HaveYouHeard: Jason Stewart

HaveYouHeard: Jason Stewart

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An increasingly savvy – not to mention cynical — consumer market means that getting your name out there is no longer enough if you want to move product off the shelves. People need to trust in your brand, and there’s no better way of building such trust than getting a disinterested third party to recommend your product.

“A study by Millward Brown shows that one in four brand recommendations is acted on,” points out Jason Stewart, who’s built a business on the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

HaveYouHeard helps brands to develop a community of passionate advocates — both online and offline — who will recommend their product to other people. “We identify influential consumers who aren’t using the brand and investigate ways to engage and develop a relationship with them, and importantly to give them the opportunity to experience the product,” says Stewart.

Started in 2008, the company has experienced excellent growth, fuelled by an increased need for more creative and effective marketing solutions.

Stewart says he’s seeing more and more South African brand marketers on both the client and agency side seeking budget-friendlier alternatives that offer greater engagement and better return on marketing investment. HaveYouHeard’s client list — which includes the likes of Woolworths, Nestle, Unilever and SAB — is testament to the growing groundswell of word-of-mouth marketing, and the results that the company has been able to deliver. “Around 80% of our clients have continued to work with us after the first engagement,” says Stewart.

Word-of-mouth marketing is effective because it builds credibility and trust. “This is not meant as a replacement to advertising, but the power of referrals proves that it’s an incredibly effective way for brands to get new
customers,” he adds.

Vital stats

Player: Jason Stewart

Company: HaveYouHeard

Launched: 2008

Contact: +27 (0)21 812 2650, haveyouheard.co.za

Juliet Pitman
Juliet Pitman is a features writer at Entrepreneur Magazine.