What are the Anthill Cool Company Awards?
The Cool Company Awards were launched in 2006 as a way for Anthill to acknowledge and celebrate Australian organisations that are doing things differently to bring about positive change. Cool Companies stay one step ahead of the rest. They breed leaders who are rule-makers and rule-breakers. They are trend-setters in attitude and action. Quite simply, they are … cool! More.
Psst. The marketing agency called Soup is very cool. Pass it on.
Soup was Australia’s first company to focus on marketing through word of mouth — a weapon that Soup says delivers its payload of publicity and opinion far more effectively than traditional advertising.
“The main purpose of the organisation is to create meaningful connections between companies and consumers,” Soup founder Sharyn Smith said. “Through this meaningful connection companies build positive word of mouth for their brands and people feel more empowered about what they buy.”
The agency recruits people to become influencers, or Soupers. They receive products before they launch, samples to share with friends, and behind-the-scenes access to a client company. Soupers are matched by their backgrounds and interests to companies and products. The agency’s client, meanwhile, get to engage the Soupers — and others — in an “authentic and meaningful way to create positive conversations for your brand. … Literally we will spread the word for you.”
Smith said Soup embraces a paradigm shift in the marketing process. Traditional agencies saw word of mouth as the result of a great product or campaign. They felt they had no control over it. Soup, on the other hand, says that word of mouth can be planned, harnessed and measured. (Smith has more to say about word-of-mouth in an Anthill podcast posted earlier this year.)
Soup has nearly 10,000 Soupers that get involved with client campaigns regularly. They have a response rate of 80% to 90% when the put out a call for assistance on apply some WOM to a product, company or nonprofit. They keep key industry people engaged in Soup through a WoM ambassador program.
Soup continues to innovate online through forums, a review system and, most recently, a presence on Facebook. Twitter is used for some campaigns, “but is only relevant for specific organizations,” Smith said.
Like many companies, Soup celebrates staff achievements with lunches and libations. But it’s a sure bet no other company has a WOMbat award — a trophy with a stuffed wombat on top, given to staff quarterly through a peer review. Soup also donates $1 to selected charities if people refer others to the company. Soup has donated more than $10,000 through the program.
“We have been described by our community as the circle of goodness,” Smith said. “People get something out of it, and companies get a really effective marketing vehicle. It’s a win-win, which is very rare on the world of commerce and marketing.”
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