Developing branding for referrals: the N.U.D.E. Model in action

Scott Degraffenreid, in his book, Embracing the N.U.D.E. Model: The New Art and Science of Referral Marketing, speaks about the attributes of effective referral marketing.

The N.U.D.E. Model for referral brandingHis NUDE model speaks to four attributes of a business or brand that generate almost all referrals: Novelty and Utility, Dependability and Economy. Tension exists in both of those pairs.

Scott believes a balance of all four are required to establish a “Tipping Point” ( a score of 315 out of 400), and that the tension of the paired attributes are important to establish high scores. (These scores are derived through solid statistical manipulation of very large databases that Scott doesn’t even attempt to explain in his book.

From a branding standpoint, the most important consideration is this: the service must be easy for people (advocates and early adaptors) to explain to their associates (members of their networks). Branders need to make referrers appear authoritative so referrers will look good and be thanked (even praised) for their astuteness and benevolence in referring the service.

It is really the tension between novelty and utility that will generate “buzz” and referrals. Brand on the side of novelty, and them make sure your messaging contains strong utility-oriented copy that people can remember and pass along to balance the novelty of  the brand.

Then, rather than attempting to claim both dependability and economy, position the brand with emphasis on one of them as a “partner” to the product’s novelty. It is likely you will lose some credibility by claiming both attributes for the same product.

So as the brander, make the offering crystal clear by using brand signals and messaging that position the service as different (novel) and better (utility) while secondarily claiming dependability.

Martin Jelsema

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