For the report, the Keller Fay Group and BzzAgent surveyed 3,235 of BzzAgent's unpaid evangelists, who talk up products in person, online, and on the telephone.
Almost half--45 percent--of the volunteers said they chose to promote products that were "easy to talk about," while 40 percent said they touted products from "a trusted name." Only 24 percent said their selected products were "innovative," 23 percent said they were "new and unique," and 21 percent said they were "smart."
"The first myth the research rebuts is that word of mouth is only for 'the latest thing,'" the report stated. "Word-of-mouth success is about communicating solutions--providing answers that consumers want to pass along to others."
The companies with the most word-of-mouth, according to BzzAgent, were established brands Toyota and Wal-Mart.
Jon Barry, senior vice president at Keller Fay, said companies seeking word-of-mouth should focus on the basic features of their products, rather than hope to create buzz with flashy campaigns. "It's perceived that word-of-mouth is driven by stunts and gimmicks, what you can put up on YouTube or putting up an unusual or outlandish Web site, when the fact is that what consumers are really interested in is products, and what they do," he said.