All Things WOMM
WOMMfest Recap: Nine Ways to Make Ordinary Objects Social with Zócalo Group

It was National Word of Mouth Marketing Day on Feb. 19 and to honor the day and celebrate what many of us know and love about word of mouth marketing, WOMMA put together #WOMMfest.


In Chicago, I had the opportunity to attend #WOMMfest on behalf of Zócalo Group, where the agency was a sponsor and CEO Paul M. Rand acted as emcee.

Speaker Hugh MacLeod is a cartoonist and forward thinker when it comes to word of mouth marketing. Although his thoughts are forward, they stem from perhaps the most primal of all things in that the principles relate to back to human nature in its most basic form. It all starts with what MacLeod calls “social objects.”

MacLeod describes social objects as the human connection between two people. In relation to marketing, he described it as: “the thing about your brand that is so interesting that it transcends the utilitarian function.” Many things have the potential to become social objects, and your clients will undoubtedly be thrilled when you learn to unlock the potential for your brand.

Here’s MacLeod’s list of nine principles on how to make ordinary objects social:

  1. Make Meaning: The market for people wanting something to believe in is infinite; make your products “worth it.”
  2. Create/Find a Purpose: People often confuse purpose with meaning, but the purpose relates back to the reason you get up in the morning and do what you do.
  3. Create Play: Humans innately like to play. It’s the way we first start negotiating the world, so give people a reason to want to interact with your product.
  4. Create New Language: If you want to evolve your product, you have to evolve marketing. You have to talk to people in a way they have never been talked to before.
  5. Create share-ability: Don’t make it easy for people to share your product; Make it easy for them to share THEMSELVES.
  6. Push Boundaries of Design: Design matters! It has the ability to differentiate your product.
  7. Facilitate Community: Turn your product into a place where people gather rather than a thing people buy.
  8. Create New Context: Allow people to see your brand in a new light.
  9. Enable “Meatspace”: Bring people together to facilitate discussions around your product.

MacLeod closed his keynote with perhaps the most important idea behind it all, which is: “What separates an amazing product from an ordinary product is people’s interaction around the product.”

Music to our word of mouth marketing ears!

If you like these principles, be sure to check out Hugh MacLeod’s blog at You can also follow him @gapingvoid.

Katie Kile
Senior Account Executive
Zócalo Group

This entry was posted on February 22nd, 2013
Tags: National Word Of Mouth Marketing Day, Social Objects, Wommfest, Word Of Mouth Marketing

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