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Customers Want to Hear from Customers
By: Janet Kalandranis
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It’s funny; a brand can tell a consumer a thousand times that their product or service is better than the rest, but consumers won’t hear this message at all or they won’t believe it. Very few brands can pull off such a bold statement and have it work. Instead consumers want to hear it from the source and understand the positives and negatives of any product or service. If the brand says it. they won’t listen; if a customer says it, the message is gold.

Today’s consumers don’t have time to guess. They are used to information and access and won’t accept a guessing game as a substitute. And they’ll be even less thrilled with a brand that tries to preach. But consumers do listen and they do research and the source they believe is other people just like them. Think about the “new-parent” world, filled with mommy blogs and baby groups — these consumers are talking. And listening — to each other. A product review for a stroller or a recommendation on a bottle is going to go a long way with this consumer set. Entering a new life stage with so many messages and so many brands telling a story, the consumer doesn’t know what to believe. But that recommendation from another parent who uses the brand is a winner.

The message here is for brands to understand the communication channel that happens from consumer to consumer. Strategies that only employ pushing messages from the brand to the consumer leave out an important channel that could be successful. Brands need to think more creatively, employ bloggers, create advisory boards, and ultimately listen to their customers and engage them to talk. Talk to their neighbors, talk to their friends, and definitely talk to those like them who could be the next brand advocate. It’s also important for brands to give customers access to their thoughts — think rating numbers, reviews, and “like” buttons. These simple tools can give consumers an outlet to let brands know how they are doing and in turn help new customers feel confident in an upcoming purchase. It’s all about open communication, but communication in which the brand is completely silent.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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