So with all the emphasis on relationships where is the evidence that it hasn’t merely become a tag line or another marketing theme?
Let’s be real. A brand cannot have “real” relationships with hundreds of thousands or millions of customers. However, they can significantly improve those relations by leveraging the power of social technologies as a means of interacting with the customer more effectively and efficiently.
Brands get consumer attention through public relations, advertising and marketing methods. A brand gains a relationship with consumers in the form of a transaction i.e a purchase. The brand also has a relationship with consumers in the form of ongoing service requirements for the product or service purchased. These collective experiences create the brands identity with consumers and businesses. If the experiences are consistently negative well you can say the “relationship” is not satisfying.
The Real Relationship Is Between People
While we the people buy products and services we don’t do so with the intent of forming a relationship. We do so with the intent of being satisfied. Whether we’re satisfied or not we will likely share either experience with our friends, family and business associates i.e. the power of word of mouth.
All this social stuff just accelerates consumer’s ability to share brand experiences, good bad and indifferent, with a much larger audience. The problem is that a negative experience creates an attraction from an audience that grows as people join the conversations out of frustration and disgust with a bad experience.
Every business creates an experience. First is the employee and supplier experience and at the end of the delivery chain is the customers experience. The funamaental thred between all three is the human experience created by and amongst people. While brands spend millions on marketing and PR it ultimately boils down to the human experience created or generated by the business activities. Business activities are influenced by the organizational process, the management methods, the culture and the quality of relationships. A business that delivers a poor experience ultimate creates negative human relations unless the experience changes dramatically.
All this social stuff is just a reflection of experiences throughout a supply chain of human relations. The technology simply accelerates transparency of those experiences by giving people a stronger voice than they have ever had previously. The people’s voice grows with influence daily and to try and leverage social technology to cover up the voices only makes the voices louder.
If you product or service creates consistent satisfaction then social media enables you to leverage your satisfaction index like never before. If on the other hand your business consistently creates dissatisfaction with suppliers, employees and customers, then social media will only emphasize the dissatisfaction.
You only have two choices and both will cost you. Improve your relationships and fix your product/service. If you think that you can avoid both and not engage in the conversations or be exposed by them your fooling yourself.
It is simply and yet very complex. Get it?
What say you?