Will Brands Ever “Get It”?


BrandsThere are brands that listen. And listen well and give measured responses often to the surprise of their advocates. And then there are other brands that just don’t “get it.”

Why is that?

Brands know the power of social media and how a well-placed tweet or post can go far to cementing relationships with its audience. So why do they so often fail and miss opportunities?

One theory may be that the brands think mom bloggers are only out to get freebies, which is so far from the truth. Yes, we like the occasional thank swag, but many bloggers have more swag then they can use. We have something to say negative or positive because we believe can help.  We expect to be in a reciprocal relationship with the brands we use.

Brand marketer and editor Ruth Sheldon summed up the relationship between brands and customers perfectly, saying, “I like to think of a brand as a promise. And a great brand as a promise well kept. If a brand boasts that their customers come first, and then reneges on that promise, the trust is damaged. It’s really the same as people who don’t get it. They think only of themselves and not of the other person. It’s a short-term view and a good way to lose friends and/or customers.”

Take a look at these real brand-customer interactions, submitted by our editors.  You’ll see that some brands surprise and delight us, while others still don’t quite “get it”.  Those that do “get it” not only respond well in social media, but they also consistently and positively deliver the brand experience in every forum.

Brands that only “sort of get it”

Chobani (@Chobani) - Our leader Holly Pavlika loves Chobani, especially the ones with the mix ins.  She buys at least ten at a time.  She’s told dozens of people to try their new “Coco Loco” flavor.  She tweets them often and they do a nice job of tweeting back.  But they have yet to follow her on Twitter.  She wonders, “Are they not following me because they think I’m a nut? Or maybe they don’t feel they need to follow her because no matter what they do, she will continue to eat Chobani?”  Holly is such a vocal fan of the brand, she wrote a blog piece about it and tweeted it.  They responded by DMing her (direct messaged) with an email address to contact.  Although they offered the email address, no one responded to her.  Later, for her loyalty, she was emailed a coupon for $.30 off one yogurt (which is hardly worth downloading and setting up the printer).  84% of women are more likely to buy a brand they like or follow.  Brands like Chobani should reciprocate the relationship.  It sure would be nice if Holly got a follow back.

American Airlines (@AmericanAir) – On a flight from Louisville to San Jose via Chicago, editor Myrdin Thompson missed her connection when the first leg of her trip was late due to a lack of a co-pilot and delay finding a replacement.  In Chicago, she was placed low on a standby list for a late evening flight.  The local agents were unsupportive and unfriendly.  Myrdin took to Twitter to inquire about their policy for rebooking due to lack of co-pilot.  Within a half hour, the social media staff had her on a guaranteed seat with a layover in Seattle.  While it was not a perfect solution, it was a better option with a guaranteed seat, versus what she was given by in-person agents with access to the information.  Myrdin thanked the online staff.  But her example demonstrates how oddly, brands can give a more personal response virtually than when standing right in front of their customer.

AT&T (@AT&T) – Editor Nicki Anderson found a “hidden charge” on her AT&T phone bill.  She tweeted @AT&T and was delighted when they responded in seconds.  They asked her to DM them with the issue and were “incredibly responsive”.  At the same time, Nicki had to pay the fee, which was hidden in her contract language.  Nicki took the time to converse with them socially.  The charge was small and in the spirit of “brand-customer dialogue”, they could have offered her a one-time waiver.

Brands that do “get it”

Raymour & Flanigan Furniture (@RaymourFlanigan) – Holly tweeted to Raymour & Flanigan that her sofa lost a button.  Quickly they DM’d her and asked her for her phone number.  Customer service promptly called her and asked to set up a service appointment.  They came and sewed a button on for her.  When finished, the service person dialed customer service for her so she could verify that they met or exceeded expectations.  The entire experience from Twitter to in-home and post-appointment was quick, easy and seamless.

pampersPampers (@Pampers) – With much marketing promotion, Pampers has re-launched their rewards program, complete with a new website and program name.  Accordingly, @Pampers tweeted an announcement and appreciation of the moms they serve.  Editor Suz Murphy is a brand fan, mom to a 17-month old, and has a significant rewards program points balance.  She went to Facebook and clicked on their post with their new rewards Facebook app.  The app asked for access to her public profile (which is reasonable because that information is public).  Unfortunately, the app also asked for access to her friends list. This app is not a gaming or social app, it’s a rewards app.   Suz responded to their announcement tweet saying she wished the app didn’t require divulging information that belonged to someone else (her friends).   Rather than see her tweet as complaining, Pampers proved the power of listening and openness to feedback by re-tweeting the input, thanking her and promising to communicate it to their team.  Pampers did all of this within seconds, treating her as the high-points earning fan she’s been for years.

That “make or break moment”

In each of these examples, a simple interaction became the brand as much as the product itself. These interactions are “make or break” moments with everyday people who are taking the time to speak up, give feedback, choose, use, or drop a brand.   They expect the brand to deliver on their brand promise.

Any brand can tweet clever advertising copy.  But it takes more than that for a brand to “get it” and deliver.

Those that “get it” consistently create happy brand experiences in those “make or break moments” that matter most.


2 Responses to “Will Brands Ever “Get It”?”

  1. After reading this, I wanted to reach out immediately and extend our sincere apologies for any dropped communication! We’d love to right this wrong, so Holly, keep an eye on your inbox! I’d absolutely love to chat with you…and thank you so much for making us aware of the issue. Hope your Friday is off to a great start! Chat soon.

    Amy @ Chobani

  2. These are great examples. I, too, have experienced that sometimes (not always) brands respond better to tweets and Facebook posts instead of via the customer service lines. Perhaps they don’t want it advertised that there’s problems with them so they want to resolve them right away (smart idea, especially if the person tweeting it has thousands of followers).

    Bicultural Mama

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