October 2013

“The Passion Conversation” Podcast “with” John Moore

By | 2013-10-24T19:50:43+00:00 25 October 2013|Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , , , |

Passion_ConversationToday is the day John Moore, author of The Passion Conversation, was supposed to record an audio podcast for Idea Sandbox.

After going back and forth on timing we finally booked an hour to talk. But, John couldn’t “make the call.” When I called his office at Brains on Fire, they said he was out at some beer place.

After some ANGRY conversation our plan to talk about The Passion Conversation fell apart.

But, I promised you – visitors to Idea Sandbox – an interview. So, from our interview notes, I was able to simulate our interview.

[link to audio]

Transcript from Interview

opening music

Paul: Hello, welcome to Idea Sandbox. This is Paul Williams and we are here today to speak with John Moore about his book

John: Well, thank you Paul. It is great to be with you at Idea Sandbox today to talk about our new book “The Passion Conversation.”

Paul: So, let’s jump in with the questions, shall we?

John: Great!

Question 1:


What if a company offers a product that people don’t want to tell others about? A product that does not lend itself to word of mouth?

Preparation H users aren’t posting about the cooling effects in their Twitter feeds.


Yes, products used behind closed doors for very personal reasons are more difficult to spark word of mouth. In the book we share academic research that explains how more visible products, like a can of Red Bull or a Whole Foods Market shopping bag, lend themselves to be talked about because they are highly visible.

While privately used products, like toilet paper or Preparation H, aren’t talked about as much because you’d never use those products in a socially visible setting.

That said, it doesn’t mean word of mouth can’t be sparked for toilet paper or Preparation H.

My advice is to play the humor card because anytime a brand can trigger a strong emotion such as laughter, then word of mouth is easier to happen.

The marketing for One Wipe Charlies from the folks at Dollar Shave Club, plays the humor card to perfection and thus, their “buttwipes” (er, toilet paper) are word of mouth worthy.

For Preparation H, I’d definitely play the humor card to spark word of mouth. For example, Preparation H could run a marketing campaign asking people to tell them “how cool” Preparation H makes them feel. I can envision a whole campaign with people chiming in with something like… “Preparation H makes me feel cooler than the other side of a pillow.”

Question 2:


Thanks, great answer. So, I was also wondering about…

[interruption by unexpected visitor, you’ll have to listen to the podcast…]


John, you write in the book about how you can’t pick who will love you. That we’ve got to be really realistic on who are customers are, versus who you want them to be. Could you tell us more?


Absolutely, Paul. I once worked on a project with Brains on Fire where the CMO of a very large brand chose a specific customer target he wanted to reach.

He wanted to target a very glamorous and sexy audience to evangelize his company’s products, because that’s who he thought were his best customers.

However, his products were sold at downscale retailers and the most enthusiastic customers of this brand we found were not near as glamorous and sexy as the CMO had thought. The customer ambassador program we designed for this brand never took off because the CMO had a different idea of whom the target customer is. Brains on Fire resigned from the account because this CMO failed to be realistic for who his customers truly are.

Question 3:


John, can you please elaborate on the idea of products having a “soul.” A soul for a product is an interesting idea.

You mention that on page 25. But, I also have a second request.

Will you also please use the words “consortium” and “palette” somewhere in your answer?


Hmmm…. okay… let me see what I can do.

Products that are much more than merely palatable have a seemingly broad combination, or consortium, of attributes that lends itself to making people feel better about themselves. The other day at Brains on Fire, Geno Church went around our offices sharing with us how much he enjoys using Ursa Major’s face tonic. Clearly, using this product makes Geno feel better and the ladies here would chime in that his skin looks more supple than ever.

Question 4:


On page 143 you have an exercise that helps companies assess if they went away – meaning went out of business – would they be missed?

You write that if the answer is you would NOT be missed, that you have some work to do. What do you mean? What should a company do or think about to fix that? How does a company get themselves in a place to be missed?


I recommend you re-read pages 1 through 142 of The Passion Conversation. Seriously.

[Paul begins reading the book]


Wait. Not right now.

Question 5:


In your bio summary on the flap of the book you mentioned loving musical tracks that are – and I quote – “on the one.” What does that mean, John?


I’ll let Bootsy Collins answer that question on my behalf…

[shoot, sorry… again… you’ll have to listen for this information, at 5 minute 3 second mark]


Thank you, Bootsy. Back to you, John.

Question 6:


What question do you wish someone asked you about the book that you have a smart answer for?

It’s not a question but rather a person I wish people would ask me about. As we were writing the book we came across Ernest Dichter, an Austrian-born psychologist who spent a lifetime studying human motivations and applying it to marketing brands.

Dichter wrote an absolutely spot-on article for the Harvard Business Review in 1966 titled, “How Word-of-Mouth Advertising Works.” The gist of the article says that when consumers feel as though the advertising speaks them as a friend, then word of mouth recommendations are more likely to be shared. That’s a super-simplistic take on the article. I broke down the article in a long blog post that’s worth reading if you’re intrigued enough to want to know more about Ernest Dichter’s smart thinking on word of mouth marketing.


Well that concludes this interview. If you haven’t already, pick up the book today – The Passion Conversation – at your local bookstore or online.

Thank you again for being here, John.


Thank YOU, Paul. This was a lot of fun.

closing music

Other stops in this tour included:

Check them all out!

