Connection #7: Social Media: Influencing Purchases One Customer at a Time

Social Media Influencing Purchase Behaviour

(Image courtesy of Matthew Peneycad’s featured article.)

Social platforms are extremely important for businesses today. For any business out there unwilling to change and adapt to the way of the world, by all means, check the stats; you’ll re-think your stubbornness. Even those that have made the effort into the social world, they’re not utilizing it to its full potential; there is an endless amount of value they can achieve through the strategic use of social media. Throughout this entire COMM 306 course, social media has been prevalent to each and every assignment; and we’re just students. With the continuous rise of power that social media has- over pretty much everything- it’s only sensible for all businesses to get with the program, as effectively as possible.

Matthew Peneycad, writer for Social Media Today, recently published an article with a list of important “need-to-know” stats as to why businesses need social media. While reading his article titled, Unignorable Stats About How Social Media Influences Purchase Behavior, it was too good not to share. Aside from businesses- which is the main target- these tips could be universal and translate to anyone: from students to professors, and even the independently employed.

One of the statistics is that 91% of people have gone into a store because of an online experience; this even surprised me. As I stated earlier, there is still so much value organizations haven’t grasped, due to a lack of social media. For those on their social game, clearly this proves it’s purely beneficial. This statistic, crazy as it is, makes perfect sense; with a businesses information, product details, prices, and ups & downs ready for consumers to view at the click of a button, why wouldn’t they? Because of this, it is imperative for a businesses website and social media properties to be up-to-date, with all current information available that consumers are looking for. Peneycad makes a valid point: “If they can’t find the pertinent information that will sway their purchase decisions, they’ll buy from a company that does”.

American Eagle Store American Eagle Creates Mobile Triple Play

(Image courtesy of Mobile Mavens.)

Another statistic is that 89% of consumers conduct their research using search engines (Peneycad). Let’s experiment here. Go to Google and type in any businesses name; it’s a guarantee that the majority of the search engines you find will consist of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube. If not, their irrelevant in the social media world. According to Peneycad, “you have a tremendous opportunity to impress information seeking consumers on your social media properties when they are conducting research for a purchase, so take advantage of this and ensure that you’re putting your best foot forward”.

The next statistic correlates with the first: 62% of consumers end up making a purchase in-store after researching it online (Peneycad). We know that people tend to impulse shop at times, but this proves that the chances of that happening are much smaller. This means that the customer wants any and all knowledge about the product before making the final purchase decision. Having a website that is easy to navigate through is strongly recommended; you wouldn’t want that customer to go to your competitor at this point in the process.

If you read my recent blog post on rogue websites, then you know how important it is for businesses to monitor any activity going on through the web about them. Something I failed to mention was previous customer’s online reviews. This could go very badly, but statistics show otherwise. “72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations“, says Peneycad. So, if a complete stranger’s opinion is just as good as a friend’s, your business better make sure what those stranger’s are saying is good news- or else it’s bad news for you. To make sure of that, initiate the discussion to your customers- past, current, or potential- by encouraging them to write reviews on your social media platforms; that way you have instant access to what’s being said, with the opportunity to respond- this will go a long way.

Remember when I said it will go a long way if you actively respond to customer reviews? It’s true. According to Peneycad, 78% of consumers say that the posts made by companies on social media influence their purchases. If a business incorporates communicative and effective social media platforms, they have the opportunity to sway the customer’s purchase decision through the content incorporated. Is this all coming together for you all? It can’t be stressed enough: for a business- or anyone advertising their brand (even your personal one)- it is imperative that you incorporate communicative social media platforms into your daily regimen and ensure the content meets the customers needs. This is your opportunity to sell your product business; don’t waste it.

*The video above shares some insight from professionals on how to engage your customer through your content.

The video displayed is credited to YouTube and the company Constant Contact.

Peneycad, Matthew. “Unignorable Stats About How Social Media Influences Purchase Behavior.” Social Media Today. N.p., 13 Jun 2013. Web. 14 Jun 2013. <http://socialmediatoday.com/rgbsocial/1532766/unignorable-stats-about-how-social-media-influences-purchase-behaviour&gt;.

Connection #6: Personal Branding Like a Gollum

There are numerous guides and tips out there to help public relations professionals, entrepreneurs, and organizations with personal branding. Most of them are almost identical because there are only so many ways in which you can write about one thing. As I was searching one of my new favorite sites, Social Media Today, for an interesting article, I came across Anna Rydne’s titled The Gollum Guide to Personal Branding. She quickly changed my view on that and brought an entirely new light to the topic.

Maybe it’s because I am a fan of the completed movie series Lord of the Rings, but her creativity in tying together Sméagol- the infamously creepy gollum in the film- and his personality traits with how one should approach personal branding was refreshing. Rydne’s six step guide perfect for any scenario: whether you are starting fresh or brainstorming new campaign ideas. To any fellow bloggers or classmates that aim to pursue any career in public relations- lets face it, any career period- you might want to take note.

personal branding tips

(Image courtesy of Anna Rydne’s article.)

     Now, the first step might sound odd at first, but it’s easily interpreted: be human. “Gollum is a real character. He does not only evoke a single emotional response such as annoyance, pity, disgust, fear, suspicion or hate; he evokes a full-spectrum response that involves all those feelings and more” (Rydne). One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is appearing as the perfect one. It is sensible to own up to any mistakes or miscommunications (i.e. where the PR professional comes in) to your clients or consumers immediately and professionally before they find out. If you don’t take responsibility to do so, you may lose them along the way and your brand can suffer.

How this can help your brand is by you simply being human. Share your own stories, experiences, and struggles you have had along the way; this will make you more relatable to your clients or consumers. To stand out and be heard, especially online and through social media, you have to realize perfect doesn’t exist. To be credible online, you must show your unique personality: your story, your quirks and your thoughts. Everything that makes you the one you are” (Rydne).

The second step, and most infamous for Sméagol, is identifying your precious. Just as a writer has to have a focus in a story, there must be a focus or a goal you strive for as well. By doing this ensures you never lose the purpose of your personal brand. Did Sméagol ever stray away from his precious? Absolutely not; he always had his eye on the prize. You could be promoting yourself through a unique video resume or interviewing with a company you long to work for the old fashion way; no matter which way, you need to have a focus. It gives you a stronger appeal and shows the company you have passion.

Step three is finding your own way: “By finding your own way of doing something that sets you apart from other people in your field of expertise, you’ll stand out and make yourself known for being highly creative” (Rydner). Mentors, professors, and even my parents have always passed on this piece of knowledge to me. Find what sets you apart from all the rest, and embrace it. Companies go through thousands of applications, and they can all be filled with impressive GPA’s and community service hours; that’s all great to have, but you don’t want to blend in. Even within those criteria’s, find a unique twist and go with it.

The fourth step confused me at first glance: be curious. However, it goes directly hand in hand with curiosity. To be creative one must be curious. When you have curiosity, you have an interest to explore and learn. If you show this quality to a potential organization or company you wish to work for, or maybe that you currently work for, it will only be seen as positive. Taking it a step further, be curious outside of your job limitations. Get a feel for your boss and if they seem to admire it, show curiosity to new tasks that you may not have to do, but want to do. It can only better the organization to have well rounded employees that know multiple trades. Show that you’re active, and looking for creative ways to contribute.

The fifth step is sticking to your objectives. Remaining consistent is direly important. You don’t want to come into a project with enthusiasm and creative ideas, then start it and not include any of them. That’s confusing. “Consequence is very important when it comes to personal branding. People need to be able to label you and to understand what you stand for” (Rydner).

Alas, the sixth and final step. Writing your bio in third person is highly recommended. As Dr. McArthur helps mold us as writers through our blogging here, he, too recommends using third person automatically- then thinking of if it would sound better in second or first. Hearing “I” repeatedly doesn’t look the best. Embrace your own, genuine voice. That has been our main goal in this course: finding and molding our voice. That’s what keeps the readers coming back for more, and that is what will stand out to companies.

Rydne, Anna. “The Gollum Guide to Personal Branding.” Social Media Today. N.p., 8 Jun 2013. Web. 9 Jun 2013. <http://socialmediatoday.com/coskills/1520496/guide-to-personal-branding-gollum&gt;.

Connection #5: Are You Mobile?

Mobile technology has become such a dominant part of our everyday lives, especially since we’re the consumers. It has even switched over the power from the producers to consumers, potentially for good. Jacey Gulden, writer for Social Media Today, gave insight on her take of mobile technology in her article Forget Mobile First: An Integrated Approach to Marketing. According to Gulden, “a survey conducted by SDL on consumer mobile and social media habits showed that consumers function seamlessly across channels when interacting with brands, and as part of their experience there in an expectation of consistency and a fair value exchange over all channels- online, mobile, and in-store”. Basically, what keeps consumers consistent is dependent upon if the brand remains consistent. In addition, consumers always look for two qualities in a brand: reliability and relevance.

(Image courtesy of Instant.ly Blog site; click image to view blog.)

     Due to the speed of online and mobile shopping or searching, consumers are in charge of what they want, when they want it, and where they want it. Mobile devices and the internet, along with social media, have produced a cultivation consumer base, as well as an almost inherent relationship with technology- impatience has shown to be present, too. Gulden calls this “today’s techonomy”. Developments such as this are the definition of modern-day consumers. Mobile devices are vital “serving as the principle drivers of business’ mobile-first approach to marketing” (Gulden). From the majority of technology outlets we’re supplied with today, it’s no surprise PC shipments are estimated to fall 7.8% this year while tablet shipments are due to grow 58.7% year by year. At this rate, PC’s might not even be around come 2015. For any business that hasn’t become mobile yet, you better hurry.

Gulden reflects on the difference between being mobile or stationary- she’s blurry on the two until one falls short. She goes on to saying “as device sizes continue to shrink and expand and device usage continues to pervade every aspect of our daily experience, the very distinction is losing relevance” (Gulden). I find this statement funny, particularly the word “shrink” as I crossed it out; I find that everything that is meant to be compact continues to grow, while everything meant to be expanded continues to shrink. Key point being one of our focuses: mobile devices! Mobile devices are to be smaller, or at least no bigger than a house phone- for those of you that still have one. However, they’re becoming larger and larger due to all of the amenities that come with it. Anybody see the new Samsung Galaxy s4? I almost mistook it for a tablet.

It all comes back to the consumer; would companies continue to make renovations to a product if that weren’t a demand? I’ll answer that for you: no. That’s more money and more time, so it’s only done if the profits prove to be worthy. As much as consumers complain of how big our “mobile-on-the-go” devices are getting, they’re still buying them. We, as consumers, can’t help but to swoon over the latest and greatest and become accustom to the extra two inches in length because of all the things you can do with it.

(Image courtesy of Bubble Web Design’s site.; click image to view site.)

     Another measurement of a good mobile device is doing a trial run: which has the best speed and efficiency? Gulden did her own version of a mobile trial run by counting the seconds it took her from the initial search of a product to the final purchase click on Amazon- she had a slight head start since her Google Chrome browser keeps her logged into Amazon 24/7. My readers might be surprised to find out that between a PC, an Android, and a tablet, the PC was the winning outlet. Maybe I’m a loyal PC-er, but I prefer to search and read much more on my PC as opposed to a mobile device. The PC finished at 5 seconds, the tablet came in second finishing at 8 seconds, and the Android lagged behind finishing at 12 seconds. Aside from the Android taking the longest, if the websites hadn’t been mobile friendly, it would have made the process even longer.

So, what’s the point here? According to Gulden, “your job is to ensure that your brand’s online presence functions as seamlessly as possible over all outlets, mobile or not”. Computers of all shapes, sizes, and compatibility will continue to expand over the years. Fellow classmates, this relates to a general sense of what we’ve learned in Dr. McArthur’s COMM 306 so far. Companies and brands must remain current and fresh to maintain a consistent consumer base. Doing things such as media releases, PR events, surveys, and re-vamping their web design can help “provide a simple, reliable, and relevant experience to users anywhere, anytime, on any device” (Gulden).

Gulden, Jacey. “Forget Mobile First: An Integrated Approach to Marketing.” Social Media Today. N.p., 1 Jun 2013. Web. 2 Jun 2013. <http://socialmediatoday.com/jacey-gulden/1506941/forget-mobile-first-take-integrated-approach-marketing&gt;.

Connection #4: Get the Balance You Need

“America runs on Dunkin”- simple, yet very catchy. Carlyle Group is one of the world’s largest and most successful investment firms, and is responsible for this everlasting campaign they originated for Dunkin Donuts in 2005. Founded in 1987, they still stand as a well respected, global alternative asset manager. “More than 1,500 investors from seventy-four countries rely on Carlyle to achieve premium returns on their invested capital.

Their investors range from public and private pension funds to wealthy individuals and families to sovereign wealth funds, unions, and corporations” (Carlyle.com). Carlyle’s main interest is in building brands, so it’s no surprise that they left their mark on Dunkin Donuts under their ownership- along with two other private equity giants- from December of 2005 through August 2012. So what’s their latest campaign? For all you nutritionists out there, it could possibly be staring you right in the face, or be sitting in your cabinets.

The nutritional energy bar, Balance, has just been “re-vamped” for the first time since it was acquired by NBTY, which is owned by the Carlyle Group. They came to an agreement to take over Balance this past November in hopes of creating a new, long running campaign such as the one they did for Dunkin Donuts. Balance’s new campaign reads: Have you found your Balance? Notice I put the B in bold and underlined it to signify the fact that it’s capital. It not only states the name of the nutritional bar in such a witty way, but capitalizing the B makes the brand name much more prominent.

NBTY and Carlyle’s interest in Balance Bar came from their desire to be an active part in the nutrition business. By taking on this new campaign and giving the brand name life again, they hope for it to enhance their portfolio. As far as other creative aspects for this campaign, NBTY handles them all internally. Stuart Elliott, writer for The New York Times, shared some insight on what else they’ll be incorporating into their campaign in a recent article: Balance Bar’s New Owner Starts a Brand Campaign. According to Elliott, the effort is extensive, including a commercial, magazine advertisements, coupon inserts in newspapers, content on the Balance Bar website, online banner ads, ads in stores, a public relations initiative, sampling programs and a presence in social media like Facebook and Twitter (Elliott). Even if NBTY and Carlyle were only doing a fraction of this extensive list, they would still be ahead of the game in comparison to the brand’s past. In 2012, only $91,000 was spent on marketing for Balance Bar, decreasing almost entirely to just $2,000 in the year 2010, and spent a surprising amount of nothing in the year 2008. Could NBTY and Carlyle really fail against those records?

Erin Lifeso, senior director of marketing for Balance Bar, has been working with the brand since early 2010. Lifeso describes numerous thinking strategies that went into the plan of developing the brand’s new campaign. She stated that before, they simply didn’t have the budget; without that, you can’t get people to taste it, love it, or remind them about that so they go buy it. With a budget of $5 million from now through September, they can do that. As far as the image, the seesaw symbolizes the “teeter-totter world” we all live in. Everyone has a hectic life with numerous tasks to do throughout the day; Balance Bar is intended “to keep you in balance” (Elliott). It’s a target idea that everyone can relate it, especially the target audience of consumers 25 to 54 years old.

Everything that NBTY and Carlyle are doing to better the brand’s name are examples of the research they conducted, the plan they made, and the evaluation of its effectiveness for the campaign. What stuck out to me the most was their focus on nutrition, since that’s what the brand is all about. All of the efforts made to promoting that were part of “preparing the proposal”. This method is described by Seitel in our class text, The Practice of Public Relations. Preparing the proposal is the second step to activating the public relations campaign that is broken down into many key points. I want to highlight the key messages: how do we want them to feel about us, what do we want to tell them, etc.  “Have you found your Balance”, does just that. If you try this bar, not only will you get the nutrition you need, but the balance to keep you going.

Elliot, Stuart. “Balance Bar’s New Owner Starts a Brand Campaign.” New York Times [New York, NY] 20 May 2013, n. pag. Web. 26 May. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/business/media/campaign-seeks-to-strike-the-right-balance.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0&gt;.

“Corporate Overview.” The Carlyle Group. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2013. <http://www.carlyle.com/about-carlyle&gt;.

Seitel, Fraser. The Practice of Public Relations. 11th edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2010. Print.

Personal Connection #3: A Company’s Greed for Followers

Adi Gaskell, a writer for Social Media Today, posed a propelling topic yesterday that intrigued me instantly. How much are Twitter followers worth to a company? If we proposed that question to most of the followers we, ourselves have on Twitter, my bet is that the answer would be close to nothing. In Adi Gaskell’s article, How Much Is an Engaged Social Customer Worth?, he sheds light on a debacle between a company and a former employee.  He opens by stating the following: “Last year an employee was sued for taking the Twitter followers he’d amassed with him when he left his company. The case focused attention on just how much a Twitter follower was worth” (Gaskell). Okay, initially that seems a bit dry, but it made me want to read on; especially because I wondered if that was legal.

The obvious answer to my curiosity: yes, it’s legal. Obviously if it went to court and was successful, there is some sort of truth there. Maybe there was a clause in the employee’s contract with the company that he overlooked or neglected to read? Who knows. Personally, I don’t see it fair to go to the extreme lengths of “suing” him for that, (unless it is a written no-no), but I also see why the company wasn’t fond of the idea. He’s potentially taking some of their business away, which means a decrease in money. What company would want that? Considering the place our economy is in, everyone can take whatever they can get. That is exactly what this company intended on seeing through.

As I read on, I started noticing that each follower holds a different value; they’re not all equal. Most followers are fake, or just along for the free ride: it doesn’t cost anything to follow a person or company, so why not? Can’t almost every twitter member relate to this? I find myself constantly scrolling through my twitter feed and realizing that only two out of the past 50 tweets were of interest to me. (Cue clean-up time!) Twitter members should aim to engage others, while being engaged by them as well.

New research was curious to find out the worth of these followers, so they delved into the profitability of social media users. According to Gaskell, “Research found that engaged social media customers spend significantly more (as in 5.6% more) than those customer that aren’t engaged” (Gaskell). Observing a company is the best way to get these answers, so they started conducting a study on a large wine retailer in the North-East of America. The wine company started their relationship with social media back in 2009; since then, they consistently supply their followers with promotions, local information, and wine advice. The team of researchers analyzed the companies customer database, nearly 400, over the course of three years. They picked a group that had similar demographics and spending habits, analyzing their participation before and after the company initiated a social media relationship. What they found was interesting.

Before social media played a role in this company, the entire group visited the stores and spent money equally. After social media gained a role, it was easy for the researchers to weed out the part of the group that wasn’t engaged. What caused this? I mean, wouldn’t one assume that social media would only help your chances of engaged customers? Clearly by this scenario, that isn’t the case at all. We only assume that because social media has had such a break through, especially with technology, so it’s stereotyped as only positive. What companies should learn from this is that not all customers care about it. Yes, it’s the world we live in now, but part of being a good company is recognizing the demographics of your customers, and tailoring to all of their needs. That’s how you keep them happy, without losing any along the way.

There are three great points provided by Fraser P. Seitel, author of The Practice of Public Relations, that companies should keep in mind when aiming for overall organizational effectiveness that I think apply to this scenario; outputs, outtakes, and outcomes. Did the company gain the coverage desired, does their target audience see and believe their message, and did that change their behavior or relationship (which can affect sales)? If this wine company evaluated this themselves, or hired a PR to do it for them, they might have been able to avoid losing the “once engaged” portion of the group that disappeared.

Gaskell, Adi. “How Much Is an Engaged Social Customer Worth?.” Social Media Today. N.p., 20 May 2013. Web. 21 May 2013. <http://socialmediatoday.com/adi-gaskell/1478911/how-much-engaged-social-customer-worth?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=hootsuite_tweets&gt;.

Seitel, Fraser. The Practice of Public Relations. 11th edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc., 2010. Print.

(Click images to view website they’re credited to.)

Personal Connection #2: A Company’s Crisis

Have you ever done something that you knew was wrong, on some scale; whether it was as minor as telling a white lie or as major as stealing something you desperately wanted? No matter how big or small, wrong is wrong, right? Let’s add perception into this equation- what if in your eyes you did nothing wrong and what you deemed to be a win for everyone, but then frantically go into panic when you find out it’s been caught on camera because that changes everything? Once other eyes can judge you, it’s all downhill from there. If you found yourself in any situation like this, do what big companies and corporations do: call in public relations.

Every company or corporation is different. We, as the audience members and consumers, don’t ever stop to ponder on the thought of if they are doing things by the book. Why would you anyways? Shouldn’t we be able to correctly assume they would? Back in the day before the social media development, you either trusted hearing it through the grape-vine, or from the news. Even still, big companies secrets weren’t as easily leaked as they are today. We now have numerous medium outlets that provide an instant streaming of information for the world to see. Wouldn’t you think this would be more of an encouragement, especially now more than ever, for these big companies and corporations to do everything by the book, as if all the world’s eyes had access on the inside? The obvious answer here people is no. However, PETA has recently done something that proves they’re thinking exactly that.

PETA is apparently rumored to be deploying aerial drones to monitor hunters, along with big farms, for any and all activity that they deem to be questionable. David Bartlett, Senior Vice President of the Levick public relations firm, explained on the company’s website that the drones will be operated via remote control and armed only with cameras. Bartlett also stressed that the big farms would have significantly more to lose if they are caught doing anything that could be viewed negatively and sent to regulators and/or law enforcement (Bartlett). But as influential as those regulators and/or law enforcers would be, they don’t hold nearly the amount of power as medium outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and in this case, especially YouTube does. Truth be told, PETA would probably be better off leaking it to one of them first, or at least directly after.

David Bartlett, SVP

(Pictured above is David Bartlett, Senior Vice President of Levit)

In this case, you’re probably wondering what the big crisis is. Yes, it is extremely great to ensure that all animals are being treated properly, I’m a big advocate for that myself. But nonetheless, a company’s a company and this would result in the worst possible scenario of a crisis for them. Their reputation would be destroyed and their revenue would be compromised. So, some advice from David Bartlett: take some videos of your own. Footage documenting their compliance efforts not only makes for great website content that helps boost SEO, (search engine optimization, and build a positive brand image: it allows a company to regain control of the narrative, if PETA, or any other critic, tries to circulate evidence of problems (Bartlett). This is a universal idea and would work for any big company, not just for the farms protecting themselves from PETA.

Aside from this directly correlating to the text by the simple fact that this proves why and when a company would need the help of public relations professionals, it also demonstrates very simple ways in which these companies can help themselves, even without the public relations professionals. As stated in chapter three of our text, The Practice of Public Relations, the medium is the message (Seitel). A great example used to easily explain the meaning of this is that if an issue is published on both an internet blog and The New York Times, clearly The New York Times would hold a higher ranking and carry more weight on the issue than the internet blog. This supports the dangerous threat that social media outlets have on and against big companies and corporations.

For more information on the PETA drones, refer to David Bartlett’s article titled, PETA Drones and the Star Wars Age of Animal Rights Activism, on levick.com.

Both images displayed are credited to www.levick.com.

Personal Connection #1: Customer Service Takes the Back Seat to Social Media

This is what we, as consumers, dream of customer service looking like.

Customer Service At MOD Restoration

The gentleman, clearly being the customer, looks very pleased and satisfied. Also, the woman looks the same, as if she is eager and happy to help him in any way she can in order for him to leave with a positive attitude towards the company. Unfortunately, this is what most customer service looks like in the technologically-savvy world we now live in.

Yes, this is every customer’s nightmare that seems to repeat itself over and over. You’ve hit a wall with all of the voice-recordings and never-ending options list and are ready to throw your phone out of the window. But why? Why does it seem to always come to this?

This is one area where social media has come to hurt us as consumers. Companies are leaving all and any communication that you or they have for one another to go through one of the numerous medium outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, or even Instagram. That is, however, the alternative to doing what this guy’s doing above (wishing his telephone never existed and regretting ever getting involved with that company).

The issue with customer service is such an unnoticed issue, because companies seem to be all for the customer and pleasing them. How many commercials have we watched of Flo, the Progressive insurance lady, winning us over with her weird, yet quirky personality and drive to pleasing her clients? Flip that thought and think of how many times, (if you have Progressive insurance), you have tried to seek out information about your plan or an error on your statement, that is typically electronically sent to you now, but you’ve only ended up wasting hours out of your day with more questions than you started out with? This isn’t a bash to Progressive insurance, just an example of how companies have let their most important asset- we, the consumers- slip right out of their hands.

Brian Solis published a brief chapter from his new book, “What’s the Future of Business”, on his website. According to Solis’ expert opinion, being that he is a guy of many trades: digital analyst, sociologist and futurist, if you ask any executive what their priority business goals are for 2013, you’ll hear something that has to do with customer-centricity (Solis). If that’s the case, then why is it usually the number one thing people as consumers have against a particular company? I’m just as stumped as you all are reading this, why here’s my take on it.

I feel that companies and everyone involved in them, whether it be the highly respected executives or the bottom-of-the-totem-pole, minimum wage workers, are too focused on producing efficient and “ground-breaking” work that their initial reasoning becomes a speck of dirt lying on the ground. There are so many things that people within a company or business have to think and worry about, that sometimes their most valuable asset- we, the consumers.. stay with me- become second priority be default. This is where public relations professionals should be coming in! As it says in our text, they are the ones in charge of mandating communication between the company and their audience. I also think we play a small part in that.

We’re all so concerned with getting the latest and smartest piece of technology that we turn ourselves into savages. Can you say, Black Friday? Anyone? We ignore the service we could do for each other, like reading the online reviews- yes, that’s a media outlet, but it provides us with important information on the company AND product. I’m sure if we did that a bit more, as opposed to buying it because it’s the newest and coolest product, we wouldn’t be in that guy’s position; wishing that we had never developed a relationship with that company!

Credits

If you would like to hear more of what Brian Solis has to say, please visit his website and look for his article titled, “The First Mile: The Broken Link of Social Media Customer Service”.

The first image displayed is credited to Hanny Lerner’s article titled, “Customer Service, Customer Service, Customer Service”, on Forbes’ website.

The second image displayed is credited to Gianluigi Cuccureddu’s article titled, “Social Media for Customer Service Only Used Because Other Channels Suck”, on Damarque.com.