R.O.I with social media. Don’t take my word for it

The Brand Builder (Olivier Blanchard) has been doing just a phenomenal job of articulating various aspects of the R.O.I equation as it relates touse of social media in your business. Social media is becoming an increasingly important game-changer in getting the word out about your brand, and in developing relationships that foster trust in who you are and what you have to offer.

Early adopters know this already, but maybe you or your clients or your boss just don’t see the value in “wasting” time in social media. Check out the last several weeks worth of video (and written) R.O.I discussion from Olivier. It’s really worth your while.

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Getting Stroft With Your Customers

Via the web, I get to hang around with some really smart people. Two of my favorite conversationalists are Olivier Blanchard (the brand builder) and Kristi Colvin (she wears a lot of hats! You can find her at Design For Users.)

Kristi recently wrote something (which Olivier also quoted) which is truly remarkable about the core of brand strategy:

The heart of a brand, like that of an individual, is vulnerable. It must be both soft enough to prove genuine caring, and strong enough to withstand scrutiny and adversity. But it is your core offering – not your products and services – and if you aren’t in touch with and know what’s in the heart, establishing lasting relationships with customers will be difficult or hit and miss. Do you want a shallow relationship with the people that interact with your brand, or a sympathetic bond that can withstand conflicts?

I hate to say it, but you probably won’t get your user experience 100 percent beautiful 100 percent of the time. Branding is not, I don’t think, about perfection. And when we are imperfect, it is not about the art of the “spin.” It is, as Kristi says, the art of relationship building, being real, being vulnerable.

That doesn’t mean offer crappy service and an iffy product and just put on a big smile when trouble comes boomeranging back at you. It means real people will appreciate other real people doing their best, offering their best. The way to build bridges over inevitable errors now and then is to build those “strong yet soft” relationships with your customers. It’s about time to get stroft (there’s a paper towel campaign in there somewhere.)

Notes from WOMMA-U

Word of Mouth Marketing Association University is happening as we speak in South Beach. For those, like me, who can’t attend, there is still plenty of intel to be gathered. 

Here are some notes from the 360 Digital Influence Blog. The notes are from a talk given by Geoff Donaker, COO at YELP: Click the link above for the full post. The notes connect with my own observations of small business love/hate relationship with word of mouth. Are you ready to give up control of your brand? The paradox is that, in order to thrive, that’s exactly what you’ve got to do.

  • Small businesses (some would argue, the engine of the American economy and spirit) have a lot to gain from WOMM, but are still just as afraid to relinquish control of their brand as are large brands.
  • Utilizing WOMM can drive down marketing costs, but your customer service has to deliver … if you are going to rely on what people say about you (vs. advertising, where you say what you want about yourself) you have to deliver a stellar experience and respond to/fix the not-so-stellar ones.
  • Manufactured reputation usually backfires … you can’t manufacture WOM.  You can provide the tools, the dialogue, the forum and the product – but the community will do with all that what they please.

Does this connect with your experience? What are some other barriers to uleashing word of mouth? What are some of the successes you have seen? Let’s start a conversation.

Love is the Bridge

Here’s a new visual tool I worked up to describe the goal of brand development and differentiation. I’ve been using the word “LOVE” to describe this process. Since branding begins with people – your customers, your employees, yourself even-and depends totally on people’s positive experience, showing people the love is to me what brand development is all about. Enough words, though. Here’s the image of Love as the bridge:

lovebridge