-of-mouth conversations and true customer advocacy. 


Costco stands as one of the largest online retailers operating a chain of member-only big-box stores.

While it’s easy to argue that they have a great number of customers because of the crazy deals they offer, on the flip side Costco invests heavily in word-of-mouth marketing strategies that seem obvious but not used by other companies. 

Martin Ross, Senior Marketing Director, mentions that one of the strategies that they use is offering unexpected surprises and giving a customer a sense of treasure hunt.

This, in turn, gives customers something to talk about, which sparks positive word-of-mouth marketing for the brand.


Zappos is an online clothes and shoe retailer, founded in 1999 and later acquired by Amazon.

Over the years, it has grown in revenue and is currently estimated at $612.4m.

Zappos’ success isn’t attributed to advertising, but word-of-mouth marketing.

What’s their secret?

Top notch customer service.

A great example is when they heard that one of their customers got a damaged foot after a medical treatment and decided to send lilies and roses.

Another story was when a customer found a shoe out of stock and one of the reps decided to buy the shoe from a physical store and deliver it without any charges.

Such little acts might seem like no big deal but they mean a lot to a customer.

Onboarding your word-of-mouth marketing strategy

Word-of-mouth marketing could work wonders for your ecommerce store just like for the brands mentioned. 

The one thing each of these brands have in common is they all stand out, whether it’s their brand values or customer service.

The powerful piece comes when marketers can really target the great offline word-of-mouth that they’re creating.

By targeting your ad spend to where people are already talking positively about your brand, you can expect an uplift in returns of 150% year-on-year. 

Contact us to find out more.

Friends in conversation | Herdify

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Ignite your brand power: Why your offline community is the real influencer

“Social communities grow more powerfully offline, yet most marketing tactics tap into the online element. 92% of word-of-mouth – the single biggest influence on consumer buying behaviour – happens offline."

~ Ed Barter, Lead data scientist at Herdify

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