October 2012

Global Virtual Tasting Creates Chilean Wine Brand Ambassadors

By | 2017-03-01T11:56:04+00:00 30 October 2012|Categories: grow, SandBlog|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Last Wednesday I participated in the Wines of Chile Blogger Tasting: A Chilean Terroir Master Class, a virtual tasting sponsored by Wines of Chile and organized by their agency, the thomas collective.

This genius marketing event was a two hour virtual event featuring 12 bottles of four distinct grape varietals lead by Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer live from Santiago, Chile with 12 winemakers from Chile’s most prestigious regions. With 25+ wine writers and bloggers online and a few in person in Santiago with the group, a word of mouth fleet was created that evening.

Many virtual tastings are done regularly, but this one was different than others I’ve participated in. Here’s why…

The Planning

Over a month in advance, the agency reached out for interest in participating. Then a few weeks out, a thorough kit arrived with all the tools we needed. The week prior to the event, we received a detailed instruction email on how to participate and to ensure we received our kits. Keys to success!

The Tools

An incredible toolkit arrived at our door a week in advance…a full case of Chilean wine! Who doesn’t love to receive that in the mail!

It wasn’t just a box of wine. It was a surprise when you opened it…designed just for us…the Live from Santiago Terroir Master Class kit. Twelve bottles of wine nicely packed, and a kit for the evening with tasting sheets for each round of the four tastings and a one pager on each wine.

The Event

Most virtual tastings are simply a gathering on Twitter. This one was held on Adobe Connect with video…thus the LIVE from Santiago. In addition to the Master Sommelier lead, they had ALL 12 winemakers in attendance to speak to their wine. Thus two hours was needed. Those who read the pre-instructions were all ready to participate with wines chilled, glasses, tasting sheets, etc…

The set up in Santiago was very cool. From a hotel with a tasting bar, host Fred sat on one side and invited each the winemakers up in groups of three during their wine round…Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Fred introduced each wine and the winemaker shared with us the tasting of the wine, details about it and specifics about their winery and region. We followed along via our tasting sheet, the video, the spec sheet and chatting with other participants.

Having done the tasting solo, I was left with LOTS of wine to share with friends. Word of mouth at work, I gave a friend 4 bottles to share with her friends. Then I went to a friends’ house for dinner the next evening and shared all remaining 8 bottles with 6 more friends. That’s lots of additional exposure and tasting ambassadors.

Cheers to Wines of Chile and the thomas collective for creating a best in class virtual marketing event.

Have you hosted or participated in any best in class virtual events?


October 2010

February 2010

Debunking Word Of Mouth, (and Social Media) Bunk

By | 2017-03-01T11:56:17+00:00 1 February 2010|Categories: grow, SandBlog|Tags: , , , , , , , , |

John Moore (from Brand Autopsy) and I were invited to talk with Jay Ehret of The Marketing Spot. As part of his work to help small businesses, Jay asked John and I questions surrounding all the hubbub regarding Word of Mouth (WOM) and Social Media.


You’ll find some helpful stuff. John is the WOM expert who speaks and writes for the official Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA).

Oh, and I toss a few ideas in there as well…

Here’s the podcast audio link:

Power To the Small Business #48
“Debunking Word-of-Mouth Bunk”

Getting “word of mouth” simply means your brand, company, products/services are worth talking about… that you’re worth remarking about… that you’re literally remarkable.

And, creating word of mouth means doing things that make you remarkable, make you different than the competition.

You should also check out the series of articles I wrote on how to be different. The lessons from these great writers will help you be remarkable and create word of mouth.

Thank you Jay for asking for my thoughts!

Finally, in preparation for the interview I prepared notes. I’ll share those thoughts this week in a series of articles. I welcome you to stop by tomorrow.

October 2006

Brains on Fire: On Being Remarkable

By | 2017-03-01T11:57:33+00:00 14 October 2006|Categories: create, grow, SandBlog, solve, think|Tags: , , , |

A friend of mine, Virginia Miracle (great name, huh?) is the Director of Word of Mouth (great title, huh?) at Brains on Fire – a naming and identity company based in Greenville, SC. They “help companies build and sustain excitement about who they are and why they are here.

The image below from their site – it’s about Virginia… Each team member (including Mud the dog) at the company has a little figure which represents them… click on it and it displays a short biography.


Additionally, the folks there have the coolest job titles… To name a few… Word of Mouth Guru, Designer Craftsman, Keeper of the Cash, Curiosity Officer, Firestarter, Fixer of Graphic Conundrums, First Impression, and Whipcracker…

They believe that companies should be “…relentlessly seeking ways to fascinate, inspire, reward and engage their customers and stakeholders…”

Basically the art of being remarkable.

Below are their core beliefs (from their website)…

The Fire

(Fire is their acronym for fascinate, inspire, reward and energize).

Are you celebrated for being Fascinating?

  • Known for powerful imagery?
  • Igniting curiosity?
  • Identity supported with stories of remarkable courage, imagination and dedication?

Are you adored for being Inspiring?

  • A magnet for kindred spirits?
  • Stimulate energy, excitement and ideas?
  • Revered in your industry for your commitment to heighten and intensify?

Admired for being Rewarding?

  • Committed to growing the value of your people?
  • Are you distinguished for your surprising displays of appreciation?
  • Do people always come away feeling they have gained something – even if it’s just a reason to smile?

Are you respected for being Engaged?

  • Are you known for actively inviting new ideas?
  • Are you humbled by the loyalty of your customers and employees?
  • Are you recognized as having a culture around understanding what truly matters to people?

If you’re company isn’t these things, why not? If you need help… I’m sure Brains of Fire will be glad to help!