3 Ways to Increase Peer-to-Peer Referrals For Your Brand

On average, word-of-mouth drives $6 trillion in annual global spending.
This stat from SEMrush tells you why peer-to-peer referrals can be a huge boost for your brand. While advertising, organic social media, and public relations are very effective, the opinions of our friends and family reign supreme.  

How can you leverage word-of-mouth awareness? 
In a nutshell, deliver an experience or message that inspires consumers to amplify your brand. That could be accomplished via a campaign that aligns with their personal beliefs or by providing value beyond your usual product and service. 

Those may sound like lofty goals. But you can use these three key tactics to drive referrals and increase organic word-of-mouth awareness.uncovered some key takeaways around Gen Z’s online expectations:

1. Product Sampling Programs 
42% of consumers have switched their brand preference after trying a free product sample. That’s a pretty compelling stat. But more importantly, product sampling goes a long way in creating brand advocates.

ITK conducted a deodorant/hygiene sampling campaign for Unilever, and the results were even more compelling. 76% of participating parents reported they were likely to recommend Unilever deodorant products to friends or family.

Why is that so important? Because this recommendation is not coming from a paid employee standing in a retail setting. It’s now shared peer-to-peer; a trusted source sharing a tip based on their own experience, presented by someone who has no vested interest in said brand. That carries a lot more weight and is much more likely to change shopping habits.

2. Education Marketing 
Brands investing in educational materials is not a new phenomenon. But these tactics are becoming more nuanced. Previous generations took advertising at face value. They assumed companies were providing straight facts and value propositions were good as gospel.

In today’s landscape, it’s much harder to build that same level of trust with consumers. Educational content that provides relevant facts and truly benefits people is a good way to rebuild those relationships. While creating brand advocates along the way.

We worked with Neutrogena on a campaign that promoted sun safety and awareness. Before viewing the “In The Sun” documentary, only 30% of students indicated they encouraged family and friends to wear sunscreen. Afterwards, 67% of students were more likely to encourage family and friends to wear sunscreen regularly. 

That’s a huge swing in behavior, all tied back to a brand that provided objective facts and sought to keep kids and their families safe. Adding this kind of value to their lives makes them much more likely to reach for a Neutrogena bottle. Just as importantly, they’ll tell others to do the same. 

3. Cause Marketing 
The causes people believe in go a long way in shaping their identities. This is especially true for all-important audiences like Millennials and Gen Zers. These groups invest in causes like racial equity, environmentalism, and inclusivity on a daily basis. While this spending can be directed towards non-profits and political organizations, they also put brands under the microscope. 

For instance, 68% of Gen Z survey respondents said they expect brands to contribute to society in some way. They’re much more likely to invest in brands that support the same causes they do. 

But these causes do more than generate one-off consumers. Brands that use cause marketing to advocate for social issues are more likely to be rewarded with word-of-mouth awareness. This phenomenon has been proven out by multiple blue-chip companies, from Ben and Jerry’s to Patagonia, that have taken social issues to heart.

What approach will you take to build word-of-mouth referrals? 
All of the tactics above are effective ways to drive word-of-mouth awareness for your brand. Consider which tactics align with your campaign to get more life out of a current concept or make a logical next step. You’d be surprised how many activities are a natural segue to product sampling, educational marketing, or cause marketing.

But you don’t have to stop there. When you layer these tactics together, you create a holistic experience that further amplifies peer-to-peer recommendations. For instance, you can pair product samples with branded educational content. This reinforces the fact that your brand is committed to providing value to everyday people and investing in their wellbeing.

We're here to help you get started. 
ITK Collective has spent decades generating word-of-mouth referrals by building a network of community-based influencers in grassroots settings. We’ve helped both challenger brands and established companies use these tools and channels to build momentum via word-of-mouth awareness. Get in touch to see how we can do the same for you.



ITK Collective            Charleston, SC 29403 
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