|Image via http://www.alchemyofchange.net/|
A quick reminder on where I stand on how consumers make choices today:
1. Brand: Makes the promise
2. Marcomms: Brings the promise to life
3. Social Media: Is where we turn for proof of the promise (in the experience of our peers, the Google ZMOT if you will).
This is driven of course by who we trust. If we trusted brands and marcomms we'd accept their promises. Sadly its a rare brand which can command that level of trust today. Mostly we ask each other for the proof. This means of course that much more spend and focus should be on number 3 versus 1 & 2.
It also begs the question: how do you inspire people to publish the good experiences (the proofs of the promise) they have had.
First, of course, you must prove that promise.
Over delivering seems to do the trick. Go beyond the normal and I'm likely to post a positive review or comment.
Our ability to generate “wow” moments worth sharing with peers (reviews included) come down to what we are prepared to GIVE over and above normal service. Primarily the give is great customer service (delivered by a human) or an upgrade of some kind ( a cost).
This is bottom-up proof that the brand has our best interests at heart (the true measure of trust). That's killer app one.
Scaling this is tough and relies on peer-to-peer discovery and pass on. Often this can appear too slow to a brand with a broken connection to its promise they are desperate to fix. They may not have the will or capacity to deliver the small moments of wow which have made google, amazon, spotify etc more trust-worthy than long established rivals. They use your data to deliver things to you in a way that makes us feel they have our best interests at heart. We can rationalise and note that they have a business imperative. But actually, us consumers aren't very rational at all when making decisions. How we feel is most often more powerful than what we know. (Read Mark Earls Herd for a primer on that if you aren't convinced from your own experience).
With what brands can learn from your data, we can deliver the feeling that the brand concerned has our best interests at heart: Top Down - killer app two.
The magic, the wow, is not now in what we are given by way of over delivery of goods or services, but in the surprise and delighting we do by showing we know our customer's needs so well that they feel we really do have their best interests at heart (the foundation of building brand trust in a world of relationship marketing (as discussed in my book The 10 Principles of Open Business).
My guess is that we will continue to need BOTH top down and bottom up.
Trust in the brand can be built at scale via the top down approach, but to deliver the TripAdvisor-topping reviews and publication of peer recommendations we will need to continue to GIVE more than expected, not just fit need exceptionally well.
After all, when was the last time you tweeted about how well Amazon made you a recommendation?