03 avril 2010

There is one single rule which applies to all businesses today : restoring TRUST. And conversation is not going to solve this.

Until 2006, the use of the net was primarily based on the mail. Communication was the currency. Some tried to specialize the trade: CompuServe did expect exchanges about technique, AOL wanted to put all Americans on line in order to share their common interests. Those exchanges led to the creation of content to be shared. The users moved progressively from a reader’s state of mind to a publisher’s one. And today , they prefer the user generated content than the one prepared and imposed by experts or companies. Companies didn’t like that. They joined forces to impose their own formats, their own ideas, their banners and other pop-up ads which were felt as intrusive by the audience. Advertisers were the authors of ad-avoidance and a growing mistrust towards commercial communication. The currency in social media is content and no longer communication. And this applies to everybody, consumers, teachers, companies, etc.

Marketers and advertisers have raised suspicion. They were trying to reach the right audience at the right time with accurate measurement of who was touched when, etc ... In doing so, they've reached highly profiled audiences while touching a sensitive chord : trust. They viewed the consumer as a passive one to be converted through unidirectional communication. They were prisoners of their old communication formats.
Consumer trust did pass to their peers reaching a situation where 90% of citizens trust other citizens before the experts, before the companies, before the journalists, before the consumer associations.
Worse, says Pete Blackshaw in his many books, the consumer took the driving seat : In June 2006, a man named Vincent Ferrari shockingly combative conversation Had a year with AOL sales rep; he Recorded it and posted it on YouTube. More than 62.827 viewing later ", AOL's reputation was irretrievably damaged. In the digital age, Disgruntled Customers are in the driver's seat, argues Blackshaw. This happens regularly today. Two young kids videotaping themselves whille dropping mentos into Coke bottles made the broadcast news with their resulting Geysers.

Of course, we can invite the public to a minimum of indulgence. Remind him that nobody is perfect and that a company is not immune to error. I think he knows that. They ‘re not dumb.
The only question we must ask ourselves is how do we restore trust in such a context. It takes a strong engagement and a humble willingness to embrace the change at stake.

Because today, the consumer is no longer hanging on emails and unidirectional media. Depending on the country he spends 55 minutes to 2.7 hours per day on social media which is more than the time spent on emails. The change didn’t happen at once. But it impacts our ways of living faster than the Guttenberg revolution. At the time of writing there are over 700,000 million people on Facebook and 3 millions in Belgium.. Many marketers and bosses are not. They do not understand those who waste time telling trivialities on Facebook. Until the day when happy consumers on Facebook create a page for fans of their brand. What a good idea, It does not cost anything. This proves that our company and brand managers did everything well so far. So far, indeed. Because when suddenly a bunch of green activists squat this same page and start converting more than 90,000 fans of the page in enemies of the brand , the brand and the boss are in trouble. At that point, someone should have the courage to tell the boss that a satisfied customer may tell 3 people, an unsatisfied one tells it to 3000. 90000 X 3000 makes a lot of people. And when we know, thanks to Catalina Marketing, that a consumer product makes 80% of its sales with 2.5% of its clients on average, one realizes how fast 80% of sales can be put at risk. Simple math : social media and the mistrust of their users can seriously damage your business. But avoiding social media is even worse.

The power of social media is obvious. They produce tangible results and sometimes dramatic ones. Whether you like it or not doesn’t matter, right know there are people on the net talking about your brand or company. While staying silent, your brands validate everything that is said. We must therefore join the conversation. Conversation has become the holy grail of marketers and management book authors. Should we join the conversation ? I would be careful. If you have not already done so, if you have not yet experienced social media, I invite you to think twice. The conversation is not a panacea for a sustainable restored trust. I will explain you why in a next article.

Posted via email from Dialog or Death

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Welcome on Patrick Willemarck's blog

I'm the founder of Dialog Solutions.
On this blog I want to share views and opinions about business and more specifically about Brands, Consumers, Marketing, market research, innovation, loyalty, etc., all those business aspects that are deeply affected by social media.
Every company shouldn't be present on every social media network. but every company is becoming porous to the outside world and has therefore to become both social and media.