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“Don’t buy that! It’s rubbish”

May 12, 2010
Image of a 1950s Bond Scooter

The Bond Scooter - if social media had been around in the fifties, businesses might have survived longer

In today’s trust-based sales and marketing environment, there is no longer any room for companies who just churn out product and hope that it sells. Not that there ever was – but there certainly isn’t today. No, today, everything must have a context. Who is using the product? What do people think about it? Are there any negative comments? This is where social media comes in – the development and enhancement of perceptual credibility.

But social media is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Some companies I know talk about social media as if somehow it will transform their performance. As if putting a load of promotional campaigns on Twitter and Facebook will miraculously make them credible. Such approaches are merely a repeat of the mistakes made in the past by mass advertisers – I know half works but I don’t know which half.

And then other companies produce corporate blogs – blogs without personality – because they are too afraid of not being taken seriously. But really, who in heaven’s name wants to read a corporate blog? People don’t care about the thoughts of someone who is being told what to write, rather than what they believe in. The best blogs have personality, vim and credibility.

At A Brand Day Out, we occasionally speak our mind – and why not? We take the view that the world is there to be reacted to lest, in the words of the sage, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. By putting your head above the parapet, people either agree or disagree and hopefully out of these conversations comes not an adversarial confrontation but a meeting of minds for the betterment of understanding, business and progress.

Picture the guy at Microsoft who dared to criticise their products on the company blog. Result? Not the sack but promotion – a sudden surge in credibility – the American Goliath was not complacent but engaged.  Of course, companies must not self-destruct with mindless self-criticism but to have an independent voice and an empathy with customers (and non customers) engenders engagement. It creates talk. And with talk comes visibility and improved performance.

If talk, good or bad, relates to a tangible assessment of products and services then this can only be for the betterment of commerce. Complacency only creates decline so for staff and customers to engage in constructive dialogue can only be for the general good of business.

So when a customer comments on a blog, “don’t buy that! It’s rubbish”, ask them why. Ask what others think. Come to question the way you research, make and sell your products. The end result can only be better for all.

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