My previous post about my experience with online reputation management resulted in a couple of interesting emails. One email read:
“Are you not happy that a brand has actively reached out to you rather than the other way around?”
Answer – yes. But it is also no. Don’t forget the only reason BT Mobile contacted with me through Twitter is because my first conversation was one-way (i.e. me talking and no one listening). It was only when I became a prosumer (or indeed a producer) rather than a consumer that they decided that I worth talking to.
There’s some nice online brand advocacy for you – and maybe some extra web traffic too. But, Ben Sherman, Guinness and Sennheiser – do you love me back?
One man who loves brands is John Winter Smith. He particularly loves Starbucks. In fact, he loves Starbucks so much that for the past twelve years, he has been trying to visit every Starbucks in the US (and overseas) and documenting his experience on his blog. He’s nearly up to 10,000 stores!
You can call the man crazy, but Starbucks is crazier. Why? They haven’t done anything to harness all the attention he is getting – and he’s getting quite a bit! Starbucks have the perfect opportunity to partner with an influential online brand advocate– a PR story, a sponsored online blog. Hell, he could even be the next face of Starbucks ala. Subway Jared. Does Starbucks not love its customers?
To Starbuck’s credit, they have made an effort to engage with the fans elsewhere. MyStarbucksIdea allows fans of the brand to submit ideas that help shape Starbuck’s business. As of today, they’ve got about 10,000 ideas, which is bigger than any extra-large mocha you can get your hands on. Sure, it’s not a direct, ongoing conversation with the consumer, but it does allow consumers to act as brand advocates in a public space.
For 10,000 people want to see a brand succeed says a lot about how much people connect with certain brands. I can think of many other brands that would get a similar response. Apple. Nike. KFC. I’m sure you’ve got clients too whose name dropping causes people to say “wow, aren’t you lucky to work on them!”.
Any good love advice columnist will tell you that building a healthy relationship comes with conversation and healthy dialogue – not by shouting at each other. So please stop blasting me with thirty second TVCs about how great you are – I already know. Talk to me, let me be your online brand advocate, baby.