Brand loyalty has started to see new light through social media. This is a huge opportunity for consumers, brand managers and companies alike. The unique advantage that social media brings to the table and the interconnectedness it creates. I can now watch a commercial for Joe Brand. I can go to Facebook and become a fan of Joe Brand. Then I can head over to twitter and talk to @JoeBrand personally.
This is HUGE
How great is this for companies? It’s so utterly amazing that it floors me. I can do all of this in about 5 minutes time. In that time, I have connected personally with a brand and made a lasting experience. In the past, I saw your commercials, your website and your product; but it was cold and stale. A one way conversation of you pushing your brand/product on me. I couldn’t get access to the real you without seeing you in person. Now, in real time, I can become a self-proclaimed “brand manager” for JoeBrand. I can tweet about how I love them and how I think their stuff rocks. I can also talk about how amazing they are in blog posts. This is HUGE. The next generation is going to be the most brand loyal–mark my words. They are going to be learning about real people at the company, seeing pictures of what they eat for lunch and getting a warm and friendly non-automated voicemail or canned email response.
A Message for Brand Managers Everywhere
So will you, Brand Manager, work to increase my loyalty or will you let me be stolen by another, more social media savvy brand? I recently tweeted about a laptop bag I was considering buying and included your ‘@brand’ in my tweet. (Sidenote: When I tweet I always connect it back to the author so they can track what’s going on and so fans find more of their content.) I have been given freebies through Twitter to tryout and provide exposure for brands and products. Here, I was giving you unsolicited exposure. I did not receive any communication from your brand. Not even a “Thank you for the interest”. Needless to say, I was a bit bent that I didn’t receive a response. Why? Social Media is a cakewalk. It takes you 5 seconds to send a response back to your new ‘brand evangelist’. The key is IF you want to make time to do it. I am a potential customer looking for a little piece of mind in deciding to buy a product.
I already knew I want it. I researched it, watched the videos and read about the features. I was looking for an authentic response from someone in your company that would’ve made me feel comfortable and seal the deal. That would have made me brand loyal 10 times over and given me this awesome, personal customer experience. I would have tweeted about it, possibly blogged about it, told my friends. Now, the same goes for your competition. If they were monitoring your tweets (which they should have been) then they could have stolen my business and my brand loyalty. All of this because you never responded to a simple tweet I sent about your awesome product.
Younger generations are used to having things now. Boom. Done. I want a friend’s opinion? I send a text & get one back instantly. I want more feedback? I send an email. Boom. I send a tweet, a status update, a blog post, a comment etc. and I get my information instantly. Its at our fingertips 24/7. Do you ever find yourself needing to know who won the 1972 world series? Not a problem. Google’d it and I had the score, who played and the starting line up. With instant access as the standard, companies are going to have to be personal. Comcast & Zappos have been used over and over as examples of best practices because what they do works. Negative incidences like United Breaks Guitars has shown us that your brand (the one you spend millions growing) can be damaged/crushed/killed in about 2 minutes.
So what does this mean for the brand managers reading this?
Embody, use and thrive digitally. Exceed expectations. Beat the status quo. Roll up your sleeves and dive in. There’s a great video from Gary Vaynerchuk that explains how big brands will be grown in the future. Listen up.