For years, people built brands (really their businesses, we didn't know about brands then) by learning how to deliver a consistent experience across everything they did. The product, their service, everything was teed into their business and they're profitability. They got instant feedback from the people who were their customers and word spread, both good & bad, based on the experience that was delivered. If you think about it, it was really all viral and social marketing back then, we just didn't have the technology at we talk about today.
I was reminded of this issue by C.B. Whittemore's post on our recent retail walkabout at Levi's Customer Retail Experience. During our visit to the Levi's store, C.B. asked about taking a picture of their new Curves display and we were told that we couldn't take photos in the store.
I originally wrote this post in March of 2008 on my previous blog and here, 2.5+ years later, I'm still reading posts about how revolutionary it is that we can listen to our customers and that we're not in control any more. I don't buy it, certainly not on a broad basis. Hell, the company that most SM folks love to love, Apple, certainly hasn't given up control.
I've been involved in a number of customer service conversations lately, as I believe that in our social media world, companies are going to have to deal a lot more with customers who complain publicly when things don't go well.
A new study out by Forrester seems to indicate that there's not enough people using location based services for marketers to bother with them right now. Although they also suggest that people should experiment with these tools as well.
Well, I also have a study (well, not a study really, just a discussion with some smart folks) that I believe shows something pretty significant:
Yahoo is out with a new study about the internet and WOM and here's the lead stat:
Most WOM is positive, and it still happens the old-fashioned way. Although some advertisers may fear negative WOM, research shows that 66% of brand references in WOM conversations are positive and only 8% are negative.