UPDATE: THIS ENTRY HAS BEEN CROSS POSTED AT THE NEW BRANDSTORY BLOG WHERE I NOW WRITE. I'D BE HONORED IF YOU WOULD CLICK THROUGH AND ADD IT TO YOUR BOOKMARKS.
Over the past few years, Word of Mouth or buzz marketing has had it's share of promoters and detractors. The rise of WOM marketing has prompted the creation of buzz agencies, a professional trade organization, conferences, books (here, here, and here too), and much more.
So if you're looking for advice on how to get people talking about your brand story, there are plenty of resources.
Or you can do what Stacy's Pita Chips (part of Frito Lay) did, and just send a product sample to everyone in the United States. At least, that's what they wanted to do. But mailing chips to nearly 300 million people, well that's a little much for even this spunky little division of the snack company to bite off.
So instead, they mailed a sample pack to everyone in the country named Stacy. 133,000 people, most of whom hadn't heard of the product before. The package included the Stacy brand story and on the back of the enclosed card, said:
"We hope you enjoyed getting your free box of Stacy's Pita Chips as much as we enjoyed sending them to you. If you did, why not share the joy by sending a FREE gift box to a friend? Since we've already sent them to every Stacy, you're free to send them to Bill or Mary or Cheryl or John—or whoever you think would enjoy Stacy's chips the most."
So has it worked? It looks like it. Here are a few Stacys who are now spreading the word: here, here, here, here, and here. Think how many people have mentioned this to friends and coworkers. And how many Stacys have tried, liked, and now regularly buy Stacy's chips.
That's not all that Stacy's does to promote great customer experiences/brand stories that are easy for customers to share with others. Check out what Art Steiber at The Diff has to say about Stacy's when he wrote to complain about a half-empty bag of chips. Not content to leave him with a negative impression, they went well beyond and sent him a case of pita chips.