Godin states that Google's success rides on the fact that people feel great when they use it. When consumers and businesspeople want information, they have thousands upon thousands of sources that are spit back to them on Google. The satisfaction and amazement that this outlet created causes people to tell others about it, then those people tell other people, then those people tell other people. You get the picture - word of mouth has POWER! Google saw this and built its empire on story-telling.
Godin emphasizes that word of mouth is stirred when a product or service creates a story because it is unique. He supports his claim by giving an example about cows. Yes, cows. It even was the basis for one of his books. It goes like this:
Godin and his family were driving down a country road in France and his wife was asleep, like always, in the front seat. His two children were bickering to the brink of annoyance in the backseat, but suddenly became quiet. They were looking fixedly out the window at some cows in the pasture. There was a nice silence for "five seconds," he stated, then the kids went back to bickering. However, Godin says that if the cows would have been purple, his children would not have went back to arguing and his wife would have most definitely woken up. His family would have demanded to get out of the car, take pictures, and tell their friends about these "remarkable" purple cows.
This is how marketing works. If Google, or any company, can create a product that allows their customers to create a personal story for it, the product will find remarkable success. A story can spread like wildfire and soon one person who tells 10 people in which each of those people tells 10 people gives you a whole lot of people who know about the product. Everyone may then check out the product for themselves - free marketing for the product ALL because of the story.
So, what do purple cows and Google have to do with product placement? The key is to catch a consumer off guard. "Interrupt them," as Godin says, and product placement may do just the trick. By having a character in, say, Desperate Housewives or Grey's Anatomy driving a Ford, people may think, whoa, McDreamy drives a Ford and look at how fabulous he looks in it! This image and story stays in the back of their head and Ford could be a considerable brand in their next car purchase. More importantly, the consumer may tell another person about this story and we are back to the funneling effect of word of mouth. Eventually, someone is bound to buy that car and ka-ching! A sale! So, the key...interrupt the consumer!! Show glitzy actors or actresses in movies or TV shows eating in Subway, sipping a Starbucks coffee, using an Apple computer, or jamming on their iPod. Many stories are created in the back of a consumer's mind and who knows who could eventually hear that story? Everyone could, that's who, and then KA-CHING!!!
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