"There's no liquid anywhere in the vehicle, except for the fluid for the windshield wipers."
That's what a friend told me and my sisters while her husband was off taking my dad and a few others for a ride in their new Tesla.
A few hours later, I talked to my Dad, and he said, "there's no liquid anywhere in the vehicle, except for the fluid for the windshield wipers." The same comment verbatim. He must have gotten that line while he was riding around the block.
I have to admit, my knowledge of Tesla is pretty limited. I know Elon Musk heads the company, they make electric cars, they aren't sold in traditional dealerships, and the company isn't yet profitable.
But after a brief encounter with these friends, I've got one interesting tidbit ingrained into my head that kind of makes me want to learn more. I'm not even sure if the phrase is true or not. I couldn't confirm it on the Tesla website or the forums, but it doesn't matter.
The impact of the Tesla evangelism by my friends has already been felt. There's very little fluid, and I'm enamored by the sleek design and capabilities of the car.
Word of mouth is a powerful strategy to grow your business. And what happened with this friend sharing the excitement about their new Tesla proves it. They've become evangelists for the product, as they've shared important information about it with others in their circle.
Most businesses would love word-of-mouth promotion, but one research study showed that 99 percent of brands don't have one. They leave reaping the benefits of such an important strategy up to chance.
The good news is you don't have to be Elon Musk to build the kind of brand that gets your customers talking. Follow these two steps to get started getting your customers evangelizing about your brand.
1. Give your customers something to be excited about.
People talk about what's remarkable. If it's been done before or is just a slight variation of something that already exists, you will have a difficult time getting your customers to want to talk about it.
But when you produce products, services, and experiences that are remarkable in their own right, it compels your customers to tell others.
If your existing product offering isn't noteworthy on its own, think about how you can add experiences to even the most mundane aspects of your customers' journey, that will shock your customers out of the norm.
The W Hotel in Westwood put cameras in the elevators that snap photos of you and post them on the wall in real time during the rides up and down. Every time I got in the elevator, I had my own personal photo shoot.
The Sprinkles Bakery introduced a 24-hour cupcake machine to make the process of buying cupcakes a noteworthy one.
And when Nike launched a new running shoe, they create a cool pop-up house in select cities to demonstrate in a fun way the important attributes of the shoe. The pop-up house became a weekend destination that attracted many visitors who may not have been initially interested in running.
There are an unlimited number of ways in which you can deliver experiences that will get your customers talking.
2. Give them a clear sound bite.
Once you've got your customers' attention, a cool way to influence the power of the message they spread about your brand is to give them clear sound bites that they can share.
These sound bites can be as simple as fascinating facts about your product that are noteworthy, like the liquids in the Tesla. Or it could even be by putting out information about your processes or other elements of your company culture that are remarkable.
I read a blog post about how The Ritz-Carlton empowers every team member to spend $2000 per guest per day to delight them or make a situation right. I can't tell you how many times I've repeated that nugget in different conversations with clients, on podcast interviews, and in other conversations.
Those sound bites can even be information you put on your website and tout as a mantra. I associate the phrase "one for one" with retailer Toms. I know that for every one pair of shoes bought, a pair will be donated to someone in need. That principle somehow has been ingrained into my head, because the company reinforces their connection to a cause that goes beyond their brand.
You can earn consistent word of mouth promotion, no matter what your track record in the past has been. Avoid hoping that your customers will just start to talk about your brand. Instead, focus on implementing the steps above to compel your customers to spread the word about you.