New research reveals eight out of ten Canadians can easily become vocal
detractors of products and services
TORONTO, May 11 /CNW/ - The research is in and the message from Canadian
shoppers is clear - Hell hath no fury like a consumer
scorned. According to the COLLOQUY Word of Mouth (WOM) study of 2,960
Canadian shoppers, bad news about bad brand experiences travels fast —
even faster among Canadians than Americans, in fact. More than eight in
ten (84 per cent) Canadian consumers say they advise family or friends
about a bad experience with a product or service, compared with three
quarters of American consumers who do the same. Comparatively, just
six in ten Canadian consumers say they recommend products or services
"The best managed brands know exactly who their advocates are, and
they're usually found in the membership rolls of a loyalty program,"
said COLLOQUY Managing Partner Kelly Hlavinka. "But this study shows
that advocates can just as easily become "madvocates" if their
experience with a brand turns sour. Like a guard dog, these advocates
are loyal until the owner gets careless, and then they bite."
Advocates and Madvocates
According to COLLOQUY's study, consumers can be broken into three
categories or mind-sets:
Three in ten (31 per cent) are word of mouth super-Advocates, or "WOM
Champions," who intend to recommend their favourite brands.
Almost one quarter (24 per cent) are described by COLLOQUY as
"Madvocates," who are predisposed to engage in negative word of mouth
practices after suffering a bad experience.
Fortunately, "Pure Madvocates" — consumers who say they will never be
advocates and are oriented to negative word of mouth only - are a rare
breed, making up just seven per cent of the general population.
The Loudest Voices
Canadian women are the most likely to be word of mouth champions (47 per
cent); and twice as likely to advocate as "madvocate" (22 per cent).
Almost half (44 per cent) of all affluent consumers earning $125,000 are
word of mouth Champions, but an almost equal portion (38 per cent) are
The Loyalty Effect
In 2011, word of mouth Champions made up 31 per cent of the Canadian
general population. This group is especially important to the marketers
looking to arm themselves against the large proportion of the Canadian
population prone to sharing their negative experiences. Marketers
trying to locate these brand Champions should look no further than
their own loyalty database. WOM Champions make up a third of total
reward members, and only account for 18 per cent of those not
participating in any program. In essence, there are almost double the
Champions within reward programs members then there are among
"Loyalty marketers must accept the responsibility for the impact their
programs can have on generating both positive and negative word of
mouth," said Hlavinka. "The best defence against negative
conversations about your brand is a good offence - engage and empower
the Champions within your own rewards programs"
The Buzz on Social Media
COLLOQUY's study also focused on how Champions differed in their
communications methods from less engaged consumers, as well as
Madvocates, by examining loyalty programs members. The following trends
For both general members and Champions, there is a lot of staying power
in "old school" methods — with face-to-face communications, phone calls
and email topping the list of communication methods used by reward
However, the study also showed that Champions are much more engaged than
regular consumers when it comes to "new school" methods, which include
social networking communities, mobile messaging, and product review
sites. Overall, Champions are 50-100 per cent more engaged across these
platforms than other non-Champion members, making their involvement in
a word-of-mouth campaign essential to its success.
"Marketers need to know that Madvocates are just as connected across
multiple communication platforms as Champions," said Hlavinka.
"Madvocacy is an attitude possessed even by a proportion of a brand's
best customers. So, while you have a highly connected group of
Champions engaged in word-of-mouth, you also have those ready, willing
and able to discuss negative experiences within your program."
Advice for Marketers
Find the word of mouth Champions and treat them well. Your Champions are also your potential Madvocates.
Don't abandon traditional communications. While social media platforms are popular, email and good old phone calls
and conversations top the list for brand discussions.
Concentrate on delivering on your brand promise. Please customers with excellent products and a rewarding experience and
they'll talk about you - in their channel of choice.
Don't discard the Madvocates. They have the energy and inclination to tell positive stories if
Build community forums. Build a single, authoritative go-to place where customers can talk
about your brand.
About the COLLOQUY Word of Mouth study:
COLLOQUY is a provider of loyalty marketing publishing, education and
research and is owned by Toronto-based LoyaltyOne. COLLOQUY's WOM
survey, featuring completed responses from 2,960 Canadian consumers
nationwide, was conducted in December 2010. A white paper presenting
the complete results of the study, as well as additional tips, is
available free of charge at: www.colloquy.com/canadianWOM. COLLOQUY previously published a 2009 study titled The New Champion Customers: Measuring Word-of-Mouth Activity Among
Reward Program Members.
COLLOQUY comprises a collection of publishing, education and research
resources devoted to the global loyalty-marketing industry. Owned by
LoyaltyOne, COLLOQUY has served the loyalty-marketing industry since
1990 with over 40,000 global subscribers to its magazine and www.colloquy.com the most comprehensive loyalty web site in the world. COLLOQUY's
research division develops research studies and white papers including
industry-specific reports, sizing studies and insights into the drivers
of consumer behavior. COLLOQUY also provides educational services
through workshops, webinars and speeches at events throughout the world
and is a loyalty-marketing partner of both the Direct Marketing
Association and the Canadian Marketing Association and a content
provider to the American Marketing Association. COLLOQUY also operates
the COLLOQUY Network, a global consortium of practitioners certified in
COLLOQUY's proprietary methodology. COLLOQUY magazine subscriptions
are available at no cost to qualified persons at www.colloquy.com or by calling 513.248.9184.
For further information:
or to arrange an interview:
Amy Greenshields or Sebastian Gatica