Author: virginia.miracle

I am a passionate Word of Mouth Marketing practitioner. The juxtaposition of my experiences in WOMM vs. my time in the trenches of one of the country’s most voluminous direct marketers has given me firsthand understanding of the power of customer conversation and the relative inefficiency of shout and interruption marketing. Currently, I am the Director of Word of Mouth Marketing at Brains on Fire, a national Identity and Word of Mouth marketing company. There, I champion the client services group and intimately shepherded the Fiskateers crafting ambassador program for the first 18 months of its existence. Brains on Fire is a supremely creative and intuitive company. If you ever are in search of examples for how to make every customer touchpoint express your true personality, try calling the Brains on Fire front desk. I was first turned on to the power of conversational marketing through a role I was asked to tackle during my 4 years at Dell, Inc. in Round Rock Texas. I began my time there in Corporate Strategy and rolled through various roles in consumer marketing including word of mouth marketing manager (believed to be the first WOMM title at a F50 company) and leading the company’s online advertising to consumers and small businesses. Before that, I was a proud member of the late-90s phenomenon Trilogy Software and earned a BA in English language and literature from Princeton. I am a member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s Board of Directors. I am also a new mom, a mean Scrabble player, and a (formerly closeted) Bruce Hornsby superfan. I recently completed GH3 for Wii on Medium, but secretly doubt if I’m going to get good enough to go through it on Hard. I’m not sure how many more times I can listen to Metallica’s “One”, anyway.
Wendy’s & The Audacity of Personality (video)

Wendy’s & The Audacity of Personality (video)

Brandon Rhoten on stage at the Times Center in NYC (photo credit @msspinach)

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to interview Wendy’s head of social/digital, advertising and media, Brandon Rhoten live in NYC at the 2017 WOMMA Summit. Brandon was pithy and forthcoming, sharing the story behind the Wendy’s brand personality and how their approach to audience engagement has led to runaway successes like fan/competitor “roasting” and “Nuggs for Carter”. Check out the live counter of Carter’s free nugget retweets vs. Ellen’s Oscar selfie retweets – he overtook Ellen about a week after this interview transpired.

Perhaps most valuably, Brandon shares techniques for watching what is starting to grow organically and how a brand can gently encourage that tinder to catch fire. Brandon also shares the way management built their tolerance for their “charming challenger” personality being able to take risks and tolerate mistakes.

Check out the video here or the Forbes article on the interview here.

Little Hands for Diaper Need

Little Hands for Diaper Need


This spring, my son went through one of the new Little Helping Hands tracks programs aimed at grades 3-5. The program combines age-appropriate education with a series of activities exploring different aspects of a single issue facing Austin – in this case, poverty. Luckily, 9 year olds can’t drive so this was also a pretty formative experience for the parents as well. We found a major difference between volunteering once or twice a month at a smattering of different agencies (takeaway: “we volunteered”) vs. thematic volunteering around a greater topic (takeaway “poverty impacts fellow Austinites in a huge number of ways…”).

Perhaps the biggest shock of this experience was that when it came time to chose an independent extension project, my son chose the Austin Diaper Bank – not a part of this track of volunteer exercises and seemingly less appealing to a 9 year old than the microhomes of Community First Village or direct service of a food pantry. In the end, we realized my son’s attraction was that other people weren’t focused on this issue and that it is simple:

  1. There are babies in need right here in Travis County
  2. Government assistance doesn’t cover diapers, so
  3. We need to help bridge the gap for parents who are making hard choices between things like hygiene and lights

My husband and I have been very interested in the ADB as years ago at Ogilvy I had been staffed on creating a CSR project focused on diaper need. Through that experience, I had met a number of independent diaper bank founders and been inspired by their relentless pursuit of shedding light on this issue and helping mothers in need. As such, I have been a relatively regular volunteer at ADB with my son and he knew their story. The project he chose was one to help the ADB both with funds and in raising awareness – it grew from there.

He wanted to raise money at a the equivalent of a “lemonade stand” to take advantage of the hikers who come to our neighborhood to go down the Hill of Life. Over the course of a few weekends, he raised money, but had the opportunity to have dozens of conversations about WHY he was raising money for the diaper bank and why it exists.

From there, I sent out a post on Facebook that we’d be collecting diapers. I assumed people would stop by with open packs of diapers for us to take to the bank. However, in the world of Amazon, we were shocked to see diapers arriving at our door almost daily from all over the country. Co-workers at Spredfast leaned in to donate as well. By the end of the project Fletcher had collected $228 and 2,689 diapers to help fill some of the most in demand shelves of the bank. We finished by gathering friends and family to inventory, wrap and shelve the diapers so they would be ready to go out to local agencies.

Fletcher was proud of his work and my husband and I were shocked to realize the impact of putting just a little focus, effort and time against an issue. This will not be the last time we set our sights on improving our community.


Austin CityGram Piece Live!

Austin CityGram Piece Live!

In December, I had the pleasure of spending the day with the talented Nadia Chaudhury.  We walked though a very fun day in my life – including interacting with Natanya Andersen and Jan Ryan who are two of my Austin favorites as well as my team.  It is a rare and special thing to have talented artists capture in words and images the joy that you find in your daily life and I adore this piece. If you’re interested, the full article and amazing photos at Austin CityGram here.


Exciting Update, Article & W20 SXSW Video

Exciting Update, Article & W20 SXSW Video

A lot has happened over the last couple of months.  Most importantly, Spredfast and Mass Relevance merged this month to form a 350 person Social Marketing Platform company, for which I am pleased to serve as Chief Customer Officer.  Lots more to come on that and the marketing at the speed of life made possible by the combined technologies.

In March, the folks at Entrepreneur were kind enough to publish me.  Please visit them here to read the full text of Woo Loyal Customers For Life with 4 Winning Ways.

And during SXSW, I participated in the WCG’s W2O Group Pre-Commerce Summit.  The video and slides from this 10 minute talk here:

Bonus: I address my very loud green jacket IN the video.

Social Media Rules Article in Entrepreneur

Social Media Rules Article in Entrepreneur

Last week, an interview I did with Entrepreneur magazine did whatever the digital version of “hit the newsstands” is.  While many of these thoughts were geared to CEOs of small or medium businesses, the content could really apply to any social media leader living in the real world of constrained resources.

Please head on over there and take a gander.