Some Things Never Change

by os_admin

A few months ago, Forrester released a report regarding the impact of what they call the Facebook Factor. Unsurprisingly, they found that fans of a brand are more likely to purchase that brand than non-fans. More importantly, Forrester noted that the real value of fans is brand advocacy—fans are more likely to recommend a purchase or give a positive review.

Next, I read yet another study saying that up to 85% of people surveyed had changed a purchase decision based upon a positive or negative review. This review might be from a friend, but it could also be a complete stranger promoting or trashing a product. Clearly the more people you have saying positive things about your brand, the better off you are. Last night, for example, I know I wasn’t the only diner in town choosing my restaurant based on reviews from Yelp. Finally, a recent CMO Council survey found that while brand advocates are interested in social content, their loyalty to the brand is far more important. In other words, brand advocates are advocates because they believe in the brand.

So what does it all mean? In my view, more of the obvious in that social media is critical and you need a strategy. You need to engage with your customers and embrace the opportunity. You need to monitor the sites, participate in the discussion, address the issues, and capitalize on the opportunities. The voice of customer is much more pronounced, much more vocal. You need not look further than the Chick-Fil-A boycott and counter-boycott over the past month.

But the bottom line to me is the CMO Council finding that brand loyalty drives brand advocacy, which drives what people say and do. Brand loyalty thrives when you deliver great products and services that are credible and fill a relevant need in a differentiated way. Yes, our increasingly connected world poses unique challenges in terms of listening to the customer, delivering messages, coordinating channels, and accessing information. But the old world principles of making a relevant promise and uniquely delivering on that promise are the still foundation of success. As marketers, our jobs have gotten a lot bigger, but our priorities haven’t changed.

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