It is well established that generating word-of-mouth is what makes advertising successful in increasing sales. Researchers at Wharton School of Business, has determined that visibility plays a critically important role.

Jonah Berger is a professor of marketing at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and best-selling author of  Invisible Influence, The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior and Contagious: Why Things Catch On.

In this study, he conducted both field and laboratory experiments. According to the results, interesting brands and products generated more short term conversations than less interesting ones, but didn’t generation more ongoing or overall conversations.

Brands and products that also had promotional marketing (product giveaways) and visual advertising (posters and billboards) generated more conversations overall and kept those conversations going longer, which strongly contributed toward having an impact.

The researchers found that for people, encountering images of the brands and products as they went about their everyday lives, triggered these critical word of mouth conversations, like actors receiving cues for their lines.

The results of this study suggest that providing visual cues for conversations may be the most important way in which visibility (lawn signs, bumper stickers and so on) have an impact on campaigns.