The ability to communicate is one of the oldest abilities human beings have learned. What we communicate and how many people we can communicate to has contributed to the advancement of our species. The best hunter in the tribe would usually be listened to when he mentioned that the herds will be leaving for new pastures. A 50% off shoe sale has the same effect amongst woman in a modern community.
In today's world, word of mouth isn't only literal conversation. The "mouth" is merely the device that delivers a message. The "word" is the message, which can be good or bad, about a product or service. The continuing advancement of communications is creating additional devices and methods to spread the "word". These can range from emails to social networks and back to the old fashioned conversation. Whether or not the message is "heard" is the key to successful word of mouth marketing.
We often get told many things from different sources; most reasonable people will assess the credibility of the source before paying heed. How many of us our reasonable is open to debate. When a good friend tells you to buy a specific brand of running shoes, you will probably listen, especially if they've run a marathon or two. The downside to word of mouth marketing is when that same friend tells you to buy that brand but not to buy it from a specific store as the service there is shocking. If your company is the owner of that store, you've just lost a client.
The unfortunate fact is that people are quicker to spread bad news about a product or service before they will spread good news. This is why word of mouth cannot be ignored. As a company you have to continually maintain high levels of service or face the effects of negative branding through word of mouth. Not everyone will be happy a customer, but when they are converted from being unhappy, they can often be the most loyal customers who give you a positive brand image through word of mouth.
Creating positive branding with a word of mouth campaign can reinforce your existing position and solidify your customer base. The more loyal a customer the passionate their message; "converts" are a great source to create a positive branding through word of mouth.
Outside of the high service levels, honesty コラゲナイト and transparency are two components that should never be ignored. All trust is lost in a brand when people mention dishonesty, whilst transparency is the easiest way of combating it. No individual or company is above making mistakes, but being open and honest about it will tend to allow you to survive the negativity and often come out on top.