Ted Rubin is a leading social marketing strategist, acting CMO of Brand Innovators, and co-founder of the recently launched Prevailing Path.
The person who came up with the concept of “social listening” probably didn’t intend for the name to be ironic, but here we are. So many brands treat social listening as little more than another item on the analytics checklist. They look at the numbers, check out the latest social marketing content, come up with an idea, and then work backward to make it fit their own audience. If they’re really ambitious, they might take a spin through the mentions on the company’s branded social pages (before promptly going back to ignoring them).
If you want to be heard above the growing social media “noise,” you need to first listen to your consumers so when you do speak, you get it right. What are they saying, what are they feeling, what are their pain points, what solutions do they need?
If you make something easy to do, people are more likely to do it. They’re also more likely to come back to you in the future when they need a similar product or service. Nothing complicated about that, but it’s a point that many brands and service providers miss at a time when technology should be making things more convenient, not the other way around.
Let’s face it… shoppers don’t become advocates and influence others in order to champion brands out of the goodness of their hearts, or because of a brilliantly-designed logo or a couple coupons they can download from the internet.
Is it any surprise that Amazon Payments has become a success story? Well, sort of. Despite Amazon’s well-earned reputation for developing efficient eCommerce solutions, going toe-to-toe with PayPal is no small task. The truth is that both services work quite well, and each has carved out its own (very large) niche in addition to the places where the two overlap. I’ve been seeing Amazon Payments pop up quite often in my day-to-day life as a consumer lately, and simple, safe, efficient payment options are always en vogue from a business perspective.
It’s easy to forget that Amazon began its life as an online retailer of books – the paper kind. The eCommerce website where today you can literally purchase almost anything you can imagine got its start selling a single type of product that would soon lose most of its relevance. The fact that Amazon’s Kindle ushered in the era of eBooks is almost poetic and goes a long way toward explaining the brand’s success. Paper books seem inconvenient? No problem. We’ll just create something more modern, convenient, and relevant to the needs of our customers.
If you have been shopping at a Banana Republic Factory store in the past year, you may have noticed something new. Banana Republic is working with “flok,” a third-party customer experience platform, to deliver a more tech-friendly shopping experience for loyal customers. The details are mostly familiar – rewards for repeat customers, product recommendations, a virtual help desk – but Banana Republic is also looking for ways to go beyond the standard branded app. Working with flok’s platform, rather than producing a standalone app, is just one interesting example.
If war has an opposite, it’s not peace, it’s civilization.
Civilization is the foundation of every successful culture. It permits us to live in safety, without being crippled by fear. It’s the willingness to discuss our differences, not to fight over them. Civilization is efficient, in that it permits every member of society to contribute at her highest level of utility. And it’s at the heart of morality, because civilization is based on fairness.
Don’t underestimate the value of getting to know your employees and vendors as people. For developing great working relationships plan time for getting together outside work to unwind, taking part in a charitable event, having a meal or just playing.