You know what’s cool? It’s cool that we can Twitter about the brands we love, or love to hate, with thousands and thousands of people. We can share the great experiences we have, or we can share the horrible experiences we have. People reply, commiserate, whatever, talk about ways brands can get even better. And while it’s really neat to connect with the legions of people who have relationships with the same brands as we do, has anyone noticed that there’s often a very important voice missing from those conversations? Yep. Where are the brands?
Yoo-hoo? Where are youuuu?
Here’s what I think: Brands are chicken. They’re afraid that if they talk to us, they’ll wreck something. Or say the wrong thing. There’s plenty of technology that monitors the “chatter” that a brand is getting in blogs (like this), Twitter, Facebook, and other online social forums. Brands know who says what about them, when they say it, who they say it to, and how often. But cat’s got their tongue when it comes to jumping in and joining the party.
With all the brands I work with, I advocate a policy of participation in the dialogue about your brand from the highest levels of the organization. When you participate in the dialogue, you’ll get to experience the meaningful connection people have with your product or service.
I’m not suggesting you become a constant Tweeter. You don’t have to be the Ashton Kutcher of dry goods – but once in a while, say hello. And when people reply, listen to what they have to say. If they have suggestions for your brand, let them know you take what they say seriously, and then have someone reply to their suggestion in a personal way.
Very soon you’ll have a connection to your consumer base that becomes deeper and richer. That connection will touch your heart as you reconnect with the contribution you’re making to your customers’ lives. The connection will challenge you to do what you do better. And finally, the connection will make your company stronger and more competitive.
Oh, and do it today. Your competition might have started yesterday